Instructor: Andrea Harrison
Do you overthink your training, have ring nerves, experience anxiety around training or competing, or feel excessive stress about training? Are you curious to understand the impact your brain has on training and showing? If you aren't happy with your commitment to training, or if you go home after a show feeling unhappy about yourself or your dog, then this course will help you get your head in your game.
This course will let you become a better trainer/competitor by focusing on your mental game. Gold spots will be highly individualized to people's personal profiles and completion of homework. We will consider you as an individual and use your distinct personality type to best advantage as a trainer and competitor!
Some of the specific topics covered in this class include:
- Identifying your personality and learning style
- Planning for Success
- Training for Success
- Understanding the Brain
- Memory and its role in success
- Finding Focus in the face of distraction and crisis
- Training for failure
- Identifying concerns
- Creating your Plan
- Testing Your Plan
- Doing your Plan
- Coping techniques
- Making the most of what you have
Join us in this important and illuminating class, and find your way to more enjoyment in the world of dog sports!
There are no scheduled sessions for this class at this time. We update our schedule frequently, so please subscribe to our mailing list for notifications.
Registration will begin at 9:00 AM Pacific Time.
For answers to commonly asked questions see our FAQ page.
Enrollment limits: Gold: 12 students, Silver: 5 students, Bronze: unlimited.
Silver level for this class is offered as "Working Silver". In addition to asking GENERAL clarification questions about the class lecture materials, silver students will now have the opportunity to submit two short videos, one minute each, for critique and review. You may submit two questions. Each question MUST have a one minute video attached so the instructor can actually answer a question that they can see. The question must relate to a topic in the class and the video must be a demo of the question. Please see the discussion forum for a detailed explanation - feel free to sign up at bronze, read the explanation, and then come back here to upgrade to silver if that interests you, and if space is available.
If you are interested in a bronze level subscription, you can sign up at any time during the registration period.
Identifying Your Style: Who Are You?
Personality inventories - temperament testing – Myer Briggs, True Colors/Personality Dimensions
Introversion and Extroversion – and why they matter
Setting Personal Goals for This Course
Learning Styles – and what affects them
Brain Research as it impacts learning specifically
It’s a Mighty Important Organ
Brain Research – delving into the mind
Memory and its role in success
Coping strategies that affect the brain
Filling your toolbox
Some specific calming/coping techniques
What they are, why they work, and when and why they don’t work
Finding Focus in the Face of Distraction and Crisis
Using Tension to your advantage
More specific strategies to help you
Creating your Plan
Dealing with "those" people
Overcoming the monsters in your head
Holding to Your Plan in the face of challenges and adversity
Making the Most of What you have
A willingness to learn some perhaps not easy truths about yourself - and a desire to improve your mental game. The class is kind and gentle - you will likely be harder on yourself than I could ever be!
This lecture is adapted from an article I wrote. The "(lecture)" indicates that there is a lecture in the course that delves more specifically into explaining and/or developing tools to address the nervousness identified.
POSTED IN FE190 LECTURES
Let's consider how your nerves might be affecting you. There is quite a range of possibility. You may have all or none of these indicators when doing training and trialling but will likely feel some affinity for at least one or two indications in some context of your life. While strategies may help broadly I have grouped them into the type of nerves they may most help overcome, or at least hold at bay!
One of the first things you can do is to identify the source of your nerves – how few words can you reduce a statement about your nerves to? What causes you to be nervous? What do your nerves feel like to you? This distillation will give you something specific to work on rather than simply worrying about being nervous.Many many people simply know they are nervous they do not know why or where nerves impact them the most. Figuring this out can be a valuable step in problem solving. As with so much in dog training breaking it down into tiny little pieces can really make a difference to improving the issue.
Physical signs of nerves may include sweaty palms, racing heart, dry mouth, feeling dizzy or sick to your stomach, wanting to eat everything in sight or losing all appetite.
Eating – there have been some studies shown that the action of chewing and the flavour of peppermint both have calming effects on the body. Use Science!! (lecture)
Breathing – an easy and quick breathing exercise is to breathe in for the count of four and out for the count of five. Repeat. Any grounding breathing you are familiar with may be useful to rehearse here too. (lecture)
Practice Good Self Care – eating, sleep, hygiene, positive thinking are all examples of elements of positive self care.(umm whole course? many lectures)
Emotional indicators may include being on the edge of tears, more forgetful than usual, being disorganized or falling into negative spirals of thought.
