Wow! I don’t know where to start with my write up about this weekends competition 🙃.
If you don’t want to read all of this blog for a detailed explanation then I think this sums it all up perfectly:
Let’s start with the fact that I had already had a rough week emotionally. My cat of 15.5 years, Molly, had to be put to sleep last Wednesday which was awful! 💔🤎 Being self employed, it had also been one of those weeks where you wonder why you run a business! So to say I wasn’t really emotionally ‘in the game’ is probably an understatement.
To add to the stress, on Saturday the competition rings were running ahead of schedule which meant a mad rush to get to the venue! The venue is 1.5 hours away so unfortunately no time for the meal which was planned beforehand to be the fuel for all my runs 🤦♀️.
Lesson 1 be more prepared! Have nutritious food in the cupboard that you can easily grab in times of need! Running off lucozade isn’t ideal!! Especially when the return home is not till 11pm!
As a coach there is a huge pressure to perform well. There are lots of eyes watching 👀 , from students to well meaning friends I know they are all watching to see how we get on. Unfortunately there are also people watching who have not always been supportive and I know deep down they thrive on my failures purely to make themselves feel better!
This is tough! Not only on me but on my dogs! I think people forget sometimes that behind the brand I am also a person with feelings.
I need to mentally and physically be on top form for my dogs. Any pressure or negative thoughts rub off on them. I have felt slight signs recently that this is happening with both Milo and Flash which in turn doesn’t make competing very much fun for any of us!
On Saturday, competition wise some of the courses were tough. Tricky weave entries which we haven’t trained, hard lines for the dogs and lots of running for me which I wasn’t physically prepared for!
Overall the boys did well although it didn’t feel like it at the time! Milo picked up a 3rd and 4th place in the agility and Flash had a clear Jumping win 🏆 🥳🥳.
A few months back I would be SO happy with those results but in all honesty I felt frustrated!
Why? Because both Milo and Flash need just 1 agility win each to get to Grade 7 which is the highest level here in the UK.
Flash had an agility run last on Saturday night and as I was walking the course my agility trainer came up to me and offered some advice. That advice at the time really wasn’t what I wanted to hear but made complete sense. I trust my trainer completely so did as I was told. We trained Flash’s agility round, I held his contacts and tested his skills as instructed.
See the thing is with being a coach you can’t coach yourself! You are too close emotionally to make the right choices. I mean the coach side of me knows what to do, I do this every day as a job with many successful students, but when it is your own training your emotions get involved and that makes things complicated!!
Despite our fantastic results on Saturday I came away feeling deflated that we hadn’t got that last win, especially when several messages came through from people watching the results online asking “does that win mean your Grade 7 now”
I felt rubbish on Saturday night, emotionally I could only focus on all the negativity despite clutching a handful of rosettes and a trophy!
A couple of weeks ago I made the decision to hire a personal trainer. This was something way out of my comfort zone as I will be the first to admit I find fitness hard.
On my first session he told me the first thing I needed to focus on to get where I wanted to be with my fitness goals was my mindset! I completely got what he was saying, it is what I tell my students every day but I hadn’t applied it to my own fitness goals.
I had a chat with my trainer about my performance on Saturday and in that chat the realisation hit me, that I am putting all my focus on that last win! I felt frustrated with myself as this isn’t me! It isn’t how I train and it isn’t what I’m about!! I had let the external pressure from everyone else get in my head and I wasn’t enjoying it!
We set some new goals for Sunday which I admit was hard to do, to change my mindset, but I knew from what I know as a coach that it was 100% the right move.
Sunday was a tough day. I really had to stop thinking of running to win and started running to purely reconnect with my dogs and get the spark back that had been dulled down just recently.
Flash had a tough day competing, he slipped in a tunnel which lost all of his confidence for the future runs that day. I had to change my handling to build his confidence back up in each run as he had completely lost all his drive. I had to just concentrate on that one goal… getting the tunnels back to normal.
This meant our runs took ages. I did everything at his pace and made a big deal of rewarding him verbally and physically (clapping etc) as much as I could just to build up his confidence. By his last run he was 80% back to normal with driving to a tunnel but boy it was tough. It was the realisation that the wins don’t matter my dogs do!
Just recently I have been trying to prove my worth as a trainer to all the people who have been doubting me! I believed that those last wins will make me feel adequate. My coach reminded me that that’s not the case and Flash confirmed this with his slip in the tunnel.
Milo’s runs were 100% on track for what I had set out to achieve that day, reconnection and fun! His first run was a jumping run. I went into the ring with no expectations other than to have fun! Milo had a start line wait!! I couldn’t believe it! He NEVER has a start line wait in the ring! If nothing else went right in that round I would have been happy but that was one of the best runs I’ve done with Milo in a long time!
Results wise we got E’d as I sent him to the wrong jump but I wasn’t even thinking of the route I was focusing on our connection and fun! I didn’t care we’d gone the wrong way, he had some fantastic skills in that round. I laughed and smiled all the way round and Milo was so happy!
Leaving the ring we had a massive party and a big reward! All the way back to the car we were connecting and having fun! It was like he had won even though we got eliminated. I felt fantastic and so did he.. that spark was back! 💪
Milo’s last run was an agility one and it was really tough for me not to think ‘ooh maybe this will be the one’ The run went brilliantly, I couldn’t have asked for more from him, he was paw perfect.
We partied just like we had before and walking back to the van felt amazing.
What happened next was emotional to say the least. Milo was in first place and I knew the class was due to close any moment. Could it be too good to be true?
Yes it could!💔 The last dog to run beat Milo by 1 second pushing us down into 2nd place!
The emotional roller coaster was awful! It took all my strength not to burst into tears! I was delighted his runs had gone so well but loosing out by 1 second was tough.
I knew I had to focus on something to take my mind away from the negativity, so I immediately wrote a list of positive take homes from the weekend and also a list of training improvements.
On writing my list I realised how good my weekend had been. I had achieved lots and I had also achieved Sunday’s new goal of reconnecting with my dogs and having fun again in the ring.
So I suppose the moral of this blog is never forget your core values! I had due to external pressures that ultimately I can’t control! This weekend was a reminder of that for me!! Every day is a school day and an opportunity to learn and grow!
Surround yourself with like minded people, invest in good coaches and listen to their advice even when you might not want to!! My agility trainers and my personal trainer play such an important role in making me and my dogs successful.
“If your trainer doesn’t have a trainer, find a new trainer!”
Your success is defined by you not anyone else!
We are all human, even us coaches are allowed off days but what defines us is knowing that these tough days will make us stronger 💪.
Always have fun with your dog! The results do not matter but the relationship you create in the ring does!
Happy training from a tired but determined Team KB 💪 🧡🖤 🐾