Winning Ways Volume 1
Believe You're a Winner!
I BELIEVED I was a winner long before I ever won a barrel race! I knew that if I wanted it badly enough, and worked hard enough, I could accomplish whatever I set out to do. You can do it, too. You just have to learn to feel like a winner to become one.
You've heard of POSITIVE MENTAL ATTITUDE ?
That's good, but that's not enough. To be a winner, you have to do more that just be positive, you have to have POSITIVE MENTAL BELIEF. Like the saying goes, talk is cheap. Anyone can say they are confident. You can say the words easily, but really being able to back it up is the key. Have you ever been entered in a big barrel race and told someone, "I feel really confident and ready to compete" but in truth you were apprehensive and tense about it because you hadn't worked your horse enough on that particular pattern to know for sure how he would perform? You might have fooled the person you were talking to but YOU KNEW BETTER. You knew that you had not done your homework, and were not prepared to win.
Remember this. IN ORDER TO BELIEVE, IT HAS TO BE TRUE.
You have to be honest with yourself to be a winner. If all there were to it was getting up in the morning, smiling and telling everybody, "I feel confident and I'm going to win", then barrel racing would be so simple. It's easy to separate the winners from the ones who participate and "luck into" a win every now and then. Look for some winners in barrel racing and other sports who have done a lot of winning. Study them. The winner is a winner twenty four hours each day. Every day. The winner has a goal. He or she will push hard every day, to do what it takes to get one step closer to that goal.
Practice, dedicated practice, the winner is going to devote time to that. The winner knows that the pain of practice is considerably less than the pain of not being prepared. Don't ever let yourself lose for a reason you could have prevented. In other words, the winner is going to take care of every possibility. Anything that he or she can control will be taken care of to increase the chances of winning.
When you ride into the arena,
how would you rather feel?
Would you like to ride in, knowing that your horse was properly schooled, conditioned, seasoned, tacked up, warmed up and that you were healthy, rested, conditioned, properly dressed and competent?
Would you like to ride in on an out-of-shape, nervous horse that's not seasoned or trained, and is rearing up and refusing to go into the gate, as you try to borrow a hat from one of the cowboys standing around?
You might laugh at that illustration, but have you ever gone to a barrel race unprepared? There is no place in a winners program for problems you could have prevented by preparation. You are setting yourself up to lose if you just sit there and allow things you could have prevented to distract you and to defeat you.
So, take a long hard look at your barrel racing, then use the competition quiz to help locate the things and circumstances that might be standing between you and winning.
THEN GO TO WORK ON THEM. Set some goals.
You need to have goals, so you know where you are going with your barrel racing. As a matter of fact, goals are so important that we'll be featuring a complete article on them in the future. Did you know that you can become a better barrel racer in just three weeks? Experts tell us that it takes 21 days to establish or change a habit. If your barrel racing habits are working against you, find out why so you can change the problem. In 21 days, it won't likely be a problem anymore.
Find an area of your barrel racing that needs work, then set out to devote three weeks to fixing it. I believe you can always become better in some area. So look for that area where you might be weak.
- Some people don't like to exercise their horse. They will put him on the walker, or turn him out, and say that that's enough.
- Some people say that they have walked and trotted and loped all they need in fifteen minutes. Besides, it's cold (hot) (rainy) (snowing) (you have a date) (you have to study), etc. The truth is, they like to compete, but they don't like to do the work that backs it up.
YOU want to be a WINNER, though, so you need to do MORE. You have to learn your horse, get confidence in him, know what he is capable of, and what you can depend on him to do. Don't let not taking the time to practice EVER be your problem.
If this is an area you feel needs improvement, try this program. You can also use the principles in this program as a guide for putting together a plan to work a 21 day change in any problem area.
- Set a time each day---one hour---that you are going to exercise your horse. Commit to yourself that you are going to go out and ride for one hour, no matter what, for 21 days in a row. Get a calendar and begin.
