Trouble Shooting

Do you ever feel like a hamster in a wheel? Maybe spending hours in the practice pen and not seeing any results? It might be time to put your performance preparation under the microscope. Trouble shooting is a critical skill to learn to quickly and accurately pin point specific performance issues. There is a lot of truth in the old saying that “you can’t keep doing the same thing and expect a different result.”

When we want something really bad it can be hard to stop pushing and step back for a moment. However, if you are struggling with a chronic performance issue then you may be pushing in the wrong direction. Becoming adept at trouble shooting enables you to identify and correct specific mental, physical, or technical errors without losing your performance momentum.

Tips for trouble shooting your way to a better and more consistent performance:

·       Ask. This seems like a no brainer but many of us fail to tap into the resources around us. Ask your trainer, peers, friends and family what they think might be going wrong? Sometimes it’s easier to see from the outside.

·       Use a training journal. This is the quickest and most effective way to pick up on patterns of dysfunction in your preparation plan. Record everything and you have a wealth of information to learn more about your performance and yourself.

·       Break it down. Pull your performance apart using my comprehensive approach. Separate your preparation and performance into :Physical (health, injuries etc), Technical (sports specific skills), Mental (confidence, anxiety management, focus/concentration etc), and General (finances, relationships, work, substance use etc.) Breaking it down helps target specific problem areas. In each of the four components listed, write down any specific issues that may be effecting your performance. For example:

– Physical: Recent back pain makes riding uncomfortable.

– Technical: Missing cuts in the show pen

-Mental: Lack of confidence due to fear of injury/ aggravation of injury.

-General: Currently going through a divorce.

Breaking it down like this helps to see exactly what is going on and makes it easier to tackle one issue at a time without becoming overwhelmed. Next to each identified issue rate on a scale of 1-10 the level of impact you believe each specific issue is having on your overall performance. Next, list possible solutions to resolve each issue. Try using a table such as:






level of impact

0 – 10


Possible solutions

























Peak performance takes more than just pure grit. It takes strategy, planning, and often creative problem solving. Sometimes you have to play smarter and not just harder so get out your pen and get to work. You owe it to yourself.