Playing any sport without the proper warm-up exercises is asking for trouble and so it is with paintball. Paintball strategies often require fast dodging, ducking, running, rolling and lots of other exercise that you would normally not do. Therefore, if you don’t take the time to warm up properly, you could strain or tear ligaments, tendons and muscles. This could cause ongoing problems, as once something is strained or torn it is weakened and more likely to tear again. Not only that, but it will mean that you’ll miss out on lots of fun while you wait for it to heal.
One of the best ways to warm up is to take a brisk walk or slow jog around the playing field prior to play. This will get the blood circulation going and warm up the muscles and ligaments ready for the next stage, which should be some stretches. Do similar stretches to what athletes do before they compete in marathons or other events. Note: it is important to warm up before doing stretches or damage could result.
All areas of the body need to be stretched, especially the legs. Legs do lots of work in all the moves that paintball requires. Lunges and squats are good to stretch your leg muscles. Keeping the body upright, take one step forward. The rear foot should be kept flat on the floor. You’ll be able to feel the back of that leg stretching. Gently bend the knee of the forward leg up and down several times. Alternate legs in turn.
Another good stretch is to bring the knee as far up towards the chin as possible while standing in an upright position. Keep the back as straight as possible. This also stretches the lower back. To keep your balance you may lean your back against a wall if you need to.
Arms can be swung around in a variety of ways to provide stretching. Swinging them in circles or back and forth also stretches the shoulders and shoulder blades.
Once the game is finished, you need to warm down to relax the muscles and prevent those aches and pains that sometimes cause problems. Walking around a bit and then doing some more stretches will help prevent aches and cramps that sometimes happen after strenuous exercise.
If you’ve shed warm clothes during the game, be sure to put them back on as soon as you’ve finished to prevent chills and take care of muscles.
Since teamwork is of utmost importance in the game of paintball, it is imperative to have a team that respects each other’s weaknesses and esteems their strengths. A good leader will take advantage of each person’s skill levels and physical fitness in organizing the play.
Communication skills should be encouraged because it is impossible for team members to help each other unless they know what the trouble is and the position of the player in need. One way to help build teamwork is to have a set of easy to remember signals that everyone can learn. These can be funny words or whistles that will mean different things and be puzzling to the enemy.
New members should be encouraged to communicate because they often don’t want to for fear of advertising their position. But once they are being shot at, their position is already known and so it is important for them to call for help, rather than try and find a way out on their own.
Once they see that the other team members are ready and willing to help them out of a tight spot, they will begin to realize the benefit of teamwork. Then it won’t be long before they are expending extra effort in trying to help their teammates.
Another way to foster teamwork is empowerment. Each person should be allowed to express an opinion or offer a game plan without being embarrassed or put down by the leader or other team members. Questions should be answered in a way that is not patronizing or judgmental. Decisions should be made as a team rather than as one person being the boss.
If someone doesn’t keep to the plan and the team then loses, they should not be made to feel at fault. After all, this is a game and having fun should be paramount. You can encourage a better effort for the next round. Effort should be complimented, even if the goal failed.
Paintball is a game that works best when teamwork is the focus of activities. Even simply playing the game will foster teamwork, as many people have found to their delight. Companies often encourage their staff to play paintball in an effort to foster teamwork in the workplace. In some cases it works admirably, but in other cases the above strategies need to be put into place as well, otherwise divisions that are already in place become worse.
Paintball is a competitive sport that requires players to eliminate the opposition to win. This usually requires skills of both stealth and strategy. Since some games are played in a forest-like environment, stealth is necessary to get past the opposing team members without getting hit and so eliminated. Stealth rather than speeding, may win the day in many cases.
The ability to develop a strategy to achieve the goals of the game is paramount. Whether it is to steal a flag while retaining your own or to storm and hold a certain area like a hill or castle, a good strategy could mean victory. Not only do you need to be able to think up a good strategy, but you also need to be able to carry it through. This is especially important if the other members of the team are depending on you to do something or be somewhere at a certain time.
Communications skilled are important; you need to be able to explain your plans in a way that is concise and logical so that the other members of the team can follow them easily. You also need to be able to think and plan for yourself. If one plan of action does not seem to be working out, then another one must be implemented immediately. A quick decision may be necessary to escape from the opposing team.
