Off-Season 101 Pt. 1

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The off-season, a common term we’ve all heard whether it is from professional athletes, hunters, or competitive shooters. The one misconception is that the off-season is a break, a time to sit around and do nothing. The elite competitors use this short time period to work on their game, improving their weaknesses to detour defeat next season. No matter your fitness goals, we all have an off-season and it’s time to start using it to improve ourselves! My off-season runs from the beginning of April until the end of August. Off-Season 101 will be a two part series discussing several ideas for you to take full advantage of your off-season.

Strengthen Your Weaknesses

Now is the time to take a step back and evaluate yourself, be truthful and make a list of all the areas you suffered in last season. For example, I tie in my fitness to my hunting and break down where I really struggled at different points of my hunting season. This is where I remember struggling physically and even mentally to get through a rigorous hunt, or even a drawn out hunting trip. It’s important for me to reconnect that emotional feeling of exhaustion and let down, it makes the memory real to me again. Reliving those memories motivates me to not let those shortcomings happen again.

Now I have a list of my weakness I need to work on, I use the list to determine how my off-season training program will run. I essentially will have four to five months for my training to transition and change so my body is seeing a variation of workouts. Do this simple step of strengthening a few weaknesses and you will find yourself at a new level of competitor next season.

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Try New Things

Off-season should also be a time of re-focus, and concentrate on your goals. Believe it or not, sometimes the best way to get re-focused is to step away from your main goal for part of a day or a weekend. I tend to try new things to refresh my efforts of achieving my goals.

This off-season I am trying some 3-Gun competitions. 3-Gun is a shooting event where you move through a series of stages using a rifle, pistol, and shotgun to engage different targets in a variety of shooting positions and situations. I love to compete in just about anything, and since I am inexperienced in competition shooting, it’s a pressure free way for me to get out of my every day hunting workouts and training, yet still utilize my fitness level to compete. My first competition was Hornady’s Zombies in the Heartland Pandemic with Team Burris Optics.

This off-season make a second list, it doesn’t have to be long, of a few things you have never done before that you would like to try. You will appreciate the challenge, and have a fresh outlook on your own goals when you return to the grind.

Have fun

All in all, our goals aren’t worth working our butts off over if we can’t have some fun along the way. This is a journey, it takes time, and a huge chunk of our lives, so learn to enjoy it! This ties right back into trying new things, most of the time the new things we try are mini vacations. Enjoying these getaways to prevent burn out and keep your long-term focus and determination at 100 percent. My list of “Have Funs” this off-season includes a 3-Gun match, rock climbing, and bow fishing.

Though the off-season is a mental break from the busy grind of the rest of the year, I don’t use it as a time to be lazy. I use it to strive for greatness, and not train average. The off-season is only about one fourth of our year, and we need to make the most out of it!

By Jordan Miller. Originally published in the July 2014 issue of GunUp the Magazine.

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