I love my little caravan. As many of you know, this is where I go to when I’m writing, and where I film occasional videos with training tips for you. I have an electric kettle too, but there’s something about my singing kettle that brings back memories from childhood camping trips. I love the old-fashioned singing kettle, but I really hate the sound of the whistle it makes, so I try to catch it just as it’s about to get into full flight, ha!
It’s fine when it starts to boil, but the longer it goes on, the more high-pitched and shrill its ‘singing’ becomes!
I wanted to write about the Mind to Win show last weekend- not to brag about my phenomenal folks who really did brilliantly, but to note another phenomenon. This one is particularly observable in agility, because it is a give-away in the verbals people use.
It is actually a symptom, rather than a cause, so this is only a smidgen of what I really want to say on this topic!! Whether you are an agility competitor or not, please read on and see how this might be applicable to you, even if you’re not giving yourself away like the agility ‘singing kettles’ are!
I call it the ‘singing kettle’…
The Singing Kettles of Agility
Someone starts out on a course and their voice is a reasonably normal tone…
it might be a bit nervy sounding,
but it’s at a pitch that humans can hear…
as they’re going round, they have no faults…
and as they keep going, with each obstacle, their voice gets higher
… until by the end,
they’re all but squealing like my kettle!!
Why is this significant?
Well it points to a couple of things:
1. Unhelpful Nerves– which are clearly being communicated in multiple forms, straight to the dog…
2. An outcome or even a clear round focus– they are not focused on the job they have to do, their ‘singing’ is a ‘tell’ that their mind is on the potential outcome, rather than the job at hand.
3. Me, me, me– all the while the person is focused on that piece of ribbon and cardboard that they might possible get (or the Q, points, etc.), they are neglecting the fact that they are part of a team, with a living creature who frankly doesn’t give a monkey’s about the ribbon! No matter how big it is!
I’m a singing kettle! What do I do?!
If you recognise yourself in this, don’t worry and please don’t feel bad. It’s really common and easily tweak-able. You can simmer down.
1. Be aware of what you actually do– video yourself! Video training and competition, see what you do differently. Even if you think you’re not a singing kettle, video and check! Some ‘kettles’ sing at specific points on course… such as contacts or weaves, so watch out for those too.
2. When you walk a course, put in a mental post-it note to intentionally lower your tone.
3. Learn strategies to build your confidence so you can step up and give your dog the handling they need- which absolutely includes not freaking them out with your nerves!!! Your next chance to do this with me in a group of dog sport competitors from all over the world is here: Mental Mastery
4. Focus on what your dog needs from you, right up until you have finished, rewarded them and left the ring! This includes making sure you walk the entire course! Just because the end of the course appears to be 3 jumps in a straight line, don’t take them for granted- practice, rehearse, visualise what you’re going to do to finish at your best and get the most out of the course that you can!
What’s your next step?
There is NO point in just accumulating knowledge- you’ve read this far, now what are you going to do about it? What do you need to tweak?
* If you need more skills, get into class now! Get to work if you know you could improve your mindset skills (and let’s face it, who of us couldn’t?) What are you waiting for??
* Maybe you need to start videoing yourself so you have an up to date view of your partnership and what part you play in that.
* Perhaps you know a ‘singing kettle’ who needs to read this. Please share this with them.
There is NO shame in recognising you haven’t got it all sorted- we’re all human, we all need help and we’re all guaranteed to get things wrong from time to time. It’s part of being human, so that’s not the problem. The problem is when we deny or refuse help to improve.
ANYONE can change, it’s more a choice of whether we WANT to badly enough.
I am rooting for you, I’m here to help you, please let me know how I can.
Here’s that link to snap up your place in our Mental Mastery Community!