Jane Savoie wrote "That Winning Feeling! Program Your Mind for Peak Performance"
in 1992, as a way to share with others the sports psychology tools
and techniques which she felt were instrumental in helping her in her
goal to be named to the US Olympic dressage team for Barcelona.
But, first a word about the title. That Winning Feeling! is not about winning at
all costs, nor does it have to be about competing, if competing is not
what you want to do. Winning refers being the best you can be, growing
personally, meeting your personal goals, stretching yourself to
excel while being able to bounce back from disappointment, while through
it all enjoying your relationship
with your horse.
I find Jane Savoie's own story so personally motivating. I think it is too easy
sometimes to look at the famous riders and think "of course THEY could
succeed" (because it looks so easy and sensible and foregone once it is done).
Jane Savoie puts
that theory to bed and gives hope to everyone who has a goal for which
the facts of the case don't support a positive outcome.
was to be a member of the USET and represent her country in International
Competition. However, she didn't have a horse. She didn't have money to
buy a horse. She was working in a low-paying job with no way to earn enough to buy a
top horse. She had only ridden through First Level, she was twenty pounds
overweight and she smoked three packs a day. She was also a nervous competitor,
from anxiety and sleeplessness before and during a show.
Wow - with a list of "facts" like that, must people would feel perfectly
justified in "toning down" their goal somewhat, or even staying in their
However, and this is the
point, with the right attitude, the facts don't matter. Jane used the
techniques explained in this book (and expanded upon in it's sequel
It's Not Just About the Ribbons)
spurred on by "the fire in her belly"
to make the necessary changes in order to achieve her goal. Three cheers
for Jane and I think she is telling us, "If I can do it, so you can you."
Robert Dover is profiled in one of the many inspiring anecdotes about
what other well-known riders had to overcome to reach their dream.
Robert is a veteran of World Cup, World Championships, and six Olympic
games. Everyone is accustomed of thinking of Robert as a winner. However,
Jane shares with us the dogged persistence he had to display in order to start
realizing his dream. When Robert first went to Europe to gain some international
exposure, he was consistently at the bottom of the pack in competition, over
In Robert's words he was "beginning to turn losing into an art form".
Thankfully he persisted, kept getting himself out there in spite of
repeated failures, and went on to be one of the most successful American
dressage riders in history. Several of Robert's mental training techniques are
outlined in this book.
I feel grateful that such top riders are willing
to talk about their less than stellar moments, to inspire the rest of us
to do what it takes to grow.
That Winning Feeling! is a super little book bursting with both positive energy
and practical information.