Practice with a Purpose with Rich Skelton
Stick to your plan. Repetitive practice—focusing on position, swing, target and delivery—beats high-volume practice.

Building Your Routine

I see so many people come in from work or school and run 15 or 20 steers just to run steers. But quality of practice is more important than quantity of practice. I’d rather you come in from work or school and rope the Heel-O-Matic with intent, then rope five steers the right way. I’ve practiced every way you can practice, from roping five steers a day to roping 100 steers a day—so I’ve figured this out from experience.

[SHOP: Rich Skelton’s Tools of the Trade]

YETI Hopper Flip Portable Cooler

Heel O Matic Super Slider Team Roping Dummy

Cinch Men’s Black Label Loose Fit Jean

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The Theory Behind It

Everything is repetition—that’s all roping is. Get to the arena and do the same thing, every day. One thing I see about ropers in general is that everybody has an opinion. I don’t know everything about roping, but I know how the best ropers in the world rope—they rope the same way, they just might explain it differently. They all get in position, have their swing over the steer’s back, they’ve got a target and they execute their delivery. It doesn’t matter if they’re at the BFI or the NFR trying to be 3. They have to ride their horse and get in position, they’re just handy at what they do.

Using A Dummy to Get Your Horse’s Attention with Rich Skelton

Stick with Your Game

If one day you rope like me, the next like Clay Cooper, then like Jade Corkill, and you’re always changing everything, you’re never going to get it. Find what works for you, and stick with that position, swing, target and delivery every day. Same with heading—if one time you’re behind the steer, the next to the left of the steer, one time to the right, you’re going to struggle. You have to get in the same position heading over and over and over. Roping is repetition, so build your day around that.

Roping Tips with Rich Skelton:

Building the Perfect Practice

Intentional Practice

Extra Extra! This tip came from “The Score” podcast’s audio roping lessons, launched this March. Hear Skelton, Kolton Schmidt, Lari Dee Guy and more wherever you listen to podcasts.

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