Mind Games: Five Ways to Use Video to Your Advantage

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ou probably videotape your rounds when you show, but are you utilizing this helpful tool fully? Here are five ways to use video to your advantage.

1. Build up confidence

I often talk about the importance of habits. If you want to reap continued benefits from your videos, make it a habit to watch a great round, training session or jump every morning. This works wonders for your confidence as you remind yourself every day of the times that did go well and that you CAN do it!

2. Reminder before the show

Whenever you’re at a show, make sure to take the time to watch a great round on video as well. This helps you get in your zone and feel confident before you get on the horse and into the ring. Combine this with some upbeat music and a confident body posture for a bigger impact.

3. Learn from the feedback

After each round, show or training session, use video to help you reflect on your riding. Use the following three questions to help guide your analysis while watching your video.

What went well? Don’t take things for granted! Point out those aspects you couldn’t do a year ago.

What could have been better? Without using negative language, take a moment to reflect on what you can still improve and work on. Side note – let go of things that just happen once or not within your control. You wont learn much from over analyzing.

How am I going to improve this? Once you found the things you can improve in step two, you can now make a plan to take action to improve this skill. If you don’t know how, ask your trainer, mental coach or ask successful riders at the show.

Here’s a reading list to get you started on the path to boosting your mental game.

4. Learn from your own mistakes

I don’t think it’s helpful to watch your “bad” competition rounds too often, in fact I recommend you use the step above to learn from it what you can and then delete it. In training however, you can utilize video footage to learn from the mistakes you make at home. In case you don’t have a trainer helping you regularly, I suggest you find a way to video yourself riding at home. Afterwards you can analyze your training and find out when you fall back into old or unhelpful habits. Observe your body posture and make a list of all the things you want to work on. Then, pick one thing to work on for a week, and then video yourself again to see if you improved and by how much.

5. Learn from the best

Another way to use video to your advantage is to not only to re-watch your own riding, but to also learn from others. Tape broadcasts of competitions on TV or live streams and re-watch riders you admire regularly. It’s a great way to learn from their experience as well as their mistakes.

Read this next: 5 Ways To Become a Better Rider From Your Couch

Feature photo by Tori Repole.

Written by Annette Paterakis

Annette Paterakis - The Equestrian Mental Coach - specializes in mental coaching for riders of all levels. She is passionate about working with riders and trainers to help them better understand the mind and reach peak performance. Annette is the author of the book "Keep Calm and Enjoy The Ride", available through Amazon.com. For more information give her website a gander: annettepaterakis.com