with Allen Bach
I have to clear something up. There is nothing complicated or hard about the way Rich Skelton, Patrick Smith, Clay O’Brien Cooper or I heel steers. You tend to think because we’re so advanced, we must be using advanced techniques. In fact, what we do is the simplest way to heel steers (we just rarely make mistakes).
How do you practice? What’s been most valuable to me is taking a lot of shots in a short amount of time, kind of like shooting free throws where you grab a ball, shoot; get another and just keep shooting. I don’t mean brainlessly practice, but once you isolate a certain “shot” – or problem in your roping – then just work on that one thing.
Do you have a particular mindset or temperament about your roping? I promise that certain thoughts can really hurt your performance.
Ever heard a guy say that he never ropes well with his wife? Or a father say that he ropes worse for his son than anybody? The potential negative mindsets you can adopt are endless. Here are some more: I never rope well at this arena; I can’t catch steers that go to the right fence; this box is hard for me to leave clean; I can’t catch draggers; my number’s too high... Should I go on?
A lot of us have roped all our lives and still take for granted all the tiny things that need to happen as we’re riding around warming up to compete.
For instance, if I’m mentally preparing myself for a rodeo run, the first thing I do is find out about the cattle. You need to know more than just whether they’re big or little – you can see that for yourself.