Mindless; how do we become it? How do we know if we have already become it? What is it anyway?
Mindfulness is well discussed and practiced by athletes of all sports. With so much focus on mental toughness and emotional resilience in sports it makes sense to know how to put your mind to good use. However, in the process of increasing our confidence levels it is also possible to become mindless!
Mindlessness can happen to any of us, at any time during a sporting moment. It happens when we over anticipate the result, the win. It can be a negative by-product of too much confidence. Simply speaking, it happens when we are NOT present.
As horse riders it happens when we begin to celebrate our success, ahead of the win! Yes, some riders really are that confident! It means that we are already tasting and anticipating the joy of the cup, the points, the rosettes held in our hand, before we take off for that final double combo. If we are jumping against the clock, this is often the moment where we slip out of the final placings as our horse suddenly and unexpectedly clips the back pole – and it drops!
We blame him or her, unaware that the error may be due to our mindlessness!
Bottom line: don’t focus on the excitement of the score, the result, the place, the win. Keep it as a goal and as a motivation but keep in check your anticipation of it until your round/ class or event is over.
Don’t forget that many riders behave differently when we know we are being watched. This can also result in us making poor decisions, showing off, treating our horse unfairly. If you are riding in a team event your team will not thank you for losing your focus, getting ahead of yourself and having a last minute time or jump fault. We owe it to ourselves, our team mates and our horses to stay mindful and never mindless!