One of my favorite parts of coaching youth sports is building mental confidence in players. No easy task with impressionable and often easily distracted youngsters.
But one philosophy which often resonates is the short-term memory mentality. Whether it’s a pitcher who just surrendered the lead or a defensive back who got beat on a deep route — a player needs to put what just happened in the past and work on the present.
That’s not to say a mistake or missed assignment should be forgotten, but rather used as a teachable moment to draw on for motivation in the future. The last thing I want is to see someone get so discouraged that they quit.
Talking with strip-tillers — both rookies and veterans — one of the keys to success they point to is the ability to endure. Adversity has been abundant the last few years in ag, and especially in 2019.
But there is a widening circle of solidarity among strip-tillers who are able to tap into their own confidence, or that of a neighbor to transition into the practice with mental poise.
“There is a widening circle of solidarity among strip-tillers who are able to tap into their own confidence, or that of a neighbor to transition into the practice with mental poise…”
Which brings me to John Becker who without a supportive strip-till community, perhaps wouldn’t have ever considered strip-till instead of conventional tillage to complement the cover cropping program he started in 2012.
The Dundas, Minn., farmer strip-tilled his first acres in 2019, navigating the expected and unexpected challenges, and supported by an army of local advocates, who he affectionately calls, “the magnificent seven.”
Becker acknowledges that making the move into strip-till was a “scary thing” but he’s willing to activate his short-term memory to embrace early mistakes, learn from them and move on to become better.
This isn’t a one-year proposition for Becker and he’s confident in his ability to adapt and improve, aided by educated encouragement from neighboring farmers.
“I don’t know what’s going to happen, but I believe in what I’m doing and some of the strip-tillers I know have forgotten more than I’ll ever know,” he says.
So whether you are also navigating your first year of strip-till or your 20th, take a few minutes to think about how you’ve made it this far. Odds are, there were moments of doubt, overshadowed by accomplishments to reinforce your decision, with a little coaching along the way.
Those are the moments worth remembering.