Jane Savoie Seminar. Part V.
Posted by Irina Yastrebova on Saturday, November 24, 2012 08:30 PM
The Sunday lecture was about sport psychology. Research done on athletes shows that 90% of what it takes to win comes from mental preparation. And one of the most important aspects is Attitude. In our lives there are so many things that completely out of our control such as weather, traffic, catching a cold, etc. However, one thing we can always control and it is your dominant thought. How you see things, how you think about things, actions, events and every day activities is under your complete control. It is totally up to you to choose to look at things as possibilities and be possibility thinker. Or, scold at everything including yourself and be a sting thinker.
Jane called sting thoughts garbage. Garbage thoughts be your own or somebody else's can really ruin your good day and good mood. There are ways to deal with these thoughts:
  • GIGO - garbage in - garbage out. If you look at bad thoughts as garbage you can "throw" it away and "clean up" your brain
  • Do not allow garbage thoughts be dumped into your brain by other people. You may end up reevaluating your contacts and friendships if you realize some of your friends constantly unload their bad attitude into your brain.
  • Dilute "garbage" with positive thoughts
  • "Shield" yourself from outside bad thoughts - debris in a river - let bad thoughts flow away like debris in the river. Just watch that debris flow, distance yourself from it. If someone said a hurtful thing put them in the river, they are debris
  • Feed the brain with good thoughts, ideas, reading, etc.
Change Physiology
Another way in achieving the right state of mind is to understand that we do not "get" emotions we "do" emotions. Our physiology is very different in a state of excitement or happiness compare to state of anger or depression. Have you noticed that sometimes we feel a certain emotion without really knowing why. This happens because we experienced an "anchor" for that emotion. Anchor for an emotion is outside stimulus that is strongly attached to a certain state of mind. For example, when you were a child you loved a song, it always made you feel happy. Now as an adult you hear that song and feel happy. The song is anchor. Anchors can be for good and bad emotions and we may not even know about them. However, you can create your own anchor. Jane showed us an example. She asked us to pump our fist three times and say: "Yes!!!" each time. Everybody did that and we all laughed and had a great time. Now, if I do the fist pumping I remember that moment of laughter, fun and excitement. It works every time :)
Change Focus
The other way you can help yourself in controlling your state of mind is paying attention to your own self talk. Depending how this self talk goes you can be your own coach and inspiration or your worst enemy. Self talk happens usually in form of questions.These questions can help you solve the problem or victimize you. Questions in form of why or how come are victim questions. For example - "How come I never have enough time for my warm-up?". Change the question. Ask it in a way that empowers you. Example - What I need to do to plan my warm-up better, or, where do I lose time while getting ready, etc. These questions will help you identify the real problem and work on it and you will not succumb into useless and destructive self loathing. To improve your self talk:
  • Stay in present tense
  • Stay positive
  • Do not tell yourself what you shouldn't do, tell yourself what you should do. Our brain cannot make a picture about "Not"
At the end of Sunday we had an hour of "coaches breakout session" where Jane talked about shows. I am going to summarize this session in several statements:
  • Instructor must not train her student at the show. Training happens at home. At shows instructor's job is to help the student to arrive at X in the most confident state of mind.
  • When you are training it is about fixing problems. At shows it is about hiding problems. Never show in your face you are having issues with your horse, make up a facade.
  • Develop a strategy at home how to ride the tests to minimize the damage if your horse has a weak gait, or a movement.
  • Know your tests very well. Practice picking up a point in the test and telling yourself what movement happens before and after that point.
  • Dress rehearsal at home or away
  • Learn your test as a connective tissue between movements. Create personal positive directives for each movement. For example, if you have a tendency to throw your reins away for transition to canter, create a directive to think "steady trot" for rein aids and "canter" in your leg aids.
  • Visualization - a very powerful tool if used properly. Images must be vivid, all senses involved, experience emotions. To prepare for a show start 3 weeks prior, spend 20 minutes a day to visualize your test, stride by stride, in a perfect execution. Make sure you are doing it in a quiet place where people cannot disturb you. Close your eyes.
  • If you have difficulties imagining your ride in perfection create coping rehearsal. Visualize mistake and then fix it quietly in your mind.
The seminar was a wonderful experience and a great way to finish the season. Only after writing 5 blogs about it I have realized how much information was packed into it. My notes go on and on, and on. I believe I delivered most of it to you. I wanted to stay as true to Jane Savoie's words as possible. In writing these blogs I literally "audited" the seminar again. This is one of the reasons I write my blog. Being introvert I need time to think things over and writing really helps with this task. I hope you enjoyed these reports as much as I enjoyed writing them.
Happy riding...
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