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Written by: C.J. Aragon< Back to Articles
article by C.J. Aragon,
2010 NIRA Coach-of-the-Year, Odessa College Rodeo Coach
As a coach one of the first lessons I learned is how many rodeo contestants approach competition. Many young rodeo contestants have a difficult time at rodeos because they are concerned with what others are doing. They watch the rodeo and worry about being fast enough to beat someone, or ride better than someone.
Rodeo is indirect competition. Indirect competition means your only competition is yourself.
It is not like football or basketball where you line up across from your opponent. In these sports you are in direct competition with your opponent. If you are better physically and mentally prepared you should beat them, likewise if they are better physically and mentally prepared they should beat you. This is direct competition. Your performance does directly impact your opponent’s performance, and their actions will directly affect your performance.
In rodeo, your performance stands alone. No one scores for you in the timed events. No one else marks them out in the rough stock events. The spotlight is yours.
Your fellow contestants cannot physically dictate your performance. Just like you cannot dictate their performance. I understand that in rodeo there is the variable of the livestock draw, but everyone entered has to deal with the draw. Somedays it will be in your favor, other days the draw works against you.
Being indirect competition the only person that can beat you is yourself. It breaks down to be that simple. The fewer mistakes you make the better you will do. The more mistakes you make the more you will beat yourself. Indirect competition is a simple concept.
If you do your job, and do the best physically and mentally in the practice pen and competition, you have done your part. If you are worried about beating others, you usually just end up beating yourself. Some of the best contestants I have watched on every level from PRCA to junior rodeos do a great job of making rodeo indirect competition. They do the best with what they have drawn each time they nod their head. They come to the rodeo mentally and physically prepared to compete, their performance is not dictated by others.
Some students learn this lesson early on and it shows when they reach higher levels of competition. When you are entered in a rodeo and you are taking care of your business, doing your job there is a lot less anxiety and nervousness before you compete. When you watch contestants who do this well their performance at the rodeo looks just like their performance in the practice pen.
To excel in indirect competition, practice like you compete and compete like you practice. To excel in rodeo, practice like you compete and compete like you practice.
C.J. Aragon was named the 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011 Grand Canyon Region Coach-of-the-Year. 2014, 2015 WJCAC Coach-of-the-Year and 2010 National Intercollegiate Rodeo Association Coach-of-the-Year.