Unforced Errors - Slow and Steady Wins the Race
I grew up in a volleyball gym from the time I was a week old on. I was placed in the corner, protected by my crib/playpen. And so, quite expectedly I grew up playing volleyball. I went to Nationals twice. I played on varsity all four years of high school. And one thing that some coaches stressed to me is that if you control your unforced errors, you can win. You're not always flashy, you don't always have the hardest hits, but you're consistent and you can win. And so for volleyball, that meant serving over the net. On game point hitting in the court - things that you could control, playing smart.
Not every coach I had was like that. A lot of my coaches wanted us to serve hard. And if we missed serves that was okay. But it also meant we gave away a lot of points. I played soccer at a less competitive level but still competitive. Penalty kicks, corner kicks, goal kicks, things that were set, and we could control, we needed to control. We couldn't mess those up because they were an opportunity for us to succeed.
I spent a weekend at a UKC agility trial. It was a small venue, but there were a lot of people I see at other agility venues in attendance. It wasn't all green people. And I watched a whole lot of dogs run beautifully that also dropped bars 2, 3, 4 bars. And, hh, they were fast, and, oh it was a flashy run, but they didn't qualify because they dropped bars. So then a lovely standard Poodle went into the ring. They were slow but it was such a lovely clean run moving steadily from one obstacle to the next. They sure ran the course slower than the Border Collie early that class, but they also qualified when the lab didn't.
In that trial Anubi went out and he was focused and he was looking for his obstacles, and he ran hard and fast and accurately. And that is the first time that's ever happened in agility. I've spent a lot of time working on getting him to be able to control himself, and focus on accuracy, rather than speed, because the speed will come, he has it. But if I had focused on speed first I think we still wouldn’t be qualifying in runs.