I got the chance to attend a clinic on sports psychology with Shannon Thompson this last Friday and Saturday. She’s trained in performance psychology and her approach is largely derived from the field of positive psychology. She works with people all the way from little old “me” all the way up to the Olympic runner she texted on a break. She was encouraging him before his 5K final to qualify for the Olympic team! You will never meet a nicer more genuine person than Shannon. She’s truly there for you. She is also an equestrian so she understands what is going on with us! Friday was a lecture and Saturday we rode and discussed ways to help us overcome things. (more on that day later)
I’m not sure what I expected to get out of this clinic. At my last lesson I had melted down over cantering a cavaletti so I was really hoping she could help but on the other hand it all seem a little out there and “fluffy” (her word, not mine)
When we got there Friday night the meeting room was locked so we met out on the lawn outside. It was probably actually nicer because there was a nice breeze blowing and it was the perfect temp.
She had a workbook for us and tons of real life stories. The first page in the workbook had a question I really struggled with (and was kind of eye opening)
“How do you describe yourself at your best?”
The point of the question was to get a description of yourself at your very best, including personal character strengths so that you could work towards being that way “more” or the time.
I found that I could describe myself at my worst….but struggled to describe myself at my best. Interesting.
The next page was some character strength exercises to get you thinking which helped with the last question a lot. You had to come up with stories about different “best moments”. We were supposed to fill it out and then give it to someone after and have them circle the character strengths on the next page. It was kind of neat to see what people took as our strengths from the stories we told.
The next few pages were Mindfulness Exercises. Most of those seemed fluffy to me frankly….But as the riding post will tell you, I was proved very wrong!
The last page contained a Mental Practice Plan template. We were told to bring it the next day and looking over it I think it might be something I’ll use in Dancer’s riding “journal”. Probably a little abbreviated. It has things like mental warm, mental riding and outcome goals (long term) as well as daily practice goals). There’s also a post ride section for what went well and actions for improvement which I realized I was sort of doing in my book…but mostly focusing on the negative….hmmmmmmmm
I learned so many things….More on the riding lesson later!