4 Ways to Master Breakaway Roping Mental Strategy with The Mind Power Sports Partnership for Youth

Learn about the Mind Power Sports Partnership for Youth, the newest program aiming to help youth in Western sports excel and take care of their mental health in the process.

Rylie Edens ropes her calf at the 2023 USTRC Total Feeds 15 & Under Breakaway.
Andersen CBarC photo.

A new movement called Partnership For Youth led by Kim Knight from Mind Power Sports is bringing breakaway roping mental strategy to youth through a diverse group of seasoned professional athletes that share their wisdom and experiences both inside and outside of the arena.  

It’s all about harnessing the power of the mind to enhance competition and succeed in life. 

Four tips to master breakaway roping mental strategy

  1. Breathe like a horse. 

“I tell everybody to breathe like a horse,” Knight said. “Horses know how to calm themselves down after us humans stress them out. They take that big belly breath. That actually shuts the nervous system down and calms them, so breathe like a horse.” 

  1. Think about what you think about. 

“This one always bewilders people,” Knight said, laughing. “So, what does that mean? Well, your thoughts lead to emotions, and your body is always listening. That’s one that Jake Long alludes to in his interview. He said, ‘If you’re having a hard time with confidence, evaluate what you’re thinking.’ Your body is like a mirror. Your brain thinks something, and your body goes to work doing whatever you’re thinking.”  

  1. Believe in yourself—nobody’s going to do it for you. 

“You simply have to believe that you can achieve anything,” Knight said. “You can if you think you can. If you don’t believe you can win something, you’re never going to. You have to believe that you can achieve something greater in order to do it” 

  1. Have fun.  

“This might sound silly, but it’s critically important to remember to enjoy what you’re doing,” Knight said. “It’s supposed to be fun. These athletes at the top-level embrace that, they really enjoy what they’re doing.”

“Many athletes and their horses are in great shape and highly skilled but the human brain is generally left untrained. This is frequently seen during competition when the mental aspect of competition doesn’t go well.  All too often, the brain is actually the limiting factor simply because it hasn’t been trained how to stay calm, manage stress, focus properly, control emotions or maintain proper levels of confidence.  Many athletes unintentionally train their brain to work against their performance and prevent good results.  When people learn how to establish the correct mindset and train their brain to work in partnership, they always advance their game and improve their success in competition and in life.” Kim Knight

The Mind Power Sports Partnership for youth

The Partnership for Youth kicked off in the summer of 2023 as a completely free series of videos and podcasts geared toward educating the youth of the Western industry about utilizing the power of their mind in regards to both daily life and sports competitions. Knight has brought on stars such as four-time world champion barrel racer, Hailey Kinsel, NFR team roper Jake Long, Leighton Berry, Will Lummus and Cutting Horse (NCHA) Champion Matt Gaines and Reined Cow Horse Champions (NRCHA) Chris and Sarah Dawson. 

The interviews with the Pros dive deep into this topic as they answer questions sent to Mind Power Sports by our youth athletes about struggles, victories and details about personal experiences with their own minds as they rose to the top in their respective disciplines. Keep an eye out for these exciting and important interviews on this often-misunderstood topic. 

To keep up with the Mind Power Sports Partnership for Youth, check out www.MindPowerSports.com or follow @MindPowerSports on Instagram.

More about the The Mind Power Sports Partnership for Youth

The interviews conducted cover a wide range of events and organizations, including top PRCA athletes like team roping heeler Jake Long, bareback rider Leighton Berry, NFR aggregate champion steer wrestler Will Lummus and four-time world champion barrel racer Hailey Kinsel.

Athletes from all rodeo disciplines and backgrounds will be represented, along with decorated reined cow horse and cutting athletes. The talks serve as a platform for professionals to openly discuss their mental approach to competition and life, address topics such as overcoming nervousness and personal challenges, achieving proper focus, building high levels of genuine and consistent confidence, managing stress and emotion in a healthy way and understanding how to effectively utilizing visualization.

Knight herself grew up with a ranching background and competed in various sports including high school and college rodeo at state and national levels.  During college she found that her heart was in studying the mental aspect of competition. She was fascinated by visualization and the power of the mind from a young age, but during a college research project, she came to realize just how much potential the mind held over physical performance alone. 

Jackie Crawford’s time management strategy

The goat tying study

For a class project, Knight rounded up 20 students who had never tied a goat before. She initially tested their tying abilities and timed their runs. Then, she divided participants into two groups. One set didn’t touch a goat for the next three weeks, but practiced in their minds through visualization techniques that Knight coached them through. The second group continued to practice on the goats. After the three weeks had passed, Knight tested both groups again.  

She was astonished to find that the group that practiced only mentally outperformed the group that worked on live goats. They had fewer mistakes and faster times overall. The project sparked Knight’s curiosity and inspired her to dive deeper into the power of the mind. From there, coaching athletes and teaching individuals to understand and work with their brains has become her passion. 

During college, Knight earned a master’s degree in the field and has over 20 years of experience helping athletes from numerous sports and all walks of life.  She developed the Mind Power Sports training program, with athlete input, to help youth through professional adults learn how to reduce struggles and work more effectively in partnership with their mind.  Mind Power Sports trains athletes through classes, clinics, and online training programs as well as works privately with athletes across the US and internationally. 

IPRA World Champion Brianna Waltz dishes on her mental strategy.

What is mind power?

“Mind Power is the ability to utilize the power of your mind to improve performance. It’s about learning how to train your brain – just like training a muscle – to harness the full potential and effectiveness of your mind.  Its easier to achieve than most people think.”  Kim Knight

Contrary to popular belief, Mind Power isn’t achieved through excessive caffeine intake, jumping jacks or simply being positive. It involves a combination training tactics including mental skills training neuroscience, biofeedback and brain health. 

“MindPower goes so far beyond just being positive,” Knight said.

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