Basic agility skills might not be enough to get you to the top: mental factors also have a great impact in agility.
Agility is a very goal-oriented sport with persistent competition at all levels. Every handler can learn to use mental preparation and competitive skills to their benefit and enjoy their hobby in all of its levels. For active competitors, acquiring these skills and using them actively is an important factor of success.
Vappu Alatalo is a specialist in sport psychology. She has been working closely with several successful agility competitors, including some of the OneMind Dogs Coaches. Vappu has also written several articles about mental training for OneMind Dogs:
- What’s So Mental in Agility?
- Objectives - Magic!
- Handling Your Ring Nerves
- The Importance of Confidence in Competitive Agility
- Programmed Being - Get Your Head Straight For Every Run
- Mental Toughness - Fact Or Fiction?
Vappu is also behind the unique Case Janita –article series which presents the process of mental preparation, seen through the eyes of both the mental coach and the athlete. The series of five articles is a very personal story of Janita Leinonen’s journey:
- Case Janita - How the Mental Coaching Process Works?
- Case Janita - The First Meeting
- Case Janita - The Second Meeting
- Case Janita - The Third Meeting
- Case Janita - The Fourth Meeting
Vappu is a certified psychologist who has been working since 2000 with agility handlers aiming to and competing on the top level. In addition to her expertise in sport psychology, she knows agility and dog sports well: Vappu started her own agility career 1993 and has since trained and competed with 8 dogs in Finland, USA and Denmark. While living in the US she spent her time learning from Susan Salo and Susan Garrett. After returning to Scandinavia in 2007 Vappu started her own training company, Nuppijumppa, and has since been working full time with Sport Psychology Coaching, teaching Susan Salo Jumping Technique and Motivating Skills for dog handlers in Finland, Sweden and Norway. Vappu works fluently in Finnish, English and Swedish. She is passionate about both the dogs and their handlers, equally, getting the training they need to perform well in agility.