The Mental Game
Pushing the Barrier
The mental game plays a huge part in the success of your team roping. Being confident in yourself and your horses is crucial. That confidence comes from the practice pen. Practice making correct runs of various situations. Whether it’s being fast, just catching and being under eleven-seconds, or whether you need to be seven. There are a lot of situations that need to be practiced and each is done differently.
Don’t make it a habit of going to the practice pen and doing the same thing over and over. If you run to the hip in the same position, every time, what will happen at a roping if your steers ducks, or checks off. Neither the barrier nor the steers will be the same anywhere you go. There are different ways to practice scoring, riding, and reaching. As you practice different situations correctly you gain confidence.
Another confidence booster is knowing your horse will work, giving you the opportunity to execute the run. Again, this comes from your experience in the practice pen. That confidence is a luxury I had when I was hauling Bob and Viper. I knew Bob was going to run to the cow and let me set up the run without having to reach. He was great in the long score because he could run so fast. Viper was great in the short scores because he was very athletic and had lots of cow. He scored well and went wherever the cow went and allowed me to use my arm to do whatever I needed.
If you are not confident your horse will work, it’s hard to have a positive attitude. If you know your horse won’t score, is going to duck, or do other things wrong then it’s impossible to be confident.
Another part of the mental game is not second-guessing yourself. One year at the NFR I was 0 for 3. When I backed in the box in the fourth round I still came firing and threw my rope when the barrier pulled. I had to lie to myself and convince myself I had done everything right and won the last three rounds. When you nod your head you don’t need any doubts. When you second-guess yourself you make a lot of mistakes.
Make a variety of correct runs in the practice pen. Rope the dummy on the ground from a variety of positions. This kind of preparation is key for your confidence and mental game. You need to know you can overcome a variety of situations.
What’s going on with me: This week we went to three different open ropings, including Odessa and Waco. The short rounds and my runs are up on my website at speedroping.com. We now have over 1,300 videos available for viewing. There’s some great video of recent practice sessions with Jade Corkill, Marty Becker and Clay Cooper.
Next week we’re headed to Florida for the NTRL Finals in Jacksonville, my hometown. There we’ll have a booth and I’m looking forward to visiting with a lot of old friends.
My son is learning how to take over my job. The other day he roped the Hot Heels and came in my office and did the voice over about his roping and riding Blackie. If you need a good laugh, be sure and watch it. It’s very cute.