Wednesday, July 20, 2011

What Makes a Champion

I read this article yesterday What Makes a Champion?. I really like the point of the article. I am a competitive person, more with myself than with other people. I always expect the most and best out of myself and when I don't meet my expectations I have to pick myself back up from disappointment.

For me agility is doubly hard since I have lofty expectations for myself and for my dog. I do know that ultimately how the dog performs comes back to "me" and my training ability.

For me I loved the fact that the people that ultimately succeed are those that don't give up! I don't give up! Sometimes I should, ya know when you point out to yourself what is the point of accomplishing that anyway? For instance, pursuing something at work when it was just driven by politics and you can't influence that process. Spend your energy elsewhere!

But in agility, I don't give up! Frequently, I pause, feel like I have given up, but then develop a plan and get back on the horse. I heard something recently (from Mary Ellen Barry) that I just loved "Realize that failure *is* part of the process.", "The more times you do something, the more you will fail at it (Daisy Peel)". I am now a believer that failure is a part of the process, I have to get better at that and learn to embrace it's lessons quicker.

The other thing that spoke to me about this article was the triangle of: persistence, timing, and talent! Two out of the three have to be true to succeed. This applys to agility as well. In my previous post, ya know the one that I was commenting on Timing. So true! The hard part is that timing isn't a constant in most fields. That is, once you have it down you are good. Timing is changing and evolving, very true in agility! So really, to me, the talent is adaptation of timing to be more precise.

On another note, Tangle and I had an amazing practice this morning! I decided not to bring the camera out, but I really wish that I had. We worked on several things, proofing 12 poles, contacts in sequences, jumping. He was just amazing with his ability to stick with the game! Enjoy it tremendously. I am very commit ed to keeping practices short, but when you are on a roll, it is really hard!

Monday, July 18, 2011

Working on Timing

Split and I continue our practice to get us operating more like a team and my timing back to what Split needs it to be. Timing is absolutely the hardest thing about agility. In the evolution of the team, you both get more confident. As the dog's confidence grows they tend to get faster, which throws off your timing. The cycle begins again. It seems that this is an element that constantly needs to be refined. I find that depending on how forgiving the dog is in terms of your timing, the job is harder the less forgiving.

Split is very sensitive to my motion. I want it that way really. BUT, it tends to make my timing more critical and the need to have my cues more clear and intentional as well.

This course is a great course to stay calm on!

I started this course with a leadout and my location between 3 & 4, but closer to 4 to clarify the line for him. He read the 1-2-3 sequence perfect every time. Next I did a serpentine recall over 4 to 5. My timing and body position were really important here. His commitment to #4 was rather late and I could not leave as early as I wanted, even if I gave him the "jump" command. I found that the serpentine recall as describe by APHS was not the way to go. I actually had to keep my chest facing the jump if I wanted to be farther away, or if I did a serpentine recall I had to be closer to the jump. His late commitment on #4 changed how I was going to cue 5 to 6. I underestimated the number of cues it would take to get him to turn. I stayed stationary, used my outside arm, waited for him to turn and then I took a couple of steps backward between 5 & 6 to cue 6, catch him and cue the weaves.

Split kept popping on pole 5. I think it was the typical weaving into nowhere problem. Once we did get the weaves I did a landing side FC on #8 and sent to the tunnel. Once he was committed to the tunnel I booked it as fast as I could to #10, giving him a cue to turn into me (outside arm) and set the line to #11. This, he read really nicely!

Things that I noted with Split.

1) His commitment point to #3 tunnel was much shorter than his commitment point to #9. I am sure that clarity played a role.
2) Outside hand is still very effective with Split. He gives me relative collection quickly and adjusts his path.
3) His startline confidence is coming back.

Fun little course and easy to set up!