Hopefully you’ve been following the Shooter’s Log all season and keeping up with Down Zero TV as we’ve traveled from one end of the country to the other, shooting some of the best matches in the nation. Even more importantly, I hope you’ve been shooting your own matches, working hard to improve yourself as a shooter and having a great match season as well. But now it’s October, and in two-thirds of the country that means match season is winding down. I just finished up my last match of the year, the Indiana State IDPA Championship. One of the most important parts of my shooting season starts right now though – the off-season. The down time. Sure, I’ll get a club match in here and there during the winter, but I won’t shoot another major match until February, and the 2012 season won’t really kick off until May. But it’s important to have an off-season checklist, a breakdown of things that you need to do once the last shot is fired. Here’s my off-season checklist for Q4 of 2011.
- Gear maintenance: It’s been a long season, and now is the perfect opportunity to tear down all my gear and make sure it’s in good shape. Some stuff won’t get used again for a while, so that will get cleaned and prepped for storage.
- Personal maintenance: If you travel to a lot of matches, odds are you’re tired, you haven’t been eating right, and you’ve probably not been getting enough exercise. For me, with the travel season over, it’s time to look to my personal well-being as well as the well-being of my gear.
- Create a training plan: Athletes in every other sport train in the off-season. Whether it’s physical conditioning, hitting the batting cages, or watching film, the off-season is the time to look back and assess your performance and identify areas for improvement for the next season.
- Set goals for the next season: With the creation of a good off-season training plan, you need to set goals to accomplish for the next shooting season. Do you want to improve your classification? Win a major match? Assess your weaknesses, find out what you want to improve on, and create a training plan to reach that goal.
Through the next month, I’ll be posting my off-season training plan, which includes shooting drills and physical training drills. I’m a big believer in treating the shooting sports like any other athlete treats their sport, which means that there is more to winning than just shooting well.