Better Basics, LLC

Box 272

Kinnear, WY 82516

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Previous Tips on Mental Preparation, Attitude, & Goals

Becoming Mentally Tough

It's easy to think about the "what ifs" or the bad things that could go wrong in a run.  But to become a champion, you've got to learn how to control your thoughts.  Catch yourself thinking the 'bad' thoughts & MAKE it a good thought.  With practice this becomes easier & you'll learn to believe in yourself more.  Almost everyone can have doubts, but how you handle them determines how good your run will be. 


Many of you may be well under way in your fall rodeo seasons, some may be over.  For those of you that haven't reached the goals that you have set for yourself by the end of the season & you may be feeling a little blue: remember to AIM HIGH WHEN YOU FEEL LOW.  Remember your ultimate goal & strive towards it each & every day. If you want to be a champion you have to ACT like a champion, even when times are tough.  Always keep in mind that "This too shall pass".  And that goes for the good times & the bad.


Be careful not to get "psyched out" going into Nationals especially if it's your first trip. Don't get caught up in believing that the goats are these unbelievable man eating monsters that don't stay tied, will jump in your face and run in front of your horse- because ATTITUDE is a lot going into a rodeo like this.  You don't have to win every round to win a national title. You've got to put together three good runs, but they don't have to be outta this world runs. Most of the kids qualifying for this event, already have put together such runs TO qualify.  So really you're not having to do anything different! Let all the negative vibes go in one ear & out the other.  Remember, they are just goats, you've probably have tied hundreds in your life time and they are all the same- they are on a ten foot rope so they can't go too far, they have a head, a tail & four legs; three of which you tie.  Keep it simple, keep it to the basics.  All the other stuff is just the BS that gets in the way!


State finals & averages/rounds

Stay focused on here & now.  Don't get to looking ahead or looking back at future or previous rounds/runs (good or bad).  Take each round one at a time, make the best run  you can and keep your goats tied & you'll always have a chance.  ONLY think positive thoughts- don't talk yourself out of winning.  You are ABLE to control your thoughts, so DO IT. Keep focused on YOU, not competitors, standings, times, etc...Think about the process not the outcome- my focus phrase is: Hustle, Hustle, Check, Step Hustle, Flat flank, Scoop low & Ty tight. I repeat this to myself  (fast) during warm up & while waiting to go & see it in my mind perfect as I say it to myself. This helps ME stay focused on MY JOB.

Dealing with frustration/disappointments

 It's important to realize that NO ONE is perfect, NO ONE wins every run, and disappointments ARE part of LIFE and competition.  And just like the nerves that most of us feel prior to competing, telling us that we care about what we about to do, the frustration tells us that we also care about what we do and that it is important to us. So those are good things, we've just got to learn how to deal with them.  The quicker we learn how to deal with disappointments, the quicker we can move on from them. 


A lot of you compete in several events in one day, so if the day doesn't start out so great, you've got to learn to move on quicker, so you 'streak' doesn't spread into the next events. Learning to stay focused for the next, upcoming event will help you put the past behind you.  You can't go into the goat tying still mad about tipping a pole and missing your calf, so pay attention to what you are focusing on prior to tying goats.  I have little phrases for each event that help keep me focused.  I'll repeat the phrases over and over and visualize my runs in my mind so that I'm focusing on the right things. Things in the past, whether it's 5 minutes ago, 5 hours ago, 5 days ago, 5 weeks ago or 5 months ago are all IN THE PAST. You've got to move on, especially when you have more chances in win and don't let your pity party get in the way!

Dwelling on disappointments just makes you miserable longer whether from a  bad rodeo run or a bad practice- figure out what you are doing wrong, break it down into one skill drills and FIX it, keeping a positive attitude.


Nobody likes a whiner, or being around someone that feels sorry from themselves, so act professional when its going good or bad.  Keep the big picture in mind too- goat tying is what we do, not who were are.  How you act on good or bad days is who you are. And if you want to be a champion, you have to act like one in good times and bad.

Be a Friend to Yourself

(in the practice pen too!)

Frustration & emotions are something we all have to learn how to deal with at the rodeos and in the practice pen. NOTHING good comes out of being upset. (speaking from experience!)  It's best to take a break until you can calm down and think rationally again before continuing to practice.  With age, keeping my cool has gotten easier.  When I feel myself boiling over, I either take a break (go sit along the fence until I cool off emotionally) or work on whatever skill/element that is giving me troubles by itself, slowing it down & getting it right to build confidence & to prove to myself that I CAN do it!

