There is nothing like AKC International Team Tryouts.
I have been twice, and I can’t emphasize enough how this competition is like no other.
My first year at ITT I was a bundle of nerves. I was surrounded by peers and mentors. Amazing dogs and amazing trainers. The thought that my dog and I were going to compete with such wonderful teams had me so excited and so stressed. Part of the challenge to agility is the ability to take competition nerves and turn them into something you can use. Well, that first year at ITT, I failed in harnessing my nerves.
I knew that my ability, and my dog’s ability, to compete alongside these wonderful competitors was not what was lacking in 2014, but rather my ability to handle myself mentally.
Here is a highlight video of my runs from the AKC International Team Tryouts in 2014:
This year, my goal was to go back improved physically and mentally. I wanted to show the coaches that I have drive, ambition, and work ethic. I wanted to prove to them and myself that I am only going to get better.
In order to improve myself (and my dog) physically, I spent the year working on strength training and cardio (mostly for me…my dog, Gumby, is in excellent physical condition), by running in the morning and doing various leg and core strengthening exercises in my own home.
I also spent the year working with my coach, Jubie of Club-Doggie (Coach Mom, for me), on jumping exercises for my dog, skill sets, and international-style courses and handling.
I am proud to say…we improved!
I was one of only 19 dog/handler teams in my height class to run all four rounds without an elimination. We still had a few faults (dropped bars), but even still, my ranking was so much higher this year, that I was only 3 spots off someone who was selected for the Team! I am so incredibly proud of the progress I made in a year, and I am looking forward to attending the next ITT event, once again, improved.
Here is a highlight video of my runs from the AKC International Team Tryouts in 2015:
One more thing that made this year’s ITT event unforgettable: my student, Jeff, was selected to be a Team member and travel to Germany with his dog, Lexi. It is an incredible feeling watching someone who has spent so much time and effort training reach such amazing heights.
Do you have any events that make a big impact on your goals?