Race Fit: Mental Conditioning

We’ve chatted a little about the need for physical conditioning of both horse and human in this sport. Another aspect of being successful in Eventing is the mental combat we enlist in when we put our foot in the stirrup. The emotional draw to this sport is unwavering for most of us. Our unequivocal partnership with our partner and horse, our support and growth from our coach, and our sense of belonging from our fellow teammates all pile together to create an empathic journey unlike many other athletic pursuits.

Does this resonate with you?

Are you clawing with your fingertips? You should be.

This is a beautifully unforgiving, unrelenting, and rewarding sport. Are you mentally prepared for your goals?

Have you defined your goals?

What are you doing to mentally conquer the challenges you have set out for yourself?

In this “game of inches” all the little things add up.

“Strength does not come from physical capacity. It comes from an indomitable will.” – Mahatma Gandhi

In most sports, athletes are given a game plan; in individual sports they develop one. In Eventing, they must develop one and be able to adjust for changes and variables with a 1500 pound animal.

Know your game plan.

Have confidence in your skills. Confidence and awareness are your number one goal of mental preparation.

Visualize yourself performing successfully at competitions and schoolings. This will help to build the confidence you have focused on through practice and coaching.

Prepare to cope with adversity. Shit happens. Expect it, plan for it, and be ready to take the “option”. Don’t let a change in your game plan undermine your ability to function successfully. Develop strategies to employ if and when things go a different direction before they come up.

Focus, Focus, Focus. You are an athlete. Act like one.

Use a Pre-Show Routine to help channel your nerves and prep your mind for the challenges set ahead of you. Listen to music, organize your tack, dance around in spandex to cheesy pop music… whatever you need to do so that you can say, “It’s game day. Let’s do this.”

Focus on execution. That focus thing again. What you focus on prior to competition is critical to your success. Re-read that.

Finalize and commit to your game plan. This is a sport that demands a 100% commitment. Are you committed?

You can do this.

What’s your game plan? If you don’t have one, find a coach that can help you develop one and a team that will support you.

“The inches we need, are everywhere around us. They’re in every break of the game, every minute, every second. On this team, we fight for that inch.”

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© 2017 for Austin Eventing by Lisa Howell