By: Chris Andersen, 3-Gun Nation Pro Shooter.
USA –-(Ammoland.com)- One of the best things about 3-Gun is that it is dynamic. Lots of speed and athletic movement while shooting cool guns. That was the biggest draw for me when I entered the sport.
But one of the dangers of this sort of sport, especially for the uninitiated, is that injuries due to those dynamic movements are possible, especially if you don’t prepare your body properly for the task at hand.
Having been involved in athletics my whole life, it came pretty naturally to me to do always do the proper stretches before exerting myself in a physical 3-gun stage. But I am still amazed at the number of people that don’t. By skipping the opportunity to stretch, you are setting yourself up for an injury. Large matches may have you only shooting three or four stages in a day. Which means a lot of sitting around letting joints and muscles tighten up causing the potential for a strain or pull, or worse when you try and make an explosive transition.
I have collected a few handy web links for you to use from different running, and medical websites that give some great pre-game stretching ideas that apply to our sport:
First, decide how to prepare
Take a look at the stage at hand and the types movements you will be making. If there is a lot of running or twisting for example, be sure to focus on stretches that will help you be loose for that particular type of demand on your body. Five minutes spent stretching out your hamstrings, quads, calf muscles and glutes can save you a sore week at work next week, or maybe even a trip to the ER. This link has some great stretches used by runners to make sure they are loose for a similar activity.
Avoid the dreaded “tennis elbow”
Odds are if you have shot many matches, you have seen experienced shooters wearing a brace on their forearm because of a very common, tennis elbow type injury common to those in our sport. Wrist flexor and extensor stretches can help you prevent this injury, or lessen it’s effects when you are fighting it. Excessive wear and tear on tendons can result with the stresses of shooting if you don’t spend time properly stretching them. Here are some helpful stretches from WebMD.
Your upper body, back and neck get used and abused a lot when you have a stage with a lot of twisting and transitions so keeping them loose is important. The added benefit to being properly stretched upper body is that your muscles will have significantly less tension, meaning you will be smoother. And smooth is fast. Check out these great back and neck stretches from HSS online.
Mind your surroundings
Just as important as being loose, is being prepared to perform the task at hand. If on your upcoming stage, you have to climb over or onto something, make sure that you practice that movement. Testing your ability to make the motion required insures that you, and your joints are not caught off guard. It is also important to make sure you have the belt configuration you plan to use on the stage on your person, so that you are accurately prepared for that particular movement with all of your gear set up as it will be when you do it on the clock.
There is no shortage of great information on stretches used for other sports like the ones I cite here on the web. So use them. Don’t be that guy at the match that had to make a trip to the emergency room. Warm up, get stretch out and loose. That will insure you keep performing at your best.
Visit 3-Gun Nation to learn more: www.3gunnation.com