The fine art of visualizing – capture the good that happens a moment, a search, a piece of praise from someone and create a mental snapshot or video you can pull out and look at when nerves threaten to erupt. (lecture)
Confidence Corner – create a book, poster, bulletin board, shoe box whatever works for you of things that boost your morale and confidence. Photos, quotes, memories – you know what makes you feel better so use it to benefit yourself. (lecture - called Inspiration board in there)
Move to the Music – create a playlist that will inspire you, or make you happy or remind you of good times. Use your list(s) when you train or when you do things you enjoy so that you can associate the songs more and more with good feelings. Then use it on trial days. Driving to the event, at the event and as a boost on your way home are all times to consider music. (lecture already posted)
Finding Joy/Fun/Gratitude – it is always appropriate to stop and appreciate what is right and working in your world – no matter if it’s connected to scent work or not. Write it down, say it out loud or mull it over ... challenge yourself to find pleasure in little things – then when nerves threaten to overwhelm you will have STOP, be grateful well practiced. (you likely have seen me on this either in the alumni group between courses or in my workbook)
Record Keep – and check your records when you need a confidence boost.(This is covered in this class but also more explicitly in both No More Excuses and Handle This)
Social aspects of nerves may include a strong desire to be with and engaged with people (especially if you tend to extraversion) or an equally strong desire to hide in your car or vehicle (more likely for those with introverted tendencies). You may also be less patient and angrier or more distressed than normal, and quicker to blame others, including your animal partner.
Fake it until you make it – you are nervous and don’t want to be? Plaster a smile on your face and up your helpful thoughtful side. Be present in the moment and push your nerves back. If they drift up to the forefront of your brain push them back again, and again, and again until you have the habit of locking them away well under wraps. This method is not effective for everyone in part because it’s hard work. It requires much practice before you are at threshold or beyond it. (I highly recommend testing and becoming familiar with what methods work for you when you are only slightly nervous – not in the middle of a full blown anxiety attack!)
Find your Focus – thinking about your nerves can create a tail spin of negative energy – but thinking about the goals and plans you have established for your partnership can ground you and help you keep moving forwards. Planning and goal setting have a place in any work plan. (embedded through course)
Use your support group - love them, cherish them and talk to them about what worries you and brainstorm solutions with them. A journal can be a fine support group of one for one too!
Overall, no matter which of these strategies have resonance for you, it’s important to challenge your nervous thoughts directly, thoughts are guests in your body they are not you! You are not nervous, but rather you feel nervous ... truly I mean this – the sooner you can accept and understand this the less nerves will run you. Accept that you have nervous thoughts and will likely have flare ups of nerves in new or stressful situations – funnily enough that will actually help reduce the impact of the nerves on you. Reframe your nerves (nerves truly affect people who care and want to be successful – and how can wanting to be good at something be a bad thing?) and train your brain to think positively. It will help moderate the nerves you feel.
Homework: How do your nerves affect you? Where do you feel nerves? What strategies have you tried to address them? Which worked for you? Which didn't? What can you try going forward?
A SAMPLING OF WHAT PRIOR STUDENTS HAVE SAID ABOUT THIS COURSE ...
Andrea Harrison teaches are very thoughtful and thought provoking course. A variety of tools to improve my relationship with my dogs in the ring and manage my stress in performance.
I loved this course! So often we get very caught up with fixing our dog's training issues that we forget to work on our short-comings. The tools developed in this course are helping me be a more relaxed and focused partner for my dog. I also found this course to be a very nice change of pace and an opportunity to reflect on training, life and develop a great "toolbox" to deal with the stressfull aspects of both.
I took this course in the hopes of finding a cause for my lack of motivation towards training. Through the course I not only found the reason, but I also came away with so many helpful tools that I am using in everyday life. I know I will revisit the material often. One of my all time favorite courses and I can't wait to take her October class. Wendy G.
I am indebted to Andrea for her insight and thoughtful assistance. The course helped me to work through some of my issues connected to competing in agility and obedience. I have much more confidence in my abilities to handle those issues so that I can focus on my dog and our relationship. Sharon F
I am a Fenzi addict. The list of courses I want to take and retake is long and getting longer with every great course idea and instructor Denise introduces. That said, "It's All In Your Head" has provided the largest positive impact to my dog training and trialing to date. Andrea is fantastic and the materials resonate. I have already recommended it to several Fenzi friends. Looking forward to "Handle This" Diana S.
All in Your Head has been a great class to help me deal with my performance ring anxiety. I've been able to fill my toolbox with lots of shiny, new tools that will help me in any endeavor with my dog. Andrea is insightful, encouraging, and is great at creating a safe environment for playing with new ideas. --Sarah F.
Andrea is fantastic caring and in this course makes you feel comfortable enough to open up and share with others things you may not normally talk about.
At risk of sounding like a FanGirl - I am so thankful for Andrea. Her heart is so big and her empathy apparently endless for all her students. She is truly a good soul that I am so happy to have met on this journey.