Tuesday, 17 October 2017

A guest blog from ....

Hayley Telling (Agility Team GB member) shares her experience at this years FCI Agility World Championships in Liberec.

The 2017 FCI world championships in Czech Republic was my first experience at a world championships, however I was lucky that part of my preparation was competing at the European Open in Italy, July 2017. Qualifying for the final there allowed me to experience the excitement and pressure of competing at one of these events as well as seeing the technical skills and speed required in the international courses. 

My preparation for the FCI didn’t go completely as planned, with both myself getting awful flu and Teal getting a fracture in his carnassial tooth and needing it extracting in early September. However our prep leading up to this with the other members of the medium team had been focusing on specific skills set by the judges we were likely to see at FCI and so during our time off in September we were able to focus a lot on mental preparation, visualisation and proprioceptive skills which all proved invaluable.

The excitement building up to the event was like nothing I have experienced before, the training both away from the venue and at the venue went really well and I was able to feel very settled coming into the competition. 

One difference from a normal show which I found really exciting and enjoyable was how much analysis goes into each course before you even get to walk it! The team did a group warm up together which I found really enjoyable but also raised the excitement level to the point where I actually thought for the first time I might be sick before a run! Luckily I managed to get back into the zone before my run and that focus took all nerves away by the time I walked to the start line. My preparation meant that I felt that I had run in that event already in the past and I feel that our confidence running and performance reflected that. 

The event allowed me to see what my times are against the best in the world and therefore in reflection of this the improvements we need to make. I was happy with the skills we have and therefore our main focus will be on handler and dog fitness and ground speed- getting stronger and faster! This will be achieved with basic strength building and sprint work following a fitness plan given to us by Maria and Ruth in the coaching team. As I know that this is something that can definitely be improved on, I know that it will help us to improve in this area. 

My other observation was that all of the best dogs and handlers run every run to win, despite the risks taken they pushed every single part of the course. Although this will certainly lower my clear round rate, especially to start, the long term effect will be a quicker ground speed and the ability to attack any course we come up against. In Europe they are not rewarded for clear rounds, and therefore they run with this level of craziness at each event... I will be embracing this craziness in all of our future events so prepare to see us loud and crazier than ever!!!

You can watch one of Hayleys runs here

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