First Agility Seminar Success

Courtney Keys teaching memory skills

Courtney Keys – Don’t Get Lost

That’s My Super Dog hosted our first seminar taught by Courtney Keys. Don’t Get Lost – Find Your Way on Course was a wonderful subject for our first. The idea was initially generated by a Facebook discussion on why people write on their maps. Since I have a pretty thorough process of writing on the course map and Courtney sees it as only barely useful, it was interesting to get each other’s perspective on the subject. Thus the idea of holding a workshop to aid those (including ME) that struggle to remember the course was born.

Something Courtney shared with us from Kathy Keats book Never Forget! The Ultimate Program For Memorizing Agility Courses“You must constantly put yourself out of your comfort zone and into the ‘learning’ zone because your brain is actively engaged and learning all the time, instead of just rote repetition.”  Kathy Keats

This quote set us all up for the out-of-comfort-zone drills we were about to run! After a brief discussion session we then went right to work.

Challenging Drills

We had 4 teams to participate in the late afternoon. Courtney and I had already prepared the first course but setting it up didn’t really give me an advantage. I still had to work hard to recall where I was supposed to go!

Several more drills were set up that require remembering the course and changing path on the fly. The goal was to work through the challenge without stopping and correcting anything. That in itself is a challenge!

Thankfully she provided a printout for everyone so that we can continue to review and practice the drills at home along with the additional information that was covered.

I found the “Split Tail Drill” to be the most fun. It’s where you memorize the course with two different endings. She called out which one you were supposed to take, as you were coming up to it, you had to divert to the proper course.

Then the Triple Threat Drill and Quad Drill really challenged us to think while in action. (Drill plans by Stuart Mah)

Gretta and Rocky working hard

Gretta and Rocky working hard

I thought it was interesting that with the quick pace and impromptu planning for the runs, I ended up just dropping the map altogether. I’m not sure I will do that at an agility trial, but it makes me wonder if it isn’t just a crutch for my nervous energy. Courtney did say that if it helps me (or anyone for that matter) there’s no reason why I shouldn’t do that, but just showed us some extra tools for helping to remember the course.

Everyone worked very hard and did very well at stepping up to the challenges.  I found Courtney to be a very encouraging and skilled teacher. I look forward to hosting this workshop again!

Plus I’ve got some ideas sparking for some other subjects. Be sure to let me know if you have something you want reviewed.

Till next time, get out there and challenge yourself!