Thursday, October 1, 2009

Trial the way you train...

… or train the way you trial :-)… Either way, it’s got to be the same. This is a mystery I’m trying to unravel with regards to Bryce’s weaves, and trial performance in general.

Location: Red Gate Arena (our regular training facility)
Time: 12:30pm
Temps: 6◦C, indoors, windy outside

Mick is pretty much the same boy in practice/training as he is at a trial – the good and the adventurous ;-). Bryce, however, tends lose a tiny bit of confidence at a trial – almost like stage fright, if I were to anthropomorphize. I’m never quite sure which “Bryce” is coming to the startline with me :-). I think, with time, as well as consistency and awareness on my part, this will resolve itself, so I’m trying not to adjust MY behavior at trials, but I know I do… If he’s “needy” at the startline, I babysit and he I can see from watching video that he gets a bit worse. This became measurably worse when we moved up to Masters… I think my lack of experience at this level, coupled with tighter courses has caused him to slow down and watch me like a hawk during a trial.

So the criteria for our training session at Red Gate Arena yesterday was based on getting him to drive the line and maintain confidence. To recap the video (dark, need to adjust the settings), we started with speed circles in both directions, no crosses initially. I did add crosses later.

We then moved on to weaves which were just what we want (independent, confident) from many directions -- off of contacts, with rear cross etc. As with all training sessions, we added some SLS work and self-control. I finished up with some tunnel-DW discriminations that I didn’t tape but that he had 100% success with…

Mick’s driving ahead pretty nicely during trials so we’re adding more front and rear crosses to his speed circles to get used to each other’s preferred timing :-)…

Mick needs constant contact work to remind him that there is a yellow part to consider. At almost 8 yrs old, he’s decided that running contacts are the way to go. He gets them consistently, so now I’m working to build some lateral distance and more independence so that I can move to another position in a trial.

This is the first time in a month that Mick’s seen 12 weaves… Got his entry on the onside, but still struggles a bit with the offside. Got it after the second try so it’s coming :-). You’ve come a LONG way baby ;-).

It occurred to me yesterday, that there have been some progress milestones, but that I’m not tracking them as well as I am the things we need to work on. I think it’s important so I know what to not to take for granted, and to maintain :-)…So I’m going to start recording “attaboyz” to celebrate the fun ways we’ve moved the yardstick forward :-).

· 6 months ago, Mick wouldn’t walk into the building we were training in as he was afraid of the dome. Now he owns the place ;-)!
· 6 months ago, Mick wouldn’t stay with me for more than a second during training or at a trial… Now I can’t shake him (although one is never positive at a trial with Mick as he likes to add his own flavour to an event, I’ve chosen to celebrate the moment) :-).
· 6 months ago, Bryce wouldn’t even attempt the weaves… now he’s looking for them and powering through in practice, and getting the entries at trials.
· 6 months ago, Mick had no contact behavior, now he’s doing smooth, consistent running contacts including the teeter.
· 6 months ago, Bryce didn’t know about discriminations, now he’s got some understanding :-).

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