Good aim is certainly a skill that the game of paintball requires. All the stealth and planning in the world won’t help if you can’t hit your target. Self-discipline would also be required so that you don’t get carried away by the excitement and keep shooting at a target that has been eliminated. This would not only make you a bad sportsman, but also use up ammunition that may be needed in the near future.
While physical fitness such as running and crawling and rolling may be required, it is considered that strategy and planning are even more important.
Different skills are needed for different types of games. Speed and good aim may be essential for one type, while stealth and the ability to crawl through rough terrain without making any noise may be of prime importance in another type.
Teamwork and presence of mind are considered to be important skills in playing paintball and where they are lacking, frequent play can help them be attained, as it can with other skills. Playing paintball gives the newcomer a chance to develop skills that he may not otherwise be able to do.
There’s no doubt about it, the game of paintball is increasing in popularity. While it was first invented to demonstrate the thrill of hunting while remaining in a safe environment, it has been found by many to be a game that challenges the wits. To play most sports competitively, the player needs to be young, strong, fit and agile. To play paintball well, physical strength is often secondary to mental alertness and skill, which gives older players a chance to defeat someone who may be younger and stronger. Women can play against men; age can play against youth and the not so fit can play against those in the prime of fitness and still have a good chance of winning. This is opposite to the world of sports like tennis, soccer and football and other athletic pursuits that are seen in the Olympic Games, where only the youngest and fittest are likely to win.Paintball helps to develop teamwork, since the game is played most often by teams.
Rules in the game of paintball vary considerably from play to play or team-to-team, so players should ask about the rules for each game they play. However there are certain rules that have become standard.
Rules of actual play are that when players are hit by a paintball, they are out. They are also out if tapped by the barrel of a marker (gun). This is often preferred to ‘shooting’ when at close range, since paintball hits close up can be quite painful. If playing a recreational game as opposed to a tournament, players must be given the chance to surrender, rather than be hit at close range. It is considered unsporting to deliberately fire at close range, due to the pain this causes. However, this latter rule is interpreted widely in varying games.
Since paintballs often fly thick and fast in a game, it is quite possible that one could break on an object near to a player and he will then get splattered with paint. When this happens, he is not considered to be out, but may play on.
In a tournament, there is no surrender rule enforcement. Players are fired at until the referee calls out or the paint breaks.
While most consider a hit anywhere on the body to be out, in some games such as Scenario, the hit must be on the torso, with hits on markers or limbs not counted. If a paintball does not break on hitting a player, that person is not out. A person who is eliminated must not shoot at others.
Referees are used throughout the game to make sure of a valid hit, as a player cannot always tell if he has been spattered enough with paint to count as out. To get help from the referee, the player must call “Paint check!”. When this happens the player is called ‘neutral’ and must not be shot at nor should he shoot at others. Players may count themselves out by calling “I’m out” or “I’m hit”. They are also out if they leave the start station before play commences, or if they overstep the boundary.
The team incurs penalties if one player tries to hide signs of a hit. This is referred to as ‘wiping’ and often means that two or even three members of the team are eliminated, as well as the one who actually cheated.
Overshooting, where an eliminated player is constantly shot at, and blind firing, where a player shoots when he cannot see what he is firing at, e.g., around a corner, are both frowned upon as dangerous.
Outdoor paintball games can be of several different varieties. Apart from the three major types of games, that is, Elimination, Capture the Flag and King of the Hill, the types of outdoor paintball games are Woodsball, Speedball, Tournament Paintball and Stock Class. These days players mostly prefer to play paintball at commercial outdoors facilities.
Commercial paintball enterprises have everything a player could want, not only to play the game, but for before and after the game. You can hire the clothing and equipment there; there are often barbeque facilities or canteens that sell food and drinks as well as showers, toilets and shelter from inclement weather for the spectators. And don’t forget the all-important car-parking facilities.
More importantly, referees are provided and everyone must learn and obey the safety rules as well as the game rules. If the outdoors play is conducted on private land, there are usually none of these facilities and the injury rate is much higher due to neglect of safety rules and regulations. The landowners can be liable for injuries to the players, especially if they charge a fee for the use of their land.
