Marcello Margott, one of the world’s best players, talks about the importance of the off-season by drawing from his own history. His message: Don’t let your skills diminish; use the off-season as an opportunity to upgrade your game.
In 2005, when I was 14 years old and playing Division 3, I won 4 out of 5 PSP tournaments with San Diego Aftermath, yet the only tournament I vividly remember now was the one we lost. Even after we won World Cup, I couldn’t let it go.
When I do something wrong I find it nearly impossible to let it escape my memory. I dedicated the entire off-season to paintball that year. I wanted to show up the following season as a completely different player, one who would surprise everyone.
As the season was fresh in my memory, I remembered just about every mistake of every match we played; the mistakes would play like the hitch in a broken record in my mind, torturing me with mental images of failure.
One by one I would pull those images out and put them to work. If I’d gotten shot making a move, I would train to be faster. If I lost a gun battle, my drills would include snap-shooting. If I missed a big shot, I would dedicate a day to accuracy.
All this would be done in the off-season, while nobody was watching, so when the next year started and everyone was watching people would be shocked that so much improvement could be made in such little time.
As the 06’ season came around, we skipped Division 2 diving straight into Division 1, winning our first Division 1 tournament in Tampa. I could tell all the hard work in the off-season was beneficial to my play. The jump from Division 3 to 1 hardly seemed tough.
Shortly after our win in Tampa I received a phone call from the Ironmen. They wanted Mouse (Alex Goldman) and I to come play for them. This was a terribly tough decision as I was in the middle of a season with a team full of brothers. We were a close family on Aftermath and I didn’t want to leave them. I thought long and hard, finally coming to the decision to accept the opportunity.
From that moment on I realized the formula I had created for myself, had paid off. I wouldn’t stray from it and still haven’t. Every off-season is my time to eliminate any weakness I suffered throughout the season and improve my best assets to be even better. It’s a time to get creative and find a way to play the game of paintball in a way that puts you above the rest. The off-season, is my transformational period.
Now that I have been a professional in the league for over 6 years, my off-seasons are more important than ever. When you get closer to the top, there is less room for improvement, so this is where you have to get creative. Instead of thinking of ways to play like one of the best, you think of ways to play better than the best. How can I do something that nobody else has brought to paintball?
The options are limitless, and in any sport there is constant improvement in skill throughout the years. Teams and players find ways to adjust and improve, slowly eliminating mistakes that were made in the past. I do the same. I look forward to this off-season the most.
The paintball season is long and exhausting. The lengthy flights they expect you to sleep on and hotels in different cities quickly become your home. The back and forth travel, constantly going to and from, never really letting your internal clock reset itself. You’re living out of a suitcase, hoping there’s room for your gym shoes. Your body suffers throughout the season, whether it’s from lack of sleep, food, or rest.
I find myself trying to maintain rather than improve throughout the year. Of course hard work and attention to improvement is the main focus throughout a season but the training is still different. This is why I love the off-season.
For me the off-season is a sacred period of time in which you have to transform yourself into something greater. The off-season is my personal time dedicated to the constant improvement of my talents. No matter how good I play, I can always play better. If you value improvement, it’s the most important time of the year.
After having a fairly successful season, I feel like I underachieved. I made some costly mistakes throughout the year and the goal is to eliminate them in the off-season. During the season it’s hard to work on personal abilities. It’s more of maintaining throughout the year than ever really getting ahead.
The off-season though, allows for tremendous growth in personal abilities if hard work is put in and that is exactly what I will continue to do. I will be fine-tuning my skills over the next few months to show up at the first event better than I was at the last. Some of the things I will be working on:
• Shooting off the break
• Gun Skills
These are the 3 points I will work on most. Also, I want to be in better physical condition. My shooting off the break needs major improvement and that ties in with gun skills, a skill I feel is most important to the game of paintball. I will continue to work on accuracy, technique, and fitness. To keep up with what I’m doing exactly follow me on Facebook and check back here on PBA.
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