- Take a kitchen timer, or set a clock, so you'll know when your time is up, then go RIDE YOUR HORSE. Concentrate on him; feel him; try to imagine yourself at a barrel race. How will you ride him around to prepare him? How will you calm him down? What is the least amount of cue it will take to make him move slightly? Don't think about the time. Your job is to ride until the alarm goes off, cool your horse if he is hot, tend to his needs, then put him up. Go to your calendar and make a big black X on the date.
Now when you do that for the next twenty days, an amazing thing begins to happen. After about the tenth or eleventh day, you will be in the middle of something when the alarm goes off. You might even find that you are so involved in what you are doing that you disregard the alarm. The other thing that will have happened is that you will have built a winning habit - of devoting the time and practice to make you better. You will be one step closer to winning. Whatever your situation, there is probably some sort of 21 day program you can set up that will make you a better barrel racer in three weeks. Use everything you can to reinforce your goal.
If you go on a weight loss program, for example, tell yourself that, although being on a diet is uncomfortable and frustrating, you are going to benefit so much by being able to ride better. Each inch you lose brings you a little closer to winning.
Whatever the area you decide to work on, these steps are usually a good guide to follow:
- Decide what part of your barrel racing needs improvement and how you can achieve that improvement.
- Work out a reasonable goal for yourself.
- Record your progress each day on a calendar.
- Don't miss a single day of working toward your goal.
- Be positive of the result. Tell yourself that in just three weeks you are going to be a step closer to being a winner.
- At the end of the 21 days, keep up with whatever new winning habit you have made.
If you want to have incredible wins, you have to devote an incredible amount of effort. Winners are always working and thinking about winning. Don't ever devote yourself halfway. You can be the winner you would like to be. So, now, if you've done all the work, made the sacrifices, gotten organized and proven to yourself that you are capable of making winning runs, it's time to GET YOU MIND RIGHT. It's going to be easy, because you BELIEVE IN YOURSELF. You have gained confidence from your 21 day good habit makers and you now POSSESS those good habits.
Zig Ziegler has always been one of the most recognized motivational speakers in the world, and he tells his listeners that what you put into your head, you get out. If you put in garbage, you get it back. In barrel racing, garbage is the remembrance of a bad run, or a hit barrel, or a duck off, or a time that was a full second off.
Those things do happen, but after they do, a winner decides what caused them and how to prevent them in the future. Then, the winner lets them go. If you put them back into your mind, they will come out in your future runs!
So what SHOULD you put into your mind? Good, smooth, fast, powerful winning patterns! That's what you want to have in your future runs. And all the time, concentrate on the good, concentrate on the positive. Fill your mind with it. KNOW that you are going to win. EXPECT to win.
If you are around someone who puts negative things into your head, try to change them over to being positive. Tell them you need to hear positive things. Read positive books and listen to positive tapes. Make a list of things you can do each day that will get you closer to your goals, then do them. Make sure that you SOUND positive. Make everything that comes out of your mouth positive, and you will soon (in about 21 days) see a difference in you, your horse, and the people around you.
YOU STILL WON'T ALWAYS WIN, but what you put in will be coming out and you will begin to be a winner. "What? You mean if I go through all this practice and mental training and everything, I still won't win every time?" OF COURSE NOT. No one wins all the time. The biggest winners in the world have usually lost more than anyone, because they have attempted more than anyone. Real winners realize that and they develop the ability to mentally handle the highs and lows. Don't let the high be too high or the low be too low.
When you win, give yourself a few minutes of pure pleasure. Then remember you are exactly the same as you were before the win. In order to win again, you are going to have to do what you have just done; you must continue the work, the effort, the concentration. When you lose, analyze why you lost and how you can prevent it in the future. Allow yourself some losses. When you have one, just tell yourself "that was a loss I just got out of the way!" Then remember you are still the same person as before - a winner who is devoted and LUCKY.
"Lucky? I thought we just decided that winners don't get lucky----that they got everything by hard work and skill." Lots of people say that luck is where preparation meets opportunity. Winners are always ready to win. They are positive people who know that good things are going to happen because they have paid the price. They expect good things and they expect to win...and they do! I want you to be a winner, too, and I KNOW that you can accomplish your goals and become a winning barrel racer.