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4 Tips For Finding A Team Roping Mentor

I started competing in team roping when I was 11 years old.  When I first got started, my dad was always a mentor.  As a man who used to spin steers for Virgil Green, I trusted his coaching, even when I didn’t want to listen to him because he was my dad.

Steve Maddalena (hd) and Tony Maddalena (hl), 1990, Sierraville, CA

When he passed away 10 years ago, I had a really tough time with my roping.  I even quit for a little while, only to come back with a vengeance one year later.  But I stopped pursuing any kind of coaching and I always had an excuse.

I was happy just being a mediocre team roper.  I didn’t want my number raised.  I was happy just being a “good 4 header”.

But then, I started working for Roping.com.  As someone whose roping was now in the limelight, I knew I needed to step up my game and practice what I had been preaching.

So, I started diving into the hundreds and hundreds of videos on Roping.com.  Rather than just watching them through once and then moving on to the next video, I would watch one video, really pay attention to it, maybe watch it a few more times, and then go out and work on what I just learned.

From there, I started to pursue trying to find a roping mentor.  As a woman who is very fortunate to work with some of the best team ropers in the world, it wasn’t too tough for me to pin down someone close to me that I got along with and I could trust to coach me and coach me correctly.

Here are a few tips on what to look for and how to find a great team roping mentor:

Find Someone Who Ropes MUCH Better Than You Do

Jake Barnes

You don’t necessarily need to hire a professional coach, but you absolutely do need to find someone who has been roping a long time and is a much better roper than you are.  Taking advice from other amateurs could potentially lead to you learning improper technique and do you more harm than good.

Talk To People At Ropings

Some of the best connections I have made were by talking to other ropers at jackpots and making friends.  Be friendly to people.  Don’t be afraid to tell someone you like their horse or compliment them on a good run.  When you make friends, you grow your circle.  You never know who you may run into that may have a connection to an awesome mentor who can really help you excel in your roping.

Find Someone Close To You

It really helps to find a mentor that lives close to you.  Some of us are very fortunate to live in areas where there are a lot of really talented ropers nearby.  However, in some parts of the country, it can be a little tougher to find really high numbered or professional ropers to mentor you.  This is where sites like Roping.com really come in handy.  You can get virtual training and even set up clinics in your area.  A lot of times, when you attend a clinic, if you take it seriously and have a connection with a clinician, you will be able to use that same coach as a mentor down the road.  It is not uncommon for clinicians to stay in contact with their students.

Find A Mentor That Will Give You Constructive Criticism

It’s nice to have a coach who tells you everything that you are doing right all the time.  But that’s not necessarily how we learn.  I’m not saying you need to find someone who is going to yell at you and constantly tell you what you are doing wrong without ever being positive.  But, you do need to find a mentor who will express what it is that you need to work on in a constructive way.  Mentors are used to learn, so if you have someone who is afraid to tell you what you are doing wrong, you aren’t going to learn anything.

Roping.com coach, Daniel Green, and Lacey

I was fortunate enough to spend a day with Daniel Green recently.  Two issues that I had that he really focused on correcting were: me feeding my hands together when I would swing and me leaning ahead in the saddle to deliver.  After only a couple of hours, he had my arm back, my hands apart, me sitting up in the saddle when I delivered my head loop, and my horse setting up and really handling cattle. That very next weekend, I went out and won quite a bit of money and a beautiful buckle at a jackpot.

Megan Huber presenting the Elliot Dow Memorial Team Roping buckle to Lacey Maddalena, August 2017

I decided then and there that I needed to continue to use a mentor to help me improve my roping.  I haven’t been roping all my life to settle with being mediocre.  I want to be good.  I want to be considered one of those elite women ropers that other girls look up to.  I am not satisfied sitting on the sidelines and watching others take my hard-earned money.

Living in Texas is a real blessing.  You can travel less than an hour in almost any direction and find a whole slew of high caliber team ropers.  Since my family has ties with the Green family, I started spending a lot of time with Rickey.  He is someone that I trust who has a unique way of teaching.  It’s also nice that he lives within a two hour drive from my house!  Thanks to him, I can see a vast improvement in my roping.  And all he had to do was make minor changes to the way that I have always done things.

Rickey Green giving roping advice to Lacey Maddalena, Oct 2016

I encourage you, regardless of your age or ability, to find a team roping roping mentor.  If you cannot find one, reach out to us at Roping.com by emailing Lacey@roping.com and I will be happy to help you locate someone who can potentially help you.

“Someone once told me not to bite off more than I could chew. I said that I would rather choke on greatness than nibble on mediocrity.” -Unknown

Written by Lacey Maddalena

Lacey grew up on a cattle ranch in Northern California where she learned to ride and rope at a very young age. Her dad was an avid team roper, and unlike most little girls who dreamed of the adrenaline of chasing barrels, Lacey dreamed of being a team roper just like her dad. She won her first jackpot at just 13 and has been hooked ever since. She is not only a passionate team roper and a writer, but also an artist and an outdoorsman. When she is not in the arena, she enjoys painting, archery, fishing, hiking, and traveling the world.

Roping Your Way Out Of A Slump