How to Play Paintball Like a Pro
To get the most out of paintball, you need to understand a few simple rules. You’re not trying to remake the climax of Scarface, spraying everyone and everything in sight like a crazed Al Pacino. Sure, paintball is about strength and speed, but there’s a whole lot more in the way of tactics and skills required if you want to play like a professional. Let’s consider some of the lessons you can learn to turn your paintball game into a fulfilling, rewarding experience.
Dressed up in full gear, marker in hand, it’s tempting to run wild, but remember that paintball is a team game. The lone-wolf player has no place in it, and if you play this way, you will very quickly be brought down. Working together means knowing what your teammates are doing and where they should be at any one time makes it much easier to provide cover, make advances, fall back safely or launch surprise assaults. Playing and succeeding as a unit also gives a powerful sense of satisfaction and is part of what has made the sport so popular.
To work effectively in a team, every member needs to agree on a strategy and understand their individual role in it. Whether you’re launching an attack or you’ve been forced onto the defensive, you need to work together according to the tactics that will make the most of everyone’s contribution. Resist the urge as the adrenaline flows to be an action hero; you have a job to do and if you deviate to go it alone, you or one of your teammates may well pay the price. There is not only strength but also safety and success in numbers.
Even on your home ground, you can’t afford to be complacent about the territory. You need to be constantly aware of your surroundings, where you are in relation to your teammates and the opposition. As you move, draw a mental map of the terrain so you can read the field and anticipate the unexpected. Look for potential cover ahead of you and safe vantage points behind you should you need to retreat. When you're away from home on unfamiliar ground, you need to be even more alert.
React and Adapt
Plans were made to be changed. Often your team’s strategy may need to be revised on the go. Be ready to shift your focus and accept a change to your role. Look ahead and think around corners because the enemy might not be coming from the obvious spot, and unless you spread your attention across the whole field, you could easily get caught out.
At those moments when it gets eerily quiet, resist the temptation to stay still. Danger can hide in the silence. If you keep moving, you’ll be much harder to spot and pin down. A moving target is safer than a sitting one, and you’ll be of much more use to your team if you’re on the advance and closing in on the enemy than if you are trying to stay in a safe zone that isn’t as safe as you imagine.
Sometimes a noisy, all-guns-blazing assault is just what’s needed, but at other times, the discreet, silent approach is more effective. Hiding, crouching, inching quietly forwards, and blending in with the surroundings are all great ways to advance towards your goal while making sure you keep in close contact with your teammates.
One of the worst things that can happen on the field of play is coming face to face with the enemy only to find your marker is empty or jammed. There’s a lot to think about as the game progresses, but don’t forget to keep your supply of paintballs regularly replenished and feeding freely. A hopper like the HK Army model could be a lifesaver.
If you know you have a tendency to be trigger-happy, you’ll want to make sure you start the game with more than the 500-600 paintballs an average player will use.
Paintball is an extreme sport, so safety is paramount. Make sure your clothing and equipment are in excellent condition and pay particular attention to your neck, hands and chest protection with a combo like this Maddog Set.
Confidence and Fun
Above all, believe in yourself and your team. You’ve trained, practiced and planned, so now you can get out there and enjoy yourself. Paintball is an extremely physical game, but it demands intelligence; concentration, teamwork, lateral thinking and a clear, workable strategy are what you need to win.