When it boils down to it, paintball is a game of elimination. Whatever the Game Zone, whatever the mission, it’s about you eliminating the opposition, without them getting you first. Unlike a lot of adventure pursuits though, paintball gives you the opportunity to improve your skills each time you play, as you learn the basics, develop your own style, and then start to make strategic decisions. These decisions are what we call tactics and believe us, with a few tips under your belt, you’ll last a lot longer in the field of play.
Know the mission objective inside out. If you have to storm the enemies fortress or claim their flag as your own, always consider exactly what they have to do to stop you. Of course, the minute you’re in a Game Zone, all you want to do is take aim and start using your marker, but trust us, if you don’t consider the opposition’s moves, then they’re already at a distinct advantage.
They say that a Premier League midfielder can place their position on the field to within one or two metres based entirely on where their team-mates are (some teams more than others I suspect, England?), and this is a skill which is useful in paintball. It’s a team sport, so know where your wingmen are at all times. Also, we’re not expecting you to have the mathematics skills of Rain Man, but try and keep a rough track of how many paintballs you have left in your hopper too; as you really don’t want to get caught short.
Even in the calm before the storm, have your wits about you. If a bunker looks too good to be true, perhaps it is. Is it well defended, in a clearing, viewable from an enemy vantage point? Better safe than sorry. Also evolution has apparently given our subconscious the ability to recognise human faces far quicker than human bodies, so keep low when you’re running, and crouch down when stationery. Basically don’t stand around like an idiot.
It’s only newbies that need to be reminded to keep control of their trigger finger, however that bit of advice can go a little further too. If you want to mark the opposition, don’t shoot unless you have a clear shot, otherwise you’ll give away your position and waste paintballs. If you want to target individuals, a good technique is for one of you to fire around their position to keep them stationery, giving your team mate the chance to creep up and get them unexpectedly. Genius.
If you are stuck in a Wild West-style bunker to bunker standoff, where you fire one shot, duck, your opponent fires one shot, ducks, then try this. After you fire your shot, stay up and keep aim on your opponent’s bunker. Don’t fire and stay quiet, they’ll think you’ve ducked back down. As soon as they pop up to fire, you can get a quick chest shot in.
These are enough to keep any player in the game a little longer, but I’ll be handing out some more tactics tips in future blog posts, so stay tuned.