Athletic Position (Down the Line, Stran Smith)

Last month, we talked about horse position when roping. This month, I want to touch on something that is mostly overlooked in our sport and that’s athletic position.   Athletic position is having your weight distributed over the balls of your feet, knees slightly bent, back straight and head up. In any athletic sport where you have to move fast, this is the position you start from. College and professional athletes all know this.

If while you were walking down the sidewalk and a car suddenly veered towards you, you would naturally “break down” into this position to move quickly. In our sport there are lots of guys who are naturally athletic, and then there are lots who are not. In a sport where every hundredth of a second counts, it’s important to maximize your chances.

In the gym, I work out on a Bosu ball that looks like half a ball. You can stand on either side and it’s wonderful for gaining balance. I work on my arms, shoulders and squats all on the Bosu for the purpose of agility and balance.

So many people don’t realize the importance of athleticism when roping calves. From the time you get off your horse and until you throw your hands up, you need your weight distributed over the balls of your feet and to be in an athletic position. We quickly dismount and run as fast as possible on uneven ground. There’s a lot of potential for injury if you’re not physically prepared for it.

The best athletes in the world, professional football and basketball players, routinely work on foot drills and other exercises for balance and coordination to increase their performance by even a mere two or three percent. If it could increase your performance as much as forty percent, would you not do this?

Guys who are naturally athletic may not have to work at it. But I believe anyone can improve their performance if they do. You can find these exercises on the internet. Footwork is very under estimated and overlooked in our sport. If your footwork is right, your position will be right. You will make far less mistakes and your consistency will shoot through the roof. Next month, we’ll talk about position and the dismount.

This year, I’ve been invited to give a motivational speech at the NRS trade show at the MGM each morning at 9:30 a.m. I invite you all to come if you are going to be in Las Vegas during the finals. I would love for you all to send me some topics you would like me to talk about. Please email them to me at

Our STS Ranch Wear will debut during the NFR and we’re very excited. The feedback has been very positive and overwhelming. I absolutely love the products. STS will have a booth at the NRS trade show at the MGM. You will also be able to find STS Ranch Wear at Archundi & Company at the Convention Center.

I’m working on a plan for my 2013 articles and need some ideas. Please email me at with ideas and topics you would like to read about. Until next time, God Bless, and I’ll see you down the line.

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