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Training young competitors. Victories do not come immediately.

The preparation and formation of an athlete in any sport almost never falls under the scale of once and for all certain methods. Especially in equestrian sports, where an athlete can be perfectly prepared, but without a horse does not represent anything. Therefore, despite the fact that the stated positions have a serious theoretical and practical foundation, this review does not pretend to be a prescription tutorial on the production of competitors.

First of all, the child’s abilities are an indisputable argument in choosing a sport. However, in order for these abilities to manifest themselves, objective conditions are necessary for their identification. In equestrian sports, the influx of young people often depends on the proximity of the equestrian organization to their home and, especially now, on the financial capabilities of their parents or sponsors. Unfortunately, this is a sport in which it is very difficult for a gifted but financially weak child to break through at least to the level of a master of sports. The view is simply expensive, and if a capable junior goes into adult equestrian sport, the cost of promoting it will increase enormously. All this greatly reduces the ability of just talented guys to break out into equestrian sports. If we ignore this, then what abilities should appear in a child who wants to engage in show jumping?

First of all, in order to jump on a horse, a person definitely has to be brave. But this quality is quite abstract, you can’t express it in numbers and you won’t feel it like muscles. The second important quality I consider a good eye and the ability to accurately navigate in space. And finally, good dexterity and coordination of movements.

Despite the fact that sometimes you can see short and thick riders (Hugo Simon, Bruno Broxo, Jan Tops and others) in the higher echelons of the show jumping, nevertheless, an athlete of medium (and even above average) height is more often a good-class competitor. On a large horse, and there are more and more of them in modern show jumping, it is physically difficult for a small rider to be adequate to the tasks set. But, despite the competitor’s more than average dimensions, skill and talent are the most important for an athlete.

All of the above qualities are unlikely to be pronounced immediately, more often they are formed and loom over the years. Here, experience, intuition and talent of a trainer who deals with youth are also needed. Unfortunately, we have to admit that, unlike other sports, in the equestrian sport of Russia, low-skilled, and often random people are often involved with children and young men. This yesterday’s grooms or distributors, and people due to financial opportunities immediately became a coach, manager, athlete, livestock specialist, etc., and often all rolled into one. Like in that questionnaire: “Where did you study? If nowhere, where do you teach? ”This is regrettable, but the fact is that the coaching staff in the youth show jumping is below average quality. And training an athlete in no case can not be considered remotely, without considering who will work with him.

Suppose a child is lucky with a coach, then the training process will be thought out and focused. First of all, the future competitor needs to be “planted.” The fundamentals of a proper fit are laid, as a rule, in the first year of study and are subsequently adjusted with difficulty.
Using gymnastic exercises, riding without stirrups, vaulting, it is necessary to be guided by the classic postulates of landing. However, we must not forget that all people are different anthropometrically and psycho-physically and have the right to an individual style. In addition, show jumping is not dressage, where landing means a lot, in jumping it practically “does not affect speed”, which is a lot of examples in world practice. The master may have stirrups of different lengths, the heel at the top, the back with a hump and other shortcomings, and he beats the “stylists” and does not give a damn about beauty and grace. But this is with the master, and initially the child must be “planted” classically.

From the moment the student proceeds to jump, having mastered the general principles of riding and decently learning how to sit and control a horse, theoretical training for jumping begins. This is literature, which now has a lot in Russia, and video materials, and direct attendance of the competitions so far as a spectator. All postulates, especially complex and ambiguous, should be discussed with the coach, senior athletes.
The psychological and tactical training of an athlete in the first stages should not be based on the principle of “immediately win at all costs.” And this is often desired, and even short-sighted trainers and parents demand it. The emphasis should be on competent and stylish driving. If it is, victories will come. In practice, most young men learn immediately on high-speed routes and stubbornly fight for seconds that no one needs so far. This is a huge flaw in the training of competitors. Having rushed “without a king in the head” along the routes for several years, it is then difficult to psychologically reorganize the athlete and correct the entrenched defects in style, fit, and overall strategy.

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