Wednesday, April 6, 2016

Gun Fu Episode #2

Abraham Lincoln said, “Always bear in mind that your own resolution to succeed is more important than any other.”  This certainly appears the case regarding our next Gun Fu sifu.  I’ve known this gentleman for a little over 5 years now and never once during that time doubted his resolve.  When he made the jump from divisional play to professional team Omaha Vicious, I was confident he would make the best of it.  And he did, eventually ranking 2nd best player in the league when the PSP was keeping stats during the 2014 season.  He eventually fell to 6th after World Cup but man, what a run.

Matt Sossoman’s journey to the pro ranks began when he was 10 years old in the back yard of a friend’s house shooting a phantom pump.  The friend’s older brother had an automag classic which terrified the Soss but didn’t stop him from falling in love with the game.

Glamour Shot Soss

However, it was in the locker room for a high school football try out that led Matt to pursue paintball in full capacity.  And it was ultimately due to a mistake.  He had left a form stating that he had passed his physical at home.  The coach, a hardliner for rules and regualtions, was adamant that you must have the form in order to try out.  This led Matt to realize how much he loved playing paintball as opposed to football.  BAM!  Paintball received a new force to be reckoned with as he entered his first 3 man tournament the following week.

As paintball evolved over the years, one thing that never changed was Matt’s drive to win and his love of winning.  “Winning is fun . . .” he will tell you matter of factly.  So much so that he did just that his first time out, winning that 3 man tournament with his team.  When asked what he enjoys most about our sport, sure enough, you see it in his answer: “I’ve had a few different thoughts about it over the years . . . from shooting people, bunkering people, playing with friends, creating friends, traveling, etc. but nothing can compare to winning.”

Champion Soss with Kung Fu grip

The Soss Man realized quickly that in order to obtain the level of expertise it requires to be consistently competitive, you have to get out there and get after it. “I feel I excelled at gun skills.  I spent hours and hours by myself working on laning, running and gunning, and snap shooting.”

That isn’t to say there weren’t obstacles.  “I got over looked a lot growing up because I wasn’t the skinny guy on the team running to the snake off break or screaming down the D-side of the field.  My biggest issue was my body. I could play and play and play but I wasn’t fast, I couldn’t run for miles, but I tried my hardest.” 

When asked how he overcame this, once again in that matter of fact manner, he said, “I overcame it in two ways, eating better and out working everyone else.  If you are out working everyone else it doesn’t matter what you are or look like, you will be better.”

Big Head Soss from his Skill School

The road to professional paintball was paved with the corpses of several teams, none of which Matt wanted to die.  “I never wanted to change teams as many times as I did but every time things were going well the owner would pull the plug on the team. There was Goldrush, Tainted, Circus Runaways, Gridlock, Cross eyed paintball, Raiden, New Jersey Jesters and then Vicious.  The route to Vicious wasn’t an easy road, I had worked my whole life for this chance to obtain my first goal of playing pro.  I saw they were having tryouts on PBNation which I actually missed the first set of them.  I talked to Jake Topping (Team Manager) and set up a tryout for when the team went to Kick’n indoor park in Missouri.  I bought a plane ticket, rented a car, got a hotel room and paid for my tryout and the rest has been amazing history.  There is hands down no better two team owners in paintball than Carl and Karen Bortol.”

(Side note, I am going to argue with that last statement.  As much as I like the Bortols, there is no better team owners than Prime’s very own McGowan family…. Just saying)

Matt won’t mince words when it comes to what he thinks most new/up and coming players struggle with and I couldn’t agree with him more.  “Lack of drills in their preparation for events.  Everyone really loves playing games and games and more games.  But I can take four hours to run 4 drills and get 100% more out of my practice than someone that just plays points all the time.”  Word.

Run n Gun Soss

So, what is Matt’s favorite drill to run and why?  “Snap shooting.  I love to start out very simple in spots that are close then move back until I am shooting corner to corner.  I am huge on making things hard on myself.   So I get three shots to hit a target, if I don’t hit the target in one of those 3 shots I will do 5-10 push-ups depending on difficulty of the drill.  The best thing about snap shooting is that you can make it as hard as you want or as easy.  Never move on from a shot until you have mastered it.” 

I think that last sentence says a lot about Matt.

Matt Sossoman, like many of the Pros/Sifus we will interview here in Prime’s Dojo, has his own website which is a great way to learn the sport of paintball.

Got paint Soss?

“As a lot of people know I have retired from playing in 2014 with Vicious.  It has really given me more of an opportunity to grow my Skills School.  I started my Skills School out of what I thought was a necessity. There were so many teams around my area with no guidance on their practices or skills.  There aren’t many other sports that you can work with a pro for a few hours and take what they have to offer and immediately get better.   I thought back to when I learned to play. I would have loved a guy that would take the time to help me but I learned by getting shot 20 times with unlimited rate of fire.  I now coach 2 teams on a regular basis as well going to Las Vegas to coach Pr1me in division 2.   If anyone wants to check out my Skill’s School Facebook page you can search Matt Sossoman Skill School or check out this link.

Soss and yours truly be creeped on by 5 case himself

Now, have a look at a short video below showing a quick demonstration of one of Matt’s favorite drills.  I promise the production on these will get better... when I have the time to really put into them.

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PS.  Thank you to Matt for his guidance at the 2011 World Cup as well as this season’s opener for the NXL in Las Vegas!