IS IMPORTANT...I am living proof of such a fact :)
If you think you need to work more on your dogs flank commands, downs or contacts...you are wrong.
I used to have HORRIBLE mental managment--I imagined every, single thing that could go wrong in a run and it happened. I got angry, I yelled, I got mad at my dogs, I huffed around in a cloud of negativity. And guess what...I didn't handle to my best abilities (in herding or agility). Imagine that.
People who know the importance of mental management preach it...and those of use in our cloud of self loathing want no mention of it :) Too busy blaming the dog, the sky, the sheep, the gate steward, etc etc etc.
I was able to point it out in OTHERS, such as a person that is always calling her dogs nasty names and saying they are stupid, morons etc etc etc. But I was not seeing it in myself.
I was not seeing myself as one of "those people" who everyone avoided if I had a bad run...or in general everyone just avoided...apparently I was too busy remembering the bad runs I had--blaming everything but myself....lingering on failures.....
UNTIL---I had a person that cared enough to put up with me :) I admit, I am stubborn, obnoxious and a bit in your face (OK..a lot in your face)...and putting up with me takes a special kind of person ;) Putting up with evil Loretta with no mental management was even WORSE!!
But she instigated a very interesting way of "reminding me" when I was being negative...and I started realizing how negative I was being! I WAS that person, the "angry handler"....shudder...
I got some books on mental management...listened to them and really started figuring things out...I needed to re-program my mind into being positive! NOT ME!! NO WAY!!
I have to admit, it hasn't been easy, there have been times I have failed horribly in this area....however I am much more positive.
I am much better to be around and I am much more successful with my dogs. I laugh more, I smile more and I blow off things that happen. Each run is it's own..and when I am done running my dog...I let it go. I am happier, I am more confident and I am changed.
Same person, just MUCH MUCH better...
I am very grateful to this person...she has helped me change my life :)
So the next time you have a bad run, overreact, get upset etc etc. Remember life happens, things happen, dogs are not perfect and what YOUR reaction is can make a HUGE difference.