Skeet Hit the Gym, a Better Year Followed
July 5, 2013
by Randy Coleman
If you’re wondering what’s different about Skeet Reese in 2013 – how the angler challenging to be this year’s B.A.S.S. Toyota Angler of the Year overcame the under-performing Skeet Reese of the previous two years - all you have to do is go to the gym. That’s where you might find Reese, involved in an intense workout.
Reese, who up until 2011 was an angler often mentioned as Kevin VanDam’s closest peer, is the first to acknowledge that he “wasn’t himself” for two years. In 2011, when he mysteriously failed to qualify for the Bassmaster Classic, he was unfocused and less motivated than he needed to be. In 2012, he was better but still wasn’t the “old Skeet.”
Although Reese won’t use it as an excuse, it would be human nature to have entered 2011 highly frustrated over two consecutive second-place finishes in angler-of-the-year races (2009 and 2010).
But this year, he’s back in the hunt. With a win at this year's West Point Lake Elite event, Reese is feeling the magic again.
“This year I’m fishing a lot more ‘in the moment.’ I’m more confident in my decision-making, not feeling the pressure and the stress. A lot of times when you get under pressure, you get tight and tense and scared to make adjustments, and you can blow a tournament that way.” Reese said.
Reese will tell you all the things many anglers will tell you when they work their way out of slumps. He will tell you that he had to regain focus and that he learned from mistakes. And he will tell you the real key, which is that he has regained his confidence.
He will even add that he has redefined his personal priorities, making efforts to give more back to his community and make sure that every day he’s being the father that his children need.
But those are psychological, philosophical and family issues. When you ask what specifically brought about the new focus and confidence, the answer is not traditional.
“To be honest, I think the difference is the exercise program I’m doing. The more fit I get, the more confident I feel. I’m in the best shape I’ve been in in a long, long time,” Reese said.
Specifically, the program Reese is following is CrossFit, a combination of exercise, gymnastics and Olympic-style weight lifting. The idea is to force an athlete to perform intense, high-energy functional movements that demand all-out physical exertion.
Exercises include stepping on blocks, weight-lifting, throwing medicine balls against a wall, pull-ups, rope climbing and running, just to name a few. You name it; he’s likely performed some variation of it.
“I’ve done a bunch of other programs, but nothing has gotten me into this kind of shape,” Reese said.
“It’s everything. I’ll do Olympic bar lifting, squats, pull-ups, climbing ropes. Sometimes you throw medicine balls against the wall or do box-jumps. Every day is different. There’s a lot of work on legs and shoulders, a lot of core work. My forearms have never been so packed.”
Dan O’Sullivan, a close friend to Reese, said, “I hadn’t seen Skeet in a while until recently. He was getting out of his truck and I said, ‘Wow, what have you been doing?’
“Skeet has always been a guy that takes care of himself, but he’s really taken well to the CrossFit training. And I absolutely know it’s had a positive effect on his fishing.”