Scoring and Stretching (Down the Line, Stran Smith)

Staying in good physical shape involves three parts: lifting weights, cardio and stretching. Roping calves also involves three parts: catching, flanking & tying and scoring. Ironically in both situations the most important part gets the least attention.

In physical fitness the normal priority is weights, cardio and stretching when it should be exactly the opposite. First and foremost should come stretching, cardio and then weights. Professional athletes, like football players, will stretch two hours or so prior to a game. That gives muscles time to regroup, recollect and be ready for a quick twitch fire. An intense stretch right before you perform actually dulls the muscles. While I usually stretch for an hour each day, before I rope I will do some light stretching in order to warm my muscles up.

Most people prioritize their roping practice by catching, flanking & tying with scoring third. Again, this is backwards from how it should be. First and foremost should come scoring, then catching and finally flanking & tying.

Scoring is important is because it sets up your catching. Whether or not you score well makes catching either easy or difficult. How many ropers do you know who have dedicated a day to videoing their scoring – with no rope in their hand? Usually when a roper picks up a rope, his brain goes to his right hand. How much time do you spend behind a barrier at home and do you put it up when you rope?

Many people score the same every time at home. They see the same start on the same kind of calves repeatedly. To truly be effective, you need some variables or tools to change it up. Rope different types of calves and periodically slide a bar in the chute that the calves have to jump over. Change it up.

The biggest thing scoring and stretching have in common is that they are not fun to do – but should have the most time and importance given to them. There’s an old saying in golf that goes, “Drive for show – putt for dough.” By applying that philosophy to roping I say, “Rope and tie for show – score for dough.”

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