Develop a Winning Roping Attitude

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Some people's attitudes are so negative that it's a wonder they ever win anything. They're defeated before they ever back in the box. Everyone needs to learn to be a positive thinker, because if you have a negative attitude you're accepting defeat before you ever nod your head. You've basically talked yourself out of believing you have a chance, whether it's because you didn't draw the kind of steer you wanted or don't like the arena conditions, length of the score or whatever.

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It's so easy to learn the bad habit of thinking negatively, but that is so counterproductive. Your mind can be your worst enemy. You have to train your mind not to accept the negative thoughts that constantly jump into your head.

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I'm no different than anyone else. I have to deal with this on a daily basis. Our minds are trained to think negatively, and assume the worst. Someone didn't show up to practice on time because they got in a wreck, or whatever. It's more likely that there's a simple explanation that might even involve something good happening to that person.

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Most people expect to win, or they wouldn't enter. So why, when it's time to rope, do their minds start playing tricks on them and telling them they're going to break the barrier or wave it off? I missed the last high teamer, I wonder if I'm going to do it again? If you listen to that guy in your head you'll do what he's been telling you. If you do that he'll tell you, "I told you so" or "you're a loser."

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It amazes me that people who always listen to that little guy in their head keep roping. How frustrating to feel like you're going to lose before you rope.

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Nerves and pressure come from within. You create those things yourself by dwelling on negative thoughts. You need to constantly train and renew your mind.

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We all know natural winners, who win more than their talent would make you expect. They've mastered this aspect of the game, and believe they can do it. They want everyone to call them lucky, and aren't worried about any deficiencies they may have.

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It becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy. I used to hear people say it about Clay and I all the time..."Who won it?" one person would ask. "Who do you think won it?" the other would answer. We won so much that we were everyone's first guess. Speed (Williams) and Rich (Skelton) have that going for them now. Everybody expects them to win. That's the greatest feeling in the world.

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You can practice being a positive thinker. When a thought comes into your head you need to learn to train yourself to make it positive. If a negative thought comes into your head, remove it. Don't dwell on it or give it the time of day. Immediately turn that thought around into something positive.

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If the thought pops into your head that you're probably going to wave it off the horns or miss the feet, think to yourself-or say out loud-"I'm going to get the greatest curl,"or, "I'm going to hammer two feet."

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A lot of times your mind holds you back from your capabilities because of fear. I've made some of the best runs of my life on the worst steers, because I threw caution to the win. I didn't expect to win on the worst one, but took a Hail Mary shot and it worked.

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I'm not saying you need to be cocky or arrogant. There's a difference between self-confidence and spouting off. Don't take this positive attitude thing to such a far extreme that you think you're better than everyone else. You don't need to sacrifice being a good person to be a good roper.

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I can hardly stand to be around someone with a negative attitude. If I don't get the preference I ask PROCOM (the PRCA's central-entry office) for I don't let it get to me. If I don't get it, it just wasn't my turn. I'm not going to let it wreck my day or chances of winning.I think I'm getting better at fighting off the negative thoughts that run through everyone's minds, because I've practiced it and really worked at it. I also realize that when something does go wrong it didn't happen because my mind told me it was going to. Things just happen sometimes.