Outdoor paintball can be played on a manmade arena similar to the indoor ones for speedball, since that is the most popular of the games. Nearly everyone likes to play this faster game and be able to see their opponents. Spectators also like it for its entertainment value. At least they can see what is happening at all times during speedball, while with Woodsball the trees and bushes hide much of the play.
Woodsball is played in the woods, as its name suggests. While it may be a slower game, more players can take part at the one time, in fact the fun of the game in enhanced by many players. Skill, stealth and patience are more necessary ingredients of Woodsball than speedball. Techniques and tactics are brought into play in an endeavor to outwit the opposing team.
Other outdoor areas where paintball may be played are at fairgrounds, stadiums or military bases. The best part is that both insurance and trained staff is available here also. These places are ideal for Tournament Paintball as there are many people to enjoy watching. The game played is nearly always speedball, though some of the rules differ slightly in tournament play.
Outdoor paintball is a game requiring good fitness and energy levels, but if you don’t have these, you can still get in with a chance by employing wit and stealth in a game of Woodsball rather than speedball. It could be that your fitness levels will increase quite a bit with your enthusiasm for the game.
Even though paintball was started up as an outdoors game, it can be played indoors. The benefits of playing indoors are that you can play after dark; you can play if it’s raining without getting wet and it doesn’t matter if it’s snowing either. The temperature can be controlled indoors, which is great because those markers don’t like to fire in extremes of hot or cold. Too hot and the gelatin capsules stick together causing jams in the loading tube and too cold effects the air expansion necessary for firing.
Indoors paintball is limited to commercial enterprises of course, where there is enough room to play. Many are rather limited in space, which some players do not like. Because of the limited space, the games are usually played at a fast and furious pace, while many outdoors games are a bit slower, depending on the area.
Indoor paintball is often played with reusable paintballs. That is, they don’t break and splatter you with colored paint on impact. While this makes it a bit harder to be sure if you scored a hit, it does keep the area free of wet paint that would be hard to clean up. Some players feel that it is easier to cheat about being hit when there is no visible proof.
Others complain that they are hit more than necessary. This may be because the capsules that are used in indoor paintball are rather harder than the paint filled variety. Indoor reusable paintballs are supposed to be fired at only 250 f/per second to prevent injury due to the extra hardness.
With the play area being so limited and also enclosed, the noise of the markers going off is a great deal louder. In fact, many players choose to wear earplugs for this reason. Other safety gear such as goggles, helmet, face and ear masks, and gloves are also necessary. Paint splashes are not the only thing the player needs to be protected from.
Speedball is the game that is frequently played at indoor paintball arenas due to its suitability to a smaller area. In speedball the area played in is about as big as half a football field. While there are no trees or foliage, there are man-made obstacles and bunkers. The players are able to see each other right from the first moment of play and are also within shooting range. There are mostly fewer players than in other forms of paintball, with three to ten being the usual number.
Safety rules are strictly enforced in paintball. Since a paintball travels at 300 feet or 90 meters a second it can cause considerable damage if it hits a player directly in the eye. For this reason it is necessary to wear goggles, or preferably a goggle and mask set that will also protect the ears (with flaps) and the rest of the face. Some have visors to shade the eyes from glare.
These goggle and mask sets have been specially designed for paintball, so don’t buy just any goggles; they may not withstand the impact of a shattering paintball. Safety equipment can be hired at commercial paintball stations or bought from specialist stores. If you play a lot it would probably be cheaper to buy your own gear.
Even spectators who stand near the play area are required to wear the goggles and mask for safety. It is not only possible that a marker could discharge accidentally, but players firing at the opposing team cannot always keep the paintballs within the field of play – not every paintball will hit its intended target. Children should wear a padded jacket as an extra precaution.
When a player asks for a paint check to see if he is truly out, then the referee may call him ‘neutral’ to aid in a closer check. This effectively stops play until the check has been performed in safety.
Surrender can be offered to those who have been surprised at close range, rather than shooting them, which will be quite painful up close. The bunker tap rule ensures that players who have been caught in a bunker should be tapped with the barrel of the marker to eliminate them, rather than shot at. Some of the safety rules that apply in recreational paintball do not apply in tournament play. Surrender is not usually offered and the player is shot at until he is called out by a referee or so satisfactorily covered with paint that there can be no mistaking his elimination status.
