In the build up to the launch of The Crystal System Book on 30th November 2015, we are taking a sneaky peak at each chapter. Starting with Chapter 1 (as you do!) in my last post. Here we move on to Chapter 2 with just 3 x paragraphs which looks at helping to find out what is driving you …
“… As I progressed through my training, I become hungry for knowledge about how my body worked, hungry to put that knowledge into practice, shape my position and enjoy the challenges I faced. I am hoping you will feel this way too. It’s pretty addictive. When you really want something, you usually get it sooner or later. I have discovered the only way to see real improvement is to re-examine and question everything we do; keep the good things and reject the bad things. I found this because to this day, no matter what training issues I encounter, the solution is always somewhere in the basics and more often than not, in the way I ride.
The process of finding my own rider faults, after many years of riding, took a somewhat penetrating examination of my motives, convictions, attitudes, an in depth analysis of myself in an effort to determine my true feelings, capabilities and beliefs. This all began with the admission that I was not nearly as good as I thought I was. I questioned everything I had accomplished, everything I thought I knew. The anguish that is caused by this process, and the honesty which is vital for it, is immense.”
“… Success is no accident.
It needs to become a habit. That seemingly magical force that has the ability to take what was, at first, difficult and, over time, through diligent practice and repetition, make it easier, effortless even. The highest form of competence is a state of natural mastery (also known as unconscious competence), where once there have been many hours of practice, it becomes harder for a person to err than to perform the task correctly.
How do you achieve this state of mind? There have been many studies on the subject of sports psychology and as always the answer is through practice; you cannot stop the feelings of frustration or anxiety so you should notice them and without being judgemental about yourself, control your reactions to them. It is when in a relaxed state of concentration that the sense of effortlessness comes. Only then can you become fully immersed in the feeling of the ‘here and now’ because you are not reacting to the feelings or thinking of the consequences. This is called being in a ‘flow’ state, when you get involved in something so deeply that nothing else seems to matter and you completely lose track of time. It is a mental state of mind where a person is performing an activity and is fully immersed in a feeling of energised focus, with full involvement in the process of the activity, involving effortless concentration and enjoyment. Flow can happen when a person’s skills are fully involved in overcoming a challenge that is just about manageable and so it acts as a magnet for learning new skills and increasing challenges. This little space between boredom and anxiety is the holy grail of training. Focussing wholly on the current exercise will serve to optimise cooperation and harmony between you and your horse.”
“… The real gem of information I have for you, and this is a corker, is that everyone, even you have the built-in, all powerful achievement device, a gift really. It is the ability to develop any habit necessary to help you achieve any goal or to help you realise your vision of success. We will explore this further in Chapter 12 – Do – Rider Focus Plan. For now just sit back and give some thought to your everyday habits and how they control your life. You have them don’t you? We all do. Maybe you go into the coffee room at the stables on arrival and before you know it an hour of your time has gone, leaving you less time with your horse. Maybe you don’t and instead miss out of the social aspect of your hobby. What you need to do is form new habits that are right for your progression and assist you achieve your dressage dream.”