A Little Encouragement

by C.J. Aragon

Continued from the August 1 issue on the five things rodeo contestants want their parents to know…

3. Slumps happen! Slumps are the worst! When nothing will fall your way, it seems like the world is ending. The best thing about slumps is that they only last forever if you quit. Parents, keep entering them. Keep going to the practice pen. Keep letting them know this is a temporary thing and try to take off all the pressure on these kids that you possibly can because they are putting more than enough pressure on themselves. Step back and support them through it.
4. Rodeo is HARD! When you mix kids that aren’t even old enough to drive with thousand pound animals moving fast enough to get you a speeding ticket in a school zone, things can get hairy. Once you enter the arena or nod your head, things happen quick! If you are a parent that has never entered a rodeo event, it’s difficult to describe what your kid is experiencing. Horses and stock don’t always cooperate. Plus there are other kids there that work just as hard on just as nice of horses trying to achieve the same thing. Competition in rodeo is TOUGH these days. Be reasonable with your expectations of how your kid should perform each rodeo. They have off days just like we do, especially around those teenage (aka hormones stole my kid) years.

5. They wish you wouldn’t compare them to other kids. Every kid’s journey is different and each kid will face different obstacles along the way. You might not see some of these obstacles because many times these obstacles are mental. Mind Gym is a fantastic book that can really help your kids with the mental aspect of all sports. I highly recommend all kids read this book or listen to it on those long road trips! Some kids are not natural athletes and they will have to work 10x harder than other kids. In these kids, acknowledging their hard work and encouraging them for one more tenth of a second faster time will get more out of them than expecting them to perform out of their level of ability. You can’t expect Michael Phelps to compete with Usain Bolt and vise versa. We all have our own talents and abilities. Making comparisons between your kid and others makes them feel like you wish the other kid was your kid or you are more proud of one kid than the other and it can be very damaging to your relationship.
This is just my take on things from the points of view I have been lucky enough to see. Many hours in a trailer and late night drives have been a great way to connect with these kids and hear about what they experience and need from us. We are all going to fail at this from time to time but I’m going to attempt to be a good rodeo parent for my little cowboy and enjoy this ride for the short time it’s going to last.

C.J. Aragon was named the 2008-2011 Grand Canyon Region Coach-of-the-Year. 2014-2015 WJCAC Coach-of-the-Year, 2016 Southwest Region Coach-of-the-Year, and 2010 National Intercollegiate Rodeo Association Coach-of-the-Year.




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