Whatever level of paintball player you are, there’s always room to tweak your game and take it up a wee notch. We’ve got a lot of players coming through our Bedlam Paintball Edinburgh gates this month, which is great for such a cold January(!), but if you’re waiting until Spring starts before you get out there again, then now is a good time to consider what changes you could make to improve your playing.
We’ve covered lots of handy paintball tactics before, but here’s a few more to get you thinking about how you play and, importantly, how your mates might play too.
When we say ‘bunker’ we don’t just mean a hole in the ground, we mean anything that gives you cover. Could be a ditch, or an upturned barrel, or even a tree. A common misconception in fast-paced paintball is that a bunker will provide enough cover if most of your body is hidden. Take a look at most players the next time you’re out in a game zone, you’ll probably notice that most of them don’t make the most of bunkers and, instead, assume that covering the bulk of their body is good enough. Never under-estimate how accurate the opposition’s shots can be, stay tight into bunkers and only stick the occasional head or marker out to see or shoot.
Learn to fire with both hands
This follows on from the point above actually. If you’re cornered behind a crate or a log, then you will probably naturally take shots from the right hand side of the bunker if you’re right handed, as this is the side where you can get your marker out without exposing too much of your profile. After a while though, the opposition will be savvy to this and will be waiting for your head to pop round the next time. Instead, try and get used to firing accurately with your other hand, as this will let you really make the most of a bunker. Sounds impossible right? Well markers have very little recoil from shots, so as long as you can hold it then you should be fine.
Give it a go next, what’s the worst that can happen?
Practice under pressure
Most paintball players don’t really get the chance to practice much (as paintballs can be a bit expensive if you’re not making the most of them), so if you do practice, make sure you know how to do it properly. Sure you might be able to hit every target (or empty can) at a fair distance in your garden, but that’s not going to help you unless you’re appointed the team sniper. What you need to be able to do if hit all those targets, but with movement thrown in to.
Set up a small obstacle course; just a couple of cones will do really. Now jogging in a figure of eight around them, take pot shots at the targets and measure how well you do. You’ll soon start to see which side you aim best from and where your accuracy could be improved.
Be a Zen Master
I spoke to one paintball enthusiast you said he treated each game like it was a heist movie. Beforehand he would survey the terrain and get an understanding of where he had to be and, importantly, where the opposition would most likely go. Use any chance you get to take in your environment as, and it might sounds daft, it means when you are actually playing, you can rely far more on your instincts rather than having to watch your footing constantly.
Visualise the win, know your escape routes and predict what the enemy might do in advance.
Be Flexible, not predictable
If you’ve just won a game thanks to a classic 3-man manoeuvre of two keeping consistently providing cover whilst the third storms the enemy’s bunker, then don’t try the same thing in the next game. Likewise if you’re usually the front guy, take the opportunity to go sniper or wingman for a game or two. Not only will this keep the other team guessing, but it will also improve your overall game and make you a far better all-round paintball player.