You've got to be a coach to yourself sometimes- like you are another person looking from the outside in & coaching yourself. Or think of it as if you were helping someone else, how you would treat them when they are getting upset & frustrated?


Remember to give  yourself credit- even when you aren't perfect. Goat tying/ rodeo is like any other sport.  If you are playing basketball, you're not going to make every shot, but you've got to keep shooting! Through practice, your percentage of made shots will increase,  but you STILL won't make every one!!! And like any other sport, you've got to put the time in to get better, it doesn't happen over night, everyone learns at their own pace. Even the Pros spend HOURS practicing & conditioning to get better after they have learned the skills to keep up with the competition (if you think of pro basketball, or even college athletics).  


To decrease frustration in practice:

We should approached our goat tying practice like another other sport.  Break it down into drills & work on perfecting & speeding up one element at a time, which will help us focus on that particular skill instead of trying to perform all the skills needed to run down, flank and ty the goat. When our muscle memory is doing pretty good with that skill, we can start putting skills together (two skill drills) to work on smoothing out & speeding up the transition between the skills.   This should keep things a little more simplified and lessen frustration in the practice pen. 

Starting off the rodeo season

Most of you are into the fall rodeo season and it's important to focus on the run at hand instead of letting previous runs interfere with your thoughts/confidence/concentration.  Whether your previous run (s) were awesome or less than what you expect from yourself, you need to focus on performing the skills and not let thoughts of doubt cross your mind before making your rodeo run.  What you've done in the past is in the past- good or bad and neither will help you if you are not focused on the task at hand.


Warming up & just prior to competing, I focus on what I need to do & see it correctly in my mind.  I have a phrase "hustle, hustle, check, step, hustle, flat flank, scoop low & ty tight" that I repeat over & over to myself quickly & I see it in my mind correctly as I say it which helps me focus on the run at hand.


To break my phrase down: Hustle, Hustle is where I'm hustling my horse.  If it's a longer run, I add a few more hustles to make sure I don't quit hustling my horse too soon.

Check is where I take a hold of my horse to slow him down before I step off, usually that's just squeezing my finger tips & my horse will respond. Some horses don't need to be checked since they have so much rate in them. 

Step is stepping off my horse.

 Hustle is where I'm hustling to the goat.

 Flat Flank is pushing my goat down square to the ground for a good, flat flank.

Scoop low is keeping the goat's legs low.

 Ty tight is where I focus on getting a good solid ty on my goat.


See good runs in your mind before you go!  What you see is what you'll most likely get!!Best of luck!

Happy Holidays & Best Wishes for the upcoming New Year!!  

Decide on your goat tying/rodeo goals for the New Year.  Post where you can see them as a reminder to motivate yourself to work towards your goals everyday. Everyday that you don't work to develop your skills, you are not improving.  You don't stay the same- you either get better or you get worse.  Take advantage of every opportunity to get better. The day that goes by that you don't work to enhance yourself, is a day that you'll never get back.  You want to enter the rodeo arena KNOWING that you are totally prepared, not WISHING you were.  Your fate is in your hands.  Prepare yourself through technical skills (getting out & doing it!), physical conditioning (nutrition & exercise) and mental toughness (practice thinking positive thoughts about your rodeo and work on believing them!)


Train your mind through use of affirmations.

Affirmations are statements that build self confidence and allow you to believe in yourself.  By using "I am" statements, your brain will learn to believe and your body will follow. By saying "I am" you tell yourself that you have already achieved this goal.  "I will" leaves too much room for doubt.

"I am in better shape that anyone."

"I am totally prepared"

"I am mentally tough"

"I am focused in competition"

"I train harder than anyone"

"I am in the best shape of my life"

"I am ready"

"I am in control"

"I am going to win"

"I am confident"

"I am eating right"

"I have done the most work"

" I am strong"

"I am fast"

"I am the quickest"

"I believe in myself"

"I feel good"

"I am unbeatable"

"I work hard & am smart"

Be careful that you don't spend too much time thinking about your competition instead of focusing on yourself. Whether it's a fear if you are fast enough to beat so & so, or if it's belittling them to yourself or with others.  The more time you spend talking about someone else or thinking about what someone else does, the more it takes away from you.  Re-route your thoughts so that you are thinking more about your game plan; practices, rodeos & with a positive attitude.   You train your mind to think the right thoughts, just like you train your body in practice so you are better for competition.  Every time you catch yourself thinking about someone else, or a bad thought- CHANGE IT to a positive thought ABOUT YOURSELF!  You may get beat occasionally by someone else (because NOBODY wins ALL the time) but don't give them an advantage by beating yourself with 'bad' thoughts'. 



This site was last updated 12/12/10