CLAY O’BRIEN COOPER

Spin to Win Rodeo - - Departments - By Clay O’Brien Cooper with Ken­dra San­tos

Guys who rope for a liv­ing and recre­ational rop­ers have a lot more in com­mon than you might think, in ad­di­tion to a love of the game. Lim­ited prac­tice time is just one ex­am­ple. The im­por­tance of prac­tice is a multi-level and multi-faceted sub­ject. Prac­tice is what got you started, and how you hone your ba­sic skills. Prac­tice is also what helps you climb the lad­der in your abil­ity level, and it’s a con­stant that helps keep your fun­da­men­tals in­tact and also con­tin­ues to be the cat­a­lyst for im­prove­ment. And that’s just at the phys­i­cal level.

The other com­po­nent to prac­tice is the psy­cho­log­i­cal ef­fect it has—the part that it plays in con­nect­ing your tech­ni­cal skills with your abil­ity to con­cen­trate and fo­cus. The ic­ing on the cake is that prac­tice builds your con­fi­dence. A lot of fac­tors af­fect the amount of prac­tice you’re able to get. To prac­tice a lot, you have to have the cat­tle, the horses, the fa­cil­i­ties and the time. Work­ing around sore horses, not hav­ing a part­ner nearby or some of those other re­sources, in­clud­ing the time, all play into this. I deal with these things my­self. A lot of recre­ational rop­ers are try­ing to fit in prac­tice around busy sched­ules that in­clude jobs and fam­i­lies. When we get rolling in the sum­mer­time and we’re go­ing to a rodeo or two a day for sev­eral months, there’s not much time in be­tween to prac­tice for us, ei­ther. There are times all rop­ers need to learn to prac­tice men­tally. I’m al­ways think­ing about rop­ing and re­play­ing our runs in my head. Der­rick (Be­gay) gets ev­ery run we make videoed and sent to me, whether we win, lose, catch or miss. I al­ways study our runs—on the all-night drives and on the way to the next one. I go through the men­tal imag­ing of what I’m try­ing to do. That’s the men­tal part of prac­tice.

Ul­ti­mately, we’re all try­ing to ex­e­cute a game plan at ev­ery level of this game. I do the same thing play­ing golf. I don’t get a lot of time to prac­tice that, ei­ther. I can sym­pa­thize with a roper who works an 8-5 job and only gets to prac­tice once a week, be­cause that’s me play­ing golf. But I swing my club all the time, and am al­ways prac­tic­ing men­tally to learn the game as I go, us­ing the men­tal im­agery process that rop­ing has taught me. As for mak­ing the best use of the time we do have, use that smart phone to watch the pros mak­ing good runs on YouTube. Use that men­tal im­agery on the dif­fer­ent com­po­nents of your rop­ing—proper swing an­gles, tim­ing, de­liv­ery and how you ride your horse. Spend your lim­ited time in the prac­tice pen work­ing on ev­ery­thing from your pos­ture to your swing po­si­tion and an­gle. Rope the dummy to get rep­e­ti­tion of a fun­da­men­tally cor­rect de­liv­ery. Even when I rope the dummy on the ground I’m run­ning a make-be­lieve sce­nario through my mind where I’m on my horse with the reins in my hand, mak­ing that cor­ner and ex­e­cut­ing my game plan. It’s a sys­tem­atic reg­i­men, whether I’m do­ing it men­tally, on the ground, on a Heel-O-Matic or with ac­tual prac­tice runs. In all those sce­nar­ios I’m do­ing the same thing—for­mu­lat­ing a game plan in my mind, then try­ing to go get it done.

PRAC­TICE IS WHAT GOT YOU STARTED, AND HOW YOU HONE YOUR BA­SIC SKILLS. PRAC­TICE IS ALSO WHAT HELPS YOU CLIMB THE LAD­DER IN YOUR ABIL­ITY LEVEL, AND ITS A CON­STANT THAT HELPS KEEP YOUR FUN­DA­MEN­TALS IN­TACT AND ALSO CON­TIN­UES TO BE THE CAT­A­LYST FOR IM­PROVE­MENT.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from USA

© PressReader. All rights reserved.