Psychology of Sport

Reflect and Learn – Making 2018 Your Best Riding Year Ever

“You don’t learn from experience… You learn from reflecting on experience.”

When was the last time you slowed down enough to think about what you accomplished in the previous year, how you did, what might need to be changed for next year or thought about defining moments in the year?

With the 2017 show season behind you and the 2018 show season germinating, this is a perfect time to reflect on your 2017 experience and how you might use that experience to make 2018 a more satisfying and enjoyable one.

Reflecting on your riding year showcases self-awareness and lays the foundation for perpetual confidence. While some think that the learning is captured in the experience, it is truly captured in reflecting on the experience and taking action on how you will use that experience to make improvements moving forward.

In our work with athletes at all levels, including our equestrian clients, reflection is built into their performance plans. And, a major self-awareness exercise we do involves setting aside time at the end of the year to take away the defining lessons—and leverage that invaluable experience for improvement in the coming year.

I encourage you to not let this opportunity go by. Reflecting on your experiences in 2017 can set the stage for you in 2018—helping you to know what to work on, what fuels your enjoyment as an equestrian, and what traps you may have fallen into that you won’t repeat in 2018.

So, let’s start!

Here are few questions that will get the ball rolling for you and help you use your experience in 2017 to make 2018 a great year in the ring. Don’t forget to write the questions and your answers down, and tuck them away, so this exercise can be a part of your year-ending routine in 2018 and beyond.

  1. If I could change one thing in my riding that happened in 2017, what would it be?
  2. What are the three most important things I learned in my riding this year?
  3. What is the one obstacle or challenge I overcame this year in my riding?
  4. What is the #1 thing I need to work on to become a better rider in 2018?
  5. What is the #1 thing my partner needs to work on for us to be more consistent in the ring in 2018?
  6. What is the #1 thing I need to do in 2018 to get more enjoyment from my riding?
  7. Am I satisfied with my coach, my partner, my barn? If not, what am I going to do about it going into 2018?
  8. What am I most grateful for in my riding in 2017?

That should get you started on your way to looking back on a year of riding, and using your reflections to energize yourself and help craft some change for the year ahead.

It is our experience that a well thought out, decisive 10% change in key areas is usually enough to significantly improve both performance and enjoyment for the year ahead.

What is the most important thing for you to have your most fulfilling year ever in 2018?

Happy Holidays to all!


About the Author

John Haime is President of New Edge Performance. A former professional athlete and current bestselling author of You are a Contender! Build Emotional Muscle to Perform Better and Achieve Morein business, sports and life, John understands how athletes think and feel…he’s been there—under the most intense pressures of amateur and professional sports. John coaches athletes in all sports and is trusted by some of the world’s leading athletes—professional and elite amateur. See www.johnhaime.com to learn more.