Nobody starts out as a paintball pro. There’s no shame in learning, but you may not want to feel embarrassed and clueless on your first trip out to the paintball field.
Becoming an excellent paintball player involves developing a sharp intuition and great aim, there are a few basics you can nail before you suit up and hit the grass.
A little education has never hurt anyone, and knowing some of the basic rules and safety standards can make your first paintball outing flow smoothly. With a little practice and some clever strategizing, you’ll find yourself slowly climbing the ranks and defeating some of your most skilled, experienced paintball buddies.
Learning to Play Safely
While paintball is generally a safe sport, there are a few things you need to consider. One is that, despite the projectiles being designed to explode on impact, they can travel at almost 300 miles per hour when they’re fired from a high-powered gun. If you aren’t taking the right safety measures, paintballs can hurt – especially if they hit you in the face.
Most paintball fields have zones where it’s safe for players to remove their masks. Never fire in those zones, and keep your mask on at all times unless you’re in this safe spot. Hitting someone on their bare face with a paintball can cause some serious damage.
You should also be sure that you never store your paintball gun with the tank attached. Whenever you aren’t using it, pop the lever to release the tank so you can be sure to avoid accidental misfires.
Never leave your gun where children can get to them.
Following Common Etiquette
Paintball enthusiasts take the sport very seriously. Many of them have devoted tons of time and money to mastering the craft, and there are a certain set of rules they abide by. If you want to become a paintball player, you’ll have to adopt the same rules.
One of the biggest rules is that there’s no lying in paintball. If you were hit, you’re out. There’s no if’s, and’s, or but’s about it. If you aren’t sure whether or not you were hit, you can ask to check for paint. Most games have a referee, who will be able to make the call.
If someone hits you, don’t immediately call them a cheater. Some players are especially skilled, and they’re capable of making great plays and landing great shots. If you think someone is cheating regularly, it’s best to avoid playing with them.
The Strategic Formula for Playing Alone
If you’re playing alone as part of a free-for-all game, your success or failure depends on the decisions you make independently. While you’re learning your personal style, the style of your opponents, and making the observations necessary to help you win a match, there are a few things you’ll want to be doing to keep yourself from getting knocked out before you can attack.
Hiding is crucial. Paintball fields have all kinds of little hiding places. Trees, boulders, crates, and forts provide players with places to camp out and watch their opponents.
While you shouldn’t stay in the same spot for too long, you also don’t want to move around and expose yourself carelessly. Before you move from spot to spot, make sure the coast is clear.
Set your sights on where you want to go – never improvise. Your goal is to get from point A to point B without being spotted by your opponents.
It’s important to remember that you won’t get very far if all you’re doing is camping out. You do need to be on the move, as someone will inevitably stumble upon your hiding place. Staying covered won’t provide you with any opportunities to make shots, so you’ll have to be bold and explore a little bit.
For the best potential outcome, you’ll need to make sure the element of surprise is on your side.
Trying to shoot from a covered spot may not work out so well for you, especially if you haven’t mastered aiming. Firing a missed shot can reveal to your opponents where you’re hiding, giving them the prime opportunity to fire first.
When you see an opponent you’d like to take out, your best bet is to run for them. If they see you coming and they weren’t prepared, their first impulse will be to run. You’ll be more likely to hit them than they will be to hit you.
If you want any chance at success, you’ll need to find the right level of confidence. Being brazen and running around out in the open for extended periods will leave you too vulnerable.
An opponent can come from any side and take you out. Being gun shy and preferring to sequester yourself won’t give you any opportunities.
The best paintball players understand the proper balance between bravery and reservation. Though the balance will sometimes change based on the opponents you’re playing with, there’s always the right amount.
Just make sure you don’t spend too much time observing. You can’t afford to overthink the situation and miss out on prime opportunities to take down your targets.
Strategizing as a Team Player
When you’re new to the game and you’re playing with others who are more experienced than you, your best bet is to allow them to impart their wisdom. If you have any ideas, mention them, but don’t assume you’re fit to run the team. The other players want to win even more than you do – they’re highly invested in the sport, and they know what it takes to succeed.
When you’re a team player, do less talking and more listening. Even if your team doesn’t win, you’re still gaining valuable insight that you can apply in the next round.
Watch the people around you, follow their lead, and try to mimic their behaviors. After all, most people are visual learners. Seeing a well-played game or two may be all it takes to help you develop your personal style.