So back in January 2016 I set a New Year resolution. It was to read more often and more consistently. As I know that no resolution sticks unless I make it a habit, I made a plan and started reading every evening before bed. This has resulted in me reading and listening to 23 books in 2016 and so far, 27 in 2017. In addition, I also released my very own book this year, “Keep calm & enjoy the ride”. Good enough reasons to share my top 10 reads to train your brain over the holidays.
As Tony Robbins says, “If you want to become great in a certain area, make sure to model those who have already achieved it.” I am a firm believer that we have so much to learn from those at the top of the sport, so I have interviewed more than 15 top-level riders to learn from them, how they train, how they prepare mentally for competition, and how they bounce back when things don’t go as planned. Back in 2017 I had the privilege of interviewing Laura Kraut. She shared so many amazing insights with me and I want to share some of these with you now.
I’m not going to lie, I know fear. The other day I was riding again after not sitting on a horse for over a year and after 15minutes of feeling really good about being in the saddle again, my horse tripped and within a split second I was on the ground. This triggered my fear of falling off big time and I could feel my fight or flight system raging through my body. I got back on but was terrified I would fall again. And then it struck me, it is not the falling that scares me most, it is the fact that I have no control over it whatsoever. So here are 5 ways I will be working on this fear from now on so I can ditch it for good.
The road to excellence is a long one and requires patience, grit and deliberate practice. That is at least if you listen to the experts in the field of expertise performance. According to Anders Ericsson, a researcher in the psychology of expertise and human performance, specific or deliberate practise is of one of the most, if not the most important factor to reaching the top in any given field.
Here are 7 specific tips on how to apply his research to training your own skills in the saddle.
It is safe to say that the Equestrian sport is a challenging one, not only physically but also mentally. Making one error can result in a bad fall and injuries and might mean, you are out for the season. This obviously adds extra pressure to not make any mistakes. In addition, it is the only Olympic sport that involves working together with a living animal and that too adds an extra difficulty to the mix. Working together with a highly sensitive animal means that your mind not only impacts your body, but your horse will be influenced by it too.
Most of our beliefs are formed by all the information we get from the people around us as a child. Up to the age of 6 for instance, we don’t have the experience or the knowledge to compare that information or those stories with other information, so when we hear the same stories a few times, we believe them. These beliefs can be helpful but can also be limiting and, growing up, they often become subconscious. So when we go trough our lives with limiting beliefs that are holding us back, we often don’t realize it is just the belief that is blocking us from succeeding or improving. Therefore, I have listed a few common limiting beliefs that might be holding you back. In case you find it hard to turn these beliefs around on your own, it might be a good idea to find a mental coach or therapist you trust to work on them together.
For some reason we tend to believe that in order to improve, we need to be criticizing ourselves constantly. In my opinion however, this does not work at all. It’s not helpful cause you don’t get any feedback on how to improve or make things better yet at the same time your confidence is going down the drain. Here are a few ways to ditch the self-criticism and increase your self-esteem.
For the Noelle Floyd Magazine I have been interviewing top ranked riders to find out how they got to succeed in this mentally challenging sport. What can we learn from those who have been climbing the Equestrian ladder and have already succeeded? For the summer issue, I asked Lorenzo de Luca if he had any advise to aspiring young riders trying to make it to the top. He did not disappoint. Lorenzo shares three important lessons he learned himself along the way:
These are, what I believe some basic but fundamental principles for becoming and staying a truly successful rider.
I believe that thinking in a negative way is a subconscious habit and it often stems from a fear of disappointment. You are scared to be optimistic and dream big dreams cause what if you don’t make it, what if you fail?