After a successful 2007 competition year in which we earned 13 freestyle titles, this year has also started off very well. I was a little anxious going into our first competition this year. Although I knew when I set my goals out for the year, that this competition was only to get a benchmark on my routines so that we would have a clearer understanding on what we needed to incorporate into our training, as the competition approached – I began to feel quite a bit of pressure.
Fortunately, the mental management techniques I have learned allowed me to realize that my focus was not on my original goal; and I was able to refer back to my original goal statements and training logs going into this competition and was reassured that we were exactly where we had planned to be, if not slightly ahead in our training plan.
When the competition weekend arrived, I had successfully managed the pressure I had been feeling to qualify and/or to win, and was able to just go into each performance with just the goal of doing the best we could. I was excited when things went well, and even more excited when I found little areas we could tweak in training to make the routines even better.
The only struggle during the weekend was when our brace routine performance was less than we had hoped it would be. However, it was so nice to not be frustrated by our less than stellar performance. I was merely motivated to re-evaluate our goals and get back into training to see if we could find a solution for what we experienced.
The results of the weekend were really surprising. Shelby qualified both of her individual routines in the Intermediate level. She just finished her Novice title in December, so this was a pretty big jump for her. Even more exciting was the fact that Roxie qualified both of her Heelwork To Music (HTM) routines in Advanced, and also managed to qualify one of her Musical Freestyle routines also in the Advanced level. Roxie and I earned our highest score to date – a 9.4 in both Technical and Artistic. Roxie’s HTM routine tied for the High Score of the competition both days, and her MF routine had the third highest score each day. Shelby also had the second highest HTM score each day.
Competing in the Intermediate and Advanced levels is way beyond where I have ever competed before. Over the years, I have hesitated to push myself to these more challenging divisions because of my own fears of failure and my own doubts on whether we were capable of performing at that level. It was easier not to try, than to try and risk failing. My experience with the mental management system over the last couple years has really changed my approach to competition. I’m competing at levels I never thought we’d achieve, and I’m having a lot more fun doing it!
I’m attaching a couple pictures of the girls with their awards from the weekend! Thanks again for all your help!
Kris Hurley has attended 2 group seminars - one for Performance Under Pressure in Kansas in 2006 and a 2 day seminar for dog handlers in March 2008. We will be holding another 2 day seminar for dog agility handlers on May 31 - call for details 800-879-5079
We have products available for dog sports competitors in Dog Agility, Freestyle and Obedience.