Position (Down the Line, Stran Smith)

Real estate agents will tell you there are three important factors when selling property: location, location, location. In roping and tying the three important factors are position, position, position. I’ll take someone who has good position over someone with speed any day. With good position comes speed and everything that stems off that.

Good position can be as broad as the placement of your foot in the stirrup all the way to your position in life. Most mistakes made, in roping and in life, are a result of bad positioning.

When Patrick Smith started team roping he positioned himself with one of the greatest ropers and teachers we know, Allen Bach. He would video himself while roping the sawhorse to watch his swing and delivery. He would study these and other videos of himself roping steers. Within seven to eight years of starting roping, Patrick became a world champion. He had repeatedly positioned himself well.

You need to have a plethora of information at your disposal and be able to think outside the box. Most people go to the same arena, rope the same kind of calves on the same kind of horse. Conventional athletics have shown that if you want to be more diverse you need to open your mind to other types of training. I’ve done that myself in the last few years as I’ve gone outside the arena to train on the bicycle and in the weight room. I’ve changed the way I eat and have lost thirty pounds. Does it make a difference? I’m thirty-eight and feel better than I have in ten years.

I want people to be able to take my experiences and knowledge and apply it to help make them better. Use the things I’ve learned and make it your own – only better. Don’t try to emulate me, do better. A great way to learn is to observe the top guys and their position.

If your physical position while horseback is your problem, consider if you need to improve your riding skills. If you want to improve, ride outside the arena. Take your saddle off and ride bareback. One must learn to ride before one learns to rope.

My goal is to challenge you to think and try new things. Maybe you’re all waiting for something specific for position. “Where should my position be for my foot in the stirrup, my hand on the reins, how long should the spoke of my rope be?” All these details are an intricate part of roping. When you want to know the position of every aspect of your body, tack, etc… That’s what separates the top guys from the rest. My position may not work for others. It’s imperative that you spend the time to find your correct position – in roping and in life.

God Bless and I’ll see you down the line.