Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Mental Management...

A few posts back...a blog follower asked how I work my mental management at trials...I am going to attempt to go through it...though I will probably fail miserably in describing how I work on it ;)
First off Day 26: Farm dogs :)

Klink and Zip's sister, yes I tie my dogs up like farm dogs :) I think it's cute...and very very handy.

Ok...mental management...I had issues with this at trials...and I still have to work on it. The biggest piece of advice I can give you is...go get Lanny's Mental Management CD's. Website:

There are others out there as well...and I am not saying Lanny's is the best, but it is the one that I used to help my game.

LISTEN TO THEM. And apply the concepts. THEY WORK. Sure...his voice never changes tone...and there are times it's put me to sleep in the car a bit (I'z gots da audio bookz cuz I'z can't reed too weell)...BUT...the information is priceless. HONEST.

There are several things I had to work on in the beginning, and at times it was almost exhausting to really work the program...but it work. Visualizing...all that stuff works. Confidence in yourself and your abilities blah blah blah.

Another thing I had and STILL have to do...is watch who I am around. Certain people can really affect me, both positively and negatively. A friend told me this once...and I know Susan Garrett has said it before in her blog (and if SHE said it..it has to be true! RIGHT?)...surround yourself with those that are on the same path as yourself. Sure...you might be really good friends with a person that hurts your mental game. IF you want to get better at it, you will have to work on either #1 not letting them bother you...or #2 spending less time with them at trials or where ever it causes issues. Some are more affected by this than others, I am one of those people.

The wrong people will take my focus off running my dogs, and more on socializing, etc etc. I pay hundreds of dollars a weekend to run my dogs...I need to focus on that.

I really have to kick this into gear if I am not trialing much...like the winter. In the winter my MM skills go a bit on the lazy side. And so I have to limit my "people" time...in the summer and fall...when I have been trialing a good deal. I am almost impervious to that stuff...my mental game is strong and just about nothing can set me off course.

Does that make me a bit less social in the winter at trials...yes. Do I lose sight of my goal (running my dogs) yes...sometimes I get caught up in socializing...if I didn't want to socialize I wouldn't probably go to trials. I like people (most days) and do enjoy seeing those I haven't seen in a bit. But too much of a good thing isn't always good :)

When I am walking courses, I go with the handling strategy that first comes into my head (after walking my dogs path of course)...then if it doesn't click with me...I will look at other options. And after walk throughs are over...I mental focus on my execution of all my handling moves. If I doubt something, I have to ask myself WHY I am doubting it. If it is because I want the Q..then I work on banishing that doubt from my mind. If it is because I haven't trained it...I might change my plan..or...in the case of Snooker...to get more points. Mental execution is what I focus on :) I can't run the course 79 times out on the field, but I can run it that many times (and more even) sitting in my chair.

Do I have to do this all the time, nope...I am much better at it now, but I did at one point.

Imagine going to a trial, confident you can run every course, your dog will react how you want them etc etc...not worried about the outcome. It's GREAT, you really start enjoying trials and don't end up with stomach issues (have you SEEN PORTA POTTIES AT TRIALS!!?!!?!? OH MY GAWD)...

It gets easier...IF you work at it. If you don't have a mental management issue (and I believe everyone does to some extent)...then count yourself lucky! :) I work at it, have had to work HARD at it...and now I just have to refresh myself on those skills when the trial season happens again.

Hope this helps...it will get easier :) Just takes time and work.


livin life said...

OMG I love Lanny Bassham....have you read/heard Freedom Flight! My son and I listened to it on a road trip...he being a young teenager at the time....talk about life changing! I need to listen to the CDs again! Thanks for reminding me!

Kathy said...

Mental management is so important no matter what sport you participate in. Another really good person who deals in MM is Jane Savoie. I like both her and Lanny.

You are so right as far as the visualization thing is. I started getting better runs with Jag towards the end because I spent a lot more time visualizing our runs and him completing certain parts.

Thanks for the reminder. Some more of my books to reread this winter.

K-Koira said...

I think this post really highlighted for me the reason that I love flyball so much, and have so little interest in agility.

It makes a ton of sense, the mental management, for an individual sport, but in flyball, we are teams, so we hang out as a team, talk, bring potlucks, etc, and to me, that is just as important a part of a flyball tournament as getting out there and running our dogs.
When we have an issue to work through, we talk through it as a team, because every issue with our dog's running involves all of us, and we have the common goal of running clean between all of us.

You said it well. Thank you.

Loretta Mueller said...

K-Koria...I didn't mean it to sound like we all just ignore each other and focus on our dogs all the time :) There is a ton of socializing going on. And when DAM team (3 dogs on a team) happens, there is a ton of teamwork. I just have my teams I really enjoy running with, and I try to stay with them as much as possible :)

It is more an individual sport yes, for sure. Nothing like flyball no. Some people play better on DAM Teams than others that's for sure :) LOL

I can't do flyball, not because of the team thing...but all the barking! LOL

Heather Sumlin said...

Thanks for posting this! We have had a blast working with dog handlers over the past several years. I have started working with more and more handlers myself on Mental Management (my Father is Lanny Bassham and I work for him).

I just wanted to thank you for this post and for using Mental Management in your sport. Lanny has always enjoyed meeting and working with handlers and is excited with how receptive the dog sport community has been to Mental Management.

Thanks Again!
Heather Sumlin
Mental Management Systems

Loretta Mueller said...

WOW Heather, thanks for stopping by...I have to say I am amazed you are posting here! LOL My silly little blog...wow...

Lanny has made a huge difference in many agility competitors lives :) It's great that people are seeing mental management as a HUGE part of agility :)


Taryn said...

Hi Loretta! Thanks for posting about MM. I got one of Lanny's CDs when I first started in agility, back when I would get SO nervous/ SO many butterflies, I began wondering WTF was I even competing for. I could barely even breathe when I would get to the line in Novice AKC. Time in the sport/ much more training (of me!) has eased that a bit. Your point about focus/socializing is a good one. Also the visualizing, which I do to see if I am remembering the course. I am reading Finding Your Zone by Michael Lardon right now. It seems pretty good so far.
I think some of MM is also an innate skill and is the reason why certain handlers float to the top. They just naturally understand how to control the mental game. Thanks again for your post!

Anonymous said...

I like to say Thanks anytime I can to people who appreciate Lanny's work. So if I see that his name or our company has been mentioned on a blog I like to drop a line of thanks. We have been in business for 34 years but only because of people like you who care enough to tell others about us.

I do want you to know I am working on a new product for handlers - my goal is to have it ready by summer! It will be an audio program and I will be doing the talking (I'm much more exciting to listen to - don't tell Dad I said that) If anyone has any specific questions they would like answered in a program for handlers please feel free to email me directly at heather@mentalmanagement.com

Have an Amazing Day!
Heather Sumlin