Wednesday, July 20, 2011

The process, the negative parts and the results

I will be very honest with you, oh wait... I am ALWAYS too honest..  I was fast-tracked into being a trainer/coach... in the late 90's agility just started taking off and I joined the biggest 'agility club' at that stage... it was situated 55km from our house, but oh my, I made my poor (AWESOME) mother drive there every single training day, even three days after I had the first op to have the tumours removed from my wrist... I was there cast on my arm and bandaging on my hip (where they removed the bone for the bone replacement) and all hopped up on painkillers.  After less than a year of me doing agility, with random pet dogs... as a 13-year-old... I got promoted to the position of trainer.  I will always regret the bad advice and STUPID views that I had to share at that stage, but the results I saw from various methods of training and situations provided me with invaluable experience... Sigh at the expense of my students...

In the late 90's I qualified for my first national championship.  This event turned my life, because of support I got unexpectedly from OTHER clubs in my province.  After returning from this event I joined another club which caused drama that would scare the best soapie writer.  All of the drama aside, the years that were to follow taught me the most important aspects of agility.  Now I have never listed these aspects to myself, but here are some of the most important things.

1.  You can learn something from 99.9% agility handlers and/or dogs, beginners or advanced.  If you listen or look carefully enough, there is a lesson.
2.  Do the research.  If you are going to learn anything or defend your view, make sure you have all past and present research and build on it.
3.  Commit and follow through (be consistent).  Once you start applying a method, the only way to prove it right or wrong is to fully commit to it.  To prove or disprove a method you have to go through the good and the bad and have all the information.
4.  Be creative.  All dogs and handlers and all dog/handler combinations differ, so each solution to a problem will be unique.

Okay,so those are just a few aspects of agility training, Alett's way, but I want to get to the real point of the post...

I was asked for some advice, indirectly, but the handlers involved were absolutely AWESOME and gave me feedback about the whole situation.  And it was good feedback.  Now first of all, this was just me chatting casually to a friend, it had no part of my official training (where I EXPECT results)... secondly I couldn't care WHO'S advice helped, but I am a super sucker for agility success...

So after a few short days, my random thoughts seemed to have helped.  But this brings me to another point of teaching, coaching and agility in general.  Said handler is sol happy with the results, BUT the big test will come when the bad days come.  In every training method, in every dog, in every handler and just in agility, the bad days come.  The frustration, the wanting to smash things, the failures and the downright NEED to just give up.  If a trainer/handler/teacher/PERSON can work through this, you KNOW they are going to succeed, regardless of whether the specific details they are dealing with resolves the issue.  It is the follow-through that determines the success.

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