Practice Makes Perfect
My “Uncle Taylor” is stationed in Korea serving his country in an EOD unit. While in high school, he was a runner on his track team and set some state records. He went on to run at Sam Houston State University. His brother, Corey, also a record-setter, came across a letter that Taylor wrote to his high school teammates describing what it takes to be a winner. When Corey asked me the question, “Bruce, you wanna know what it takes,” I eagerly read what Taylor had to say. While his letter is about running — his passion, dedication and disciplines could help me with my agility goals.
What it takes…thinking about the Gold in Munich baby!
- I’ve got this one covered. It’s October and I’m getting out of the car going to my first real agility meet at What a Great Dog’s new training facility currently being built in Frisco,TX. I’m picturing myself sitting tall on a blue table with a medal hanging around my neck, a huge antler bone at my feet, and a blue ribbon in Mom’s hands. They’ve got to have medals, just saying. (And if they don’t have medals, it’s time to start a campaign.) Flashbulbs are popping off all around me and Hendrix, my secret crush, is standing on the table next to me with her own blue ribbon. My best friend, Tugger Tails, is waiting for me and we’re heading to celebrate on the patio at the Gingerman with all our buddies.
Living the endurance athlete’s lifestyle is all about training and relaxing. Hurt when you need to hurt, relax when you need to relax. Finding a balance between the two…that’s what defines a champion.
- Training for agility is fun, but you must be dedicated to learning it correctly and not developing bad habits. Practice can get a little repetitious. However, I am determined to have three serious practice sessions a day and push my limits to the max. I will go to Rover Resort day camp to run crazy and act like a fool, continue my other rally and great dog training classes, and relax with Mom around the house; chew a good bone, take a swim and float around the pool, and enjoy watching some softball on the weekends.
When you take the step into competing on the next level you have to realize that everyone wants to be the best. What is it that you are going to do that separates yourself from another? Find your weaknesses and strengthen them. Results are not expected to come quickly. Sometimes it will take a year to shave one second off the clock; sometimes it will take a year to gain one second. Learn from it.
- This means that I must dedicate myself to following my handler and being in sync with her at all times. I will develop jump habits and contact skills that facilitate speed, accuracy, and expert course management.
Always try to train with someone better than you or at least as fast as you. Don’t go out there and run against your shadow. A training partner is a beautiful thing. Hurt together, hangout together, and shave each other’s legs for each other…ok maybe not the last one.
- To succeed I will continue weekly agility classes with my agility buddies to hone our skills, advance to the next level, celebrate our accomplishments and learn from each other’s mistakes. I will cheer my Mom on during her cardio workouts. My private lessons with Jody will push me to be all that I can be. I will continue to bond with my Mom as my handler and rely on my mentor, Maureen, to champion my goals and dreams.
There will be circumstances when you will run alone and it can be a beautiful experience in and of itself…when you’re faster than everyone! Get up before the sun rises. Run with no end in sight, pick a direction and go. Run hills, run intervals, run fast, run slow, run trails, run roads, run in short shorts, be confident, and be humble at the same time.
- I will run, jump, and weave for the adrenaline rush, just to know I can do it! And for good measure, I’ll keep showing off for the neighbors, because having an audience is good experience, good for for my ego, I get to shake a lot of hands and get a whole bunch of high-fives.
Have rivalries with other schools…or make them fear you so much that when Coppell rolls up on that yellow bus they’ll be saying, “Second place won’t be so bad.” Beat them before you even get there.
- Mom will be wearing her WAGD t-shirt to ALL events so my competitors know to FEAR the training I’ve had.
Invite everyone to your meets. I mean everyone…dogs, uncles, moms, dads, brothers, and sisters, birds if you got them, friends, teachers, and co-workers. Have them yell, scream, paint up all red and run around in masks! Be the loudest, most obnoxious group of fans out there. Before you race…have some awesome motto or chant or completely random remark that you say before you race. This is another wave of motivation that will take your racing to the next level. This will help you run fast. If you’re not the fastest right now don’t worry about it. Just keep training and it will come… trust me if you want it, it…will…happen.
- My fans can get pretty rowdy, so we might have to work on appropriate cheering at an agility match. (And if they take this suggestion literally, they need either BatDog yellow or blue face paint.) But regardless, I’m inviting the whole world when I get to enter my first real competition. I’m handing out party favors! And my chant is, “Own Your Woof –you’re the BatDog.” Woof!
Own Your Woof®