Sometimes when I try to visualize the course as I am getting ready to run its like I have a panic attack and I get up there and can’t remember the course. If I don’t think about it I’m ok. Any suggestions for that?
Yes, this is a very common problem that usually results from the surge of adrenaline in your body, which is part of the “fight or flight” response. Memory and higher brain function is reduced while your muscles, blood pressure, and heart rate prepare to fight or run away from the danger (the stressor).
I’ll start with the basic tips: #1 visualize more often because you will need more rehearsals in your mind than someone who doesn’t have this response. #2 take a deep breath when you get to the line.
Now the secret tip: “anchor” your run by visualizing you sitting your dog, stepping away, and leading out. This part of the run is the same for every run and you can get to the first cross and this should break through your “fight or flight” and release the rest of the run to your conscious mind. What I’m saying is that you don’t have to remember the whole course when you forget it, just rewalk the the opening few obstacles, usually up to the first turn or cross. Then it will all come back to you as you calm down and continue to breathe.
Notice that Sarah answered a smiliar question as mine in July 9th.
When I get the course map, I try to visualize how I would like to handle the course. Should I be doing this? After my walk thru I visualize my handling moves.
Yes, that’s fine! If it works, you’re doing great. I also pick out most of my handling moves with the course map when it’s available, and then I determine my exact position and motion and timing when the course is built and I walk it.
I like to watch other dogs in the local AKC trials to see where the pitfalls are that I may have missed or am not seeing initially. So if big dogs run before me, I usually watch them. Is that something you do? Do you not watch the other dogs in your own height class and just visualize yourself?
Yes, this is a great way to start visualizing before you even do the walk through! I often do this when I’m late to a trial and miss my walk through. I watch the class before me and learn from them.
Even if I’m not late, and I have a walk through, it saves time because you can memorize the order of obstacles before your walk through and you’ll have visualized some parts of it as well.
Should you visualize before you walk the course. I.E. I often get the course maps early in the morning of the trial day and start analyzing them. Should I start the process when I am studying the maps?
I think you can, but remember that you have to be open to changes once you walk. An inch difference, a degree difference in angle can make a difference. I would want to make sure that I have MORE post walk visualization than pre walk visualization.
I think the map is really good for identifying traps, memorizing numbers, and creating an initial plan. But I would not get too attached to that plan until after walkthrough.
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