Why would you want to do that? I can almost hear you all collectively scream at your computers. Well, there are a few reasons, but the most obvious reason is also the most annoying.
Practice makes perfect
As far as hobbies go, paintball isn’t particularly expensive (not like yachting expensive anyway), but it’s still pricey enough to stop most people from practising it outside of an actual day’s playing. Unlike say, the guitar, paintball players don’t often go into a game having mastered each move and shot, and then spend the next hour showcasing their hours’ of hard work. No, paintball players generally learn everything whilst playing; in the thick of it. Or ‘baptism by fire’ is another term oft applied.
So why practise when you’re not playing then? The simplest reason is because you can. Sure paintballs can get a little expensive if you’re just shooting them at a target, so I don’t expect anyone to spend much time or money doing that, but there are other ways to build up your paintball skills in preparation for the next battle.
Get seriously used to your equipment
If you’re fortunate enough to own your own marker, then make it your best mate. You should be able to strip it and reassemble it Full Metal Jacket-style of course, but also practise using it. If you’re right-handed then try and get used to using it in your left hand. I mentioned the other day 5 ways to improve your paintball game and being ambidextrous is definitely a sure way to get ahead.
Know your body’s limitations
I don’t mean running 10 clicks with a full backpack on, I just mean test driving a few moves before you have to do them for real. If there’s a field or woodland nearby, don’t be afraid to try a few dives or rolls to see if you’re as well balanced as you thought you are. You don’t want to be mid-game, only to take a running leap into a belly crawl and land very uncomfortably on your marker. Ouch. This is a great way to really test your positioning too. How does your body lie behind bunkers? How quickly can you dive onto your front and get back up again?
The same could be said for just generally getting in shape a little. Though you only move in small, rapid bursts, a day’s paintball can be a real endurance effort for a lot of players, so by increasing your lung capacity you can seriously improve your game too.
Know the score
It might not sound like practice, but brushing up on some paintball tactics is a great way to prepare yourself without splashing the cash. Get on YouTube and watch how other players do it. Better still, if you can get along to the field you’ll be playing on then you can see firsthand exactly what works and doesn’t work in real life.
Take aim and actually fire
If you’re serious about your game though, at some point you’ll have to incorporate aiming into your training routine. Don’t worry though, as you don’t have to plough your way through thousands of paintballs in order to get good. Invest in bag of reballs – reusable paintballs – and the world’s your oyster. Obviously these don’t explode on impact, so a regular target’s no good; you’ll have to set up targets to physically knock down. Try all the usual distances, apply the same safety precautions and, once you’re getting good, try hitting the targets whilst moving round a small obstacle course.
That’s the tricky bit!