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If you’re about to play paintball for the very first time or you’ve already tried it, are hooked and want to improve your game, this advice is for you. Paintball is a great sport that, unlike many other sports, lets complete beginners play with the pros, so if you don’t want to stand out like a total amateur, try to follow this advice.
Even if you are going to a game where all the safety equipment is provided, it still pays to be prepared. Wear comfortable, loose-fitting clothing and remember that most organized games provide a coverall, so don’t layer up too much or you’ll overheat. Comfortable shoes with a good grip and ankle support are a must. Remember extra cash for anything you might want to buy on the day and plenty of high-energy snacks.
Finally, don’t wear anything you wouldn’t want to get dirty. Stick to dark colors for hiding stains and for hiding yourself better because light and bright colors make you stand out on the game field. Cover your skin wherever you can; paintballs come in hard and fast, and you’re going to be kneeling, crawling and possibly even diving around through the game, so you’ll save yourself a lot of scratches. Pro tip: be sure to take clean clothes to change into for traveling home!
If you’ve got the paintball bug, you’re going to want to start buying your own equipment. Goggles, either on their own or in a full face mask, are a must to protect your eyes. If you want to cushion the impact of paintballs elsewhere, consider adding a chest and/or neck protector plus some elbow and knee pads. A head wrap or headband cushions you from a paintball to the back of the head and keeps sweat out of your goggles, but a simple baseball cap worn backwards does the job, too.
Look at the range of marker guns available and ask for recommendations in paintball forums online. Depending on which type of game you prefer - speedball or woodsball - you might opt for a lightweight marker or a realistic MilSim (Military Simulation) style. The entry-level priced guns perform well if you’re starting out and can’t quite stretch to an electronic trigger with force-fed hopper just yet. Take a look at this Tippmann Cronus that combines high performance with incredible durability for an entry-level gun. It allows plenty of modifications as your budget grows.
If you’re looking at entering all-day woodsball style games, consider getting yourself a harness and some pods so you have enough paintballs to last the game. The MADDOG Pro Paintball Harness Pod Vertical Holder Belt comes in three varieties for different budgets and can hold up to nine pods for even the longest of games.
Paintball is a team game, so don’t go screaming into the field like Rambo in a red mist as soon as the horn sounds or you’ll soon be yelling “Out!”. Before the game, try to help plan your team’s attack or defense because a game plan will give you all a better chance of success. Once you’re on the field, don’t shout out your location unnecessarily but once you’ve been seen, shout out the positions of the enemy to your own team, then pair up and flank other players. Work together for the best results.
You won’t take ground from behind a bunker, and if you give the opposing team more ground, they’ll outflank you. We know it can be scary coming out from behind that first bunker at the back of the field, but if you move up, you’ll be of more use to your team. Don’t just jump up and run - peek your head out for a fraction of a second first to see where the other team is, and when you do leave the cover, you’ll already know where to aim.
Humans have evolved to predict the trajectory of straight moving objects. Even a new player can hit a player running towards them in a straight line. Move sideways and zig-zag, make yourself harder to hit while you keep your eyes fixed on the point you're aiming for. Chuck a duck-and-roll in there if you like. Just don’t go straight.
We hope this advice helps. Whatever you do, the best advice we have is to have fun and really get into the game.
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