Harnessing the Power of Music

August 13, 2013 at 4:28 am Leave a comment

I recently heard some comments about the number of people that walk courses wearing headphones and listening to music.
I admit to routinely being one of these people, although it is definitely NOT because I want to be left alone or not have people ask me questions.

Instead, I use music to help me adjust my mood and mindset to the dog that I am running. For me, my music is carefully selected because of the feelings that it produces.

Do I need to feel hyped up to run as fast as I can?
Do I need to feel powerful?
Do I need to calm myself and focus?

Getting yourself into the correct headspace is absolutely essential to performing at your best. I don’t just mean at competitions either. I often take the time to get myself in the “right mood” for training. Mostly because if I’m not, Dice will usually decide she’d rather sleep on the couch than go outside to play agility. I have to be pretty hyped up to convince her that it’s worthwhile to come out and play.

In fact, two weeks before we left to compete at the 2010 FCI World Championships, due to some bad attitude on my part Dice decided that agility was evil and she didn’t want to do it anymore. I’d head outside and she would bark and jump at me until she realized we were going to the agility field…then she’d run back to the house! I was in tears wondering what I possibly could have done to upset my sweet little girl so much. The more she would refuse, the more stressed I became. Then I was getting home from work one day, and a song came on that is played at the world championships every year. I started to get the same excited, pumped up feeling that I get when I compete at that level. So I held onto that feeling and pictured the crowds of people cheering, the electric energy in the building, and before I could get out of that headspace I grabbed Dice and headed out to the agility field. Guess what? She was fast, driven and didn’t show any signs of the stress I had been struggling with! As some of you know, that was the year that she won the gold medal at the FCI World Championships.
So what did that experience teach me? Music is a very powerful mood changing tool. And mood is very importance to performance.

To demonstrate what I mean, take a look at this video of Heist and Hijack running in the woods this morning.

How does the different music make you feel? Does it change the feeling of what you’re seeing?

So next time you’re gearing up for a big competition or find that you’re not really in the mood to train, try busting out the tunes!

Happy Training!

Jess Martin

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