Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Conditioning...not just the horses...

I have been recently turned on to "Podcasts". I realize that I may be one the of the last people that have been introduced to podcast but non the less, I love them! I must give Ethel the credit for my recent enlightenment. I went on the iTunes podcast and found that I can get almost anything and guess what....wait for it....it is all free!! I had no idea.

Being here at the Gibbes farm without the rest of the crew yet, I have allot of time to listen to music, talk to the horses, talk to myself, you know the usual. So I thought that this whole Podcast thing would be great. I was looking last night on the site and turns out you can get Podcast on Sports Psychology. I spend all this time conditioning my horse and planning to the T what he needs to be doing but what about me? I must admit that I do struggle with the mental aspect of the sport. At the end of the day there are two athletes out there and both of us have to be fit. Not only do we as riders, have to be physically fit but mentally as well.

I downloaded some of the Podcast that deal with perfectionism in sports, other competitors in your head, fear of failure, pregame jitters, and focus. The one that really spoke to me was the one entitled "How perfectionism inhibits your game". It goes on to say that most athletes have perfectionist tendencies, however you know your a perfectionist when you are never satisfied with your performance. They place high expectations on their performance. Therefore when they achieve those expectations they feel as though it was not good enough. When they fall short of those expectations they start attacking their game. They start doubting their skill, knowledge, and become very hard on themselves. I have been told, more than once mind you, that I have to get out of my own head and stop over thinking and analyzing what I'm doing. This is very much so easier said than done! This year I am going to try very hard...lets see how that works. :)

I definitely believe that people have their own game ritual and that each ritual should be unique to the person. I think that it is even safe to say that we all get some level of pre-game nerves. That is good! I am starting to learn that it is when you are to relaxed or to "jazzed up" that mistakes are made and negative things happen. While I know that the mental game day demons will be a fight that will probably never go away, I do feel as though simply knowing more will help. Often times students or friends that compete at the lower levels will at times ask me if I still get the butterflies and frustrated with myself. The answer is YES!!! I am my own worst enemy. I am my own toughest critic. While I know that these Podcast are usually geared towards baseball players, football players, or golfers, I can relate to them. I can repeat their words, I can use their tactics, I can learn from their examples. I hope that if I see you at a show this year you will see a confident, focused, and ready to rock, Ashley! Here's to hopin'!

I also added a video of Vaunted jumping and Marley was setting fences for me. Now I must say that I was over analyzing what was happening and wanted a little of this, but not to much, a little of that, but not to much. Marley said something that really stuck with me. It was actually something that Sharon White told her, she said that your horse can do 1 of 4 things, he can go left, right, slower, or faster. That's it...so just ride. I love it!

**I have attached a picture of the MAGICAL chocolate cake that Ethel makes.*** I LOVE this cake!!! hehe

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