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I love this book. Listening to it again today while building some jumps (turns out I'm more than a little short on equipment at home for practice these days).

There's a long half finished post about Nationals this year. I will eventually get back to it.

The short version of it is that I totally cracked this year under pressure. It was that essay in Malcom Gladwell's "Outliers" all over the place. I choked. It was like being a novice again - forgetting courses and not cuing jumps.

Yes, we had some lovely runs over the weekend, but the closer we got to being successful overall, the more I melted down. There are plenty of details that go along with this, but they really don't matter that much.

Anyway - back to "Wait" and why I had to jump up and run in here to dash off a quick post. I'll even leave this one public despite Russian Coach Purse selling commenters.

Frank Partnoy suggests in "Wait" that part of the trouble someone like me might experience is when to know when to delay a decision and when not to. When an expert can make that split second decision, but a novice needs to delay the decision as long as possible. I hesitate to use the word "expert" in relation to myself, but I do get around courses without much thinking these days at local shows. Perhaps with too little, in fact.

However, when it gets to be a high pressure event like Nationals, it's hard to be more of a "noob" than I am. Last year was our first AKC and USDAA Nationals. My expectations were not much, just to do respectably well and gather information about myself.

This year, I may have had expectations. Ten is a damn fast, damn good, dog. There aren't many that can match her speed. Yes, she has bars if I'm not perfect, but gosh, I get her around local JWW trials something like 80% of the time clean. So, reasonable enough to think we could go clean twice and at least expect a challengers berth. Especially after that TTB run on Friday. JUST be clean.

Ky is just a damn good dog. In fact, I'd say shes an awesome dog. Forgiving, fast enough, hardest worker ever, EXTREMELY trainable. Her "goal" would to be to get to 26" finals having given it our all on three rounds.

Yet with both dogs, when the critical runs came around I had novice handler errors. Ten's JWW run I got so rattled by a rattled bar and forcing myself not to look back at it, I did not push her hard enough to the back of the jump after the poles and we went off course.

Ky - oh my! She is SO good. Total rookie melt downs in Hybrid AND Challengers (which I never expected to make it into) and failure to work every jump.

Anyway. Mr. Partnoy's point is that we may think we are experts, but when presented with a certain problem set we may be no such thing despite our expectations.

I needed to handle all of those runs like they were the hardest International courses I had ever seen, with EACH obstacle being a difficult challenge. But no, I decided on some level I didn't need to . . . and kept both girls out of Finals again.

Live and learn and that ends this year's dwelling on the negative.

Great book. Next year I'll manage the pieces better - the ones in the ring and outside!


( 12 comments — Leave a comment )
Mar. 25th, 2013 01:25 am (UTC)
funny how some success and expectations can undo someone...
i've been curious about what I might get out of Daisy's mental game class, but i have to wonder if putting more thought into my mental game would be a bad thing
not that I am anywhere near a level of competition where it would matter, but its still an issue

and that book looks interesting!
Mar. 25th, 2013 10:42 pm (UTC)
I think that mental management matters at *ANY* level of competition; I did D's class a couple of terms ago. It's good material and my failure is certainly no reflection on that.

Developing good habits and keeping to them are the key. That, this go round anyway, was my big failure. I didn't bother to develop the good habits at local shows, then when I *needed them* they were not there yet.
Mar. 25th, 2013 01:31 am (UTC)
I'm glad that I went to the Invitational so many times before I went to Nationals in Reno last year, because it got me more used to the national competition thing. I really froze up the first time (with Elmo), and stressed quite a lot every time I went with Tully. But after a while, you get used to that stuff, and can concentrate a little better on actually running the course.

I still didn't handle the hybrid course very well, because it was the first time I'd actually been CLEAN for the previous rounds, and I was a little wound up wanting that last clean run. But I also knew I didn't have a hope of making finals, so I just wanted the clean run and was trying for safe rather than speed.

You'll hold it together better next year!
Mar. 25th, 2013 10:43 pm (UTC)
Experience matters, or so I'm told. This experience will be valuable if I remember the lesson!
Mar. 25th, 2013 01:57 am (UTC)
That's really interesting. When I was training with a friend a year ago, we'd set up a course, look at it, then when it looked doable, before we ran it she would say, "this actually looks pretty easy."

Then we'd both completely bomb.

So I told her she was never allowed to say something was easy again because it was getting in MY head too, and we started calling everything *really really* hard. (And that later became a very inappropriate joke between her and another person, but that's a story for another time.)

Interesting that it's a real thing! I missed Ten, but I thought you and Ky had a stellar Nationals. Mistakes happen. As you said, all the better to prepare for next year!
Mar. 25th, 2013 10:47 pm (UTC)
I'm not sure how you could have missed Ten's 2 minutes of running in the 444 dog 20" class in a different building? Seems like you probably really weren't trying very hard. ;-) (Turns out part of the long play version is I thought *I* missed one of Ten's runs . . . but that wasn't so much the point of this particular blog.)

My friend used to give me "advice" before runs. "The advice" was "don't fuck up." I finally had to ask her to stop giving me the advice, or referencing the advice. My Q rate after she said that was horrible! My brain processed the F-up part much better than the "don't" part.

Interesting, our brains are. Said in my best geeky Yoda voice . . . interesting and really powerful and weird.
Mar. 25th, 2013 02:50 am (UTC)
It's the journey. Enjoy it.
Mar. 25th, 2013 10:47 pm (UTC)
I enjoyed every moment. Far more than I enjoyed that 1 point Snooker . . .
Mar. 26th, 2013 04:16 am (UTC)
I really love this book. We used to call the trauma bay the "fishbowl," because everyone is watching you. It was controlled chaos and the person in charge was subject to a lot of scrutiny, and poor decisions were instantly very public. A lot of our residents had trouble adjusting to the performance aspect of the role and really struggled with their decision making skills under such pressure. One in particular comes to mind, I think I learned more about mental management from coaching her through trauma resuscitations than any book I've read. We did a lot of dry runs, watched the recordings of the resuscitation, and kept exposing her to get her to elevate to an expert status. She had the intelligence and skills, just couldn't deliver the performance because she was trying too hard and was too conscious of externalities. It was a great lesson for both of us.
Mar. 27th, 2013 04:40 pm (UTC)
Very interesting - plus perspective. It's just dog agility. It's not life or death. Thank god!
Mar. 27th, 2013 07:04 am (UTC)
If I weren't so sleepy I'd write something smart...but I'm too sleepy. And gulp, my iPad has 7% battery...it's sleepy too.
Mar. 27th, 2013 04:40 pm (UTC)
7% is way not enough for anything smart. 7% really means eminent shut down. Which apparently was applicable to you too. :-)
( 12 comments — Leave a comment )