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Thursday, 8 September 2011

Reflections-and the mental game!

Well I think its kind of sad in a way that the season is drawing to an end: Yes I have plenty to do with a new pup to train, and the new business premisis here to move into- so why on earth am I sad? Well- I think perhaps my best moments of this year, came at the end of the season! Celebrated though they were, I just wish there was more to come as I am feeling motivated, and excited about the sport- more than I have for a long time! Why is this? Well- I have had an issue that has been nagging away at me for years, getting in the way of my enjoyment, and also restricting my performance and also my confidence. I have always been prone to mental blocks under pressure. Although I have to say we have always done pretty well over the years, and I have been incredibly lucky to share my sport with the most amazing dogs! It has if I am honest, always limited my own self belief in what I could achieve.
After a very frustrating run in a champ final at Weardale show, I decided enough was enough! Noonoo was running an absolute blinder and it was all just going too well- concentrating on the difficult element coming up, my mind switched off and BANG! I was lost! All over, and  with that dreadful feeling of failure, I left the ring. I decided  there and then to crack this- I am a pretty determined person once I get the bit between my teeth- so I was sure I could sort it out if only i knew how!  Welll - amazingly the answer was not so far away and following on from a few questions, I found Anne Coppley- a very skilled practitioner in Neuro linguistic processing (I hope I have that right?) Anne offered to help, and as she was an agility competitor herself I felt sure that she understood what was happening and agreed to work with her to try and resolve it. I think I always believed it was just the way I was wired- I had the same panic in other situations during my teens and school years, so I could recognise it, but just thought it was some kind of dyslexia or lack of brain skill on my part. I have only had one session with Anne, and I cannot tell you how thrilled I am- We went off to the Festival and then onto DIN - I wasnt expecting miracles but I was hopeful that it would have helped- It had! Working on my self image, Anne had enabled me to become a confident and postive handler! I had more clears than usual, my confidence grew, and my performance went from strength to strength! I managed to tackle some difficult courses without getting blocked, and I felt AMAZ|ING! At Dogs in need, a friend also leant me a small but powerful book by an american gold medalist in the shooting arena - With Winning in Mind- its not just about winning, but anyone wanting to improve their self confidence and performance - I cannot recomend it highly enough!  It wouldnt have helped on its own , however-I think this backed up all the work that Anne had begun and I was 'away'!  I was enjoying Agility more than I can ever remember! We didnt qualify for the classic finals but we werent far off and with 3 out of 4 clears, I felt very proud! I even managed a clear  and a 7th place in g7 with Stuarts Mr Tog! You know the most reinforcing thing was all the comments from people about my handling and my performance- I could not have been happier! 
Wyre was our next event, and the weather was dreadful! We decided not to do all of our runs and just concentrated on the champ class- this ring was holding up OK in the mud, and we both decided to run this one and if the dogs coped, we would continue. They did, and Noonoo managed a lovely clear, and a 5 putting her into the champ final! Would my demons return? This was a test of tests for me, and I dont think I was even nervous! Determined, positive yes- but I was OK- I was running about mid way, so I watched a few dogs but not too many, stuck to my plan totally and WOW! I was so thrilled! I think I actually enjoyed it too! did I win? NO! Lee Gibson won the ticket and I was thrilled for him and Scot- but little Noonoo ran her socks off for me- and I got to jump 16 and  over steadied her, pulling her off the jump! I wasnt disappointed, I was very proud of myself! so - you can see why I am actually a bit sad- I just dont want it to end!  I was so hopeful for a call up to the Semi's but it didnt happen (shame! )  Is this the same person that used to cringe when her name was called out in the champ final running order? -I will continue to build on my confidence and my performance and hope I will be able to take on the challenges next year in the same way!  In the meantime, if you have a problem that is getting in the way of your performance or enjoymnet of your sport- go find Anne- I cannot recomend her highly enough!
Bye for now,

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