Firing at someone who has removed his or her mask is a major safety violation, whether it is done on purpose or accidentally. For this reason, blind firing – where the player may be tempted to fire around a corner when he cannot see what’s there – is frowned upon.
When the safety rules are strictly adhered to, paintball is considered an extremely safe sport, with only about 0.2 injuries over the course of 1,000 plays.
A basic marker for paintball consists of a barrel and body with a hopper (loader) above and an air tank below. The hopper contains the spare paintballs, while the air tank uses compressed air or carbon dioxide to propel them. Each component may now vary from the first markers used in early games.
The first markers could only hold a limited number of paintballs – about 10 or 12. They also had a pump action and a low rate of fire. Since most of the early games consisted of stalking and the game was quite slow compared to today’s games, this was sufficient.
Those paintball players who prefer to use these early markers are called stock-class players. They feel the game is best played as a game of skill and patience rather than speed. However, progress will have its way in all areas, so now markers are made with quite a few significant differences. Electronic models can cost thousands of dollars, but most recreational players are content with middle-of-the-range markers.
The design of the marker body has been altered to achieve better balance and compactness. It has been made of lighter materials so the hopper and air tank size can be increased. This means that more ammunition can be fired for a longer period of time without any problems.
On markers that now cock automatically, triggers are set to have a light and short pull distance with the use of carefully adjusted pneumatics.
Hoppers – the part that holds the extra paintballs – can work by gravity feed, force feed or agitating. The two latter give a higher rate of fire, but can be compromised through dead batteries or moisture contact, making them a poor choice for Woodsball and Scenario players. Gravity feed hoppers seem to work the best, but there are still problems with balls jamming as they go down the tube.
The jamming problem can be alleviated to a great extent by rocking the marker, or by the shaking and recoil that occurs when firing, but those with electronic triggers don’t shake so the problem of jamming is exacerbated.
Agitating hoppers, as the name implies, stir up the paintballs at the neck of the tube to prevent jamming. There are two types of agitating hoppers. Electric markers often have an agitating hopper with a LED and photo detector that can tell if a ball is in the firing chamber. These can prevent the gun from firing if the chamber is empty. If there is no ball, they spin to free the jam, while those without eyes spin whether there is a ball there or not, thus running the batteries down more quickly.
The tank is necessary to propel the paintballs, and may use carbon dioxide (CO2) or high-pressure air (HPA). The cheaper markers mostly use the former. Since it works by vaporization, its effectiveness is compromised in cold weather.
Just as any game need the player to practice a great deal before he can give of his best, so the game of paintball needs to be practiced to increase the level of skill. No one can expect to develop the skills necessary without practice, yet the game itself is comparatively expensive, so how can practice be had without actually playing? Drills are the answer.
Since accuracy is one of the most important skills in paintball, you can develop this simply by shooting at a target. A box placed at different distances will suffice, and if you purchase reusable balls the costs will be minimal – after the initial investment. Some of the following drills may need balls that are paint-filled rather than re-useables, to make it easier to see if you’ve hit your target.
Of course, in a game of paintball, you don’t always stand still to shoot, so you’ll need to practice shooting in a variety of other ways. Snap shooting is when you jump out from a safe position such as behind a bunker or tree to shoot, then jump back again. Snap shooting with a partner can make it more fun, especially if he is trying to shoot you at the same time. Practice snap shooting faster and faster until you can jump out, shoot and get back to cover within two seconds, without getting hit yourself.
Shooting a still target accurately whilst on the run is another skill to develop through the use of drills. You don’t need a partner for this; simply set up boxes to the right and left, far enough away to present a challenge. Shoot at them as you run past, using both left and right hands.
A partner will be essential to practice a drill called sweet spotting. This is when you are firing at a running target. You must imitate real play by keeping your marker pointing away from the target, but your feet and head should be facing them. As they run, try to estimate a position in front of them to fire at, so that by the time they get there, your ball will hit them. If you fire directly at a running target, you will miss due to the time it takes the ball to travel.
Dodge-ball drills can be great fun with your partner too. Keeping about 20 yards from each other, shoot off a single shot in turn and practice dodging it. When you are proficient at dodging single shots, try it with multiple shots.