Hello there!!! Nick Slowiak coming to you live…well not really live but coming to you here from G.I. Sportz in Chicago! I am going to be writing to you week to week about things going on in my paintball life. This will include travel, clinics, practice, tips, tricks, not so good pick-up lines, dealing with paintball along with life/school/girlfriend/work, and then any questions you may have!
A big note/asterisk needs to be placed before I go any farther. I work for G.I. Sportz as a sales rep for the Midwest and as a G.I. Rep and Professional player I travel quite a bit more then most to act as an ambassador of our fantastic products and then as an ambassador of the sport of paintball. With my position in my wonderful company I get to be part of a wonderful group of individuals who share my love of the game and want nothing more then to see it grow. This allows me to get tons of useful information and ideas from people with years of paintball experience in every aspect of the game. I will share as much of this as possible with you. So I may bring in others insight to share with you!
We shall start with the current time, the off season, if there actually is such a thing. In what would seem to be the whined down time, that is every weekend after World Cup, up until the first official team practice, there is supposed to rest and relaxation. A break from the “grind” and travel. Time to sleep-in on a Sunday morning, go to church, watch football with friends, play the newest Xbox releases, or finally get working on that school project that you would normally save for late Sunday night.
I have thought about this “off-season” for some time now and told myself, “I am taking full advantage!”. Haha it would seem that I’ll not get my wish. This is not a bad thing, not by any means. If any of you are like me and I hope that some of you are…in your love for paintball (not general weirdness, although that is OK too!). Then you know that taking more then 1 weekend off is just feels out of place. Or I should say this is just simply how I feel.
The off season for me is a time of refinement. To work of those skills that during the year you knew you were worst at. It is a time to drill and refocus, as well as a time to reflect. Out of all of the places I have traveled thus far after World Cup, and I have traveled quite a bit already …South America, Phoenix, Dallas, Boston, most of southern Wisconsin, and finally all around northern Illinois. Everyone just seems to want to play 5 on 5. Just to run games. I want to let you guys in on a secret. This is not the key to becoming a better player. The way you become better is by breaking down the game into the fundamentals and to then run drills based off of what you need as a player or team to become better. Grayson Goff has put it best, “You have to be a student of the game.”
Drilling was stressed at every practice by our coach Jason Trosen. He made us drill until people started dropping, not letting us quit, always making us strive for perfection. You have to take this mindset and bring it into the off-season. I do have the luxury of being able to play for little to nothing and then being able to play multiple times during the week. This however was not always the case and it is beyond a doubt one of the most valuable things that helped me become better. I can remember losing most snap battles with Aftershock in 2005. My goal for that off-season was to switch this around, all I did was snap, trying to refine my skills. I worked closely with my teammates, Chris and Greg Sosine, as well as Damian Ryan and watched how they played. My hard work payed off, when Shock came into practice that new year at what was Country Club paintball I made them wear it. I remember Blake Pruitt pulling me aside and telling me how great I was and that he was really impressed. That was one of the best feelings I have ever had in paintball and I will never forget it.
Beyond refreshing you skills as a player on the field, make sure you reflect on those who have helped you get there. Parents, family, and friends who have supported you get to where you are. I think it is pretty safe to say non of us could of got to the top level with out the support of someone. Make sure you tell these people how much you care about them and how much you truly appreciate their support. Behind Houston Heat there is an enormous team of people, family, who help us play and enjoy the game we love and we could not of had the year with did with out them. This goes for sponsors as well. Stop in and talk to the owner of your field or store. Send a letting to the company that you got your gear from. Let people know that you care.
Ok so back to this off season thing. Players jump to different teams…as most have noticed some players do this multiple times. Teams change sponsorship or lose them. What teams will play this league or that league? He said, she said, run around with your head cut off, OMG. Every off season is filled with drama and suspense. This has all been magnified by social media giving us constant reports of what may or may not have happened. Drama ensues as people add what they have heard or not heard based off of their top sources. All I can add to this from the things I have learned are the following: If it sounds to good to be true it is. All good things come out in time. And finally, the vast majority of people have no idea as to what they are talking about and should keep things to themselves. Beyond that there are smart, dedicated people working long hours behind the scenes to give us a quality product to play with and on for the 2013 season, please believe they are doing this for the players and have our best interest in mind!
This will conclude the end of blog 1. Please turn to page 2 next week at the same great time and site!!!
If you guys have any questions or want me to talk/address anything please post in the comment section.
I am a little scatter brained and tend to jump around a lot!!!!