A while ago I wrote a slightly tongue-in-cheek post picking all the traits of the usual clichéd styles of different paintball players called ‘What kind of paintball player are you’. I always meant to follow it up with a series looking at individual types of players and what their roles are in a team, but until now I’ve never got round to it.
Like any kind of sport or competitive game, paintball relies on a team effort in order to be fun and successful: it’d be rubbish playing paintball with just two people wouldn’t it? But what a lot of players might not realise until after a few sessions is that their team can quickly get a distinct advantage if they each choose a particular style of play and stick to it. This is how team’s are formed and this is where their strength lies. There’s no point in every team member employing the same tactics at the same time, as that would either mean no attack or no defence; neither of which you want to be without.
So instead of starting this series with an obvious team member, like the Team Leader for example, I thought we’d kick off with one of the less considered but hugely important roles – the Cover Guy. Often called a ‘utility player’ in tournament paintball, this is the man behind the man, basically. When a game kicks off there are always players holding back on the defence and players storming forward on the attack, and the cover guy is the guy (or girl of course) who has the attacking players’ backs.
Here’s how it works.
The attackers make their slow move forward whilst the defence stay behind to, usually, stop the opposition’s attackers from stealing a flag etc. However, moving forward through a paintball game can be slow initially, as both teams are trying to do the same thing. This is where covering players are essential. Often manning the sides of the game zone or the periphery of the action, it’s a cover player’s job to make sure individual attacking players can move safely from one bunker to another without fear of too much of enemy fire. This is because the cover player (who might I add is often a killer sniper shot) is taking stock of which opposing defence players are a threat and keeping their heads low with rapid or continuous fire.
To be a good ‘Cover Guy’ you need the following:
Good overall vision – keep the bigger picture in mind. Tunnel vision is for attackers. Covering players need to be able to know the lay of the whole game zone and be able to carefully figure out which players pose a threat.
A good shot – probably more so than any other player, a Cover Guy needs to be able to hit his or her mark, as that is essentially their job. They could spend the whole game in a good bunker nailing the opposition left, right and centre, but unless they can hit their mark, they’re no good to any team.
Good at communicating – they need to be able to give and receive orders clearly and quickly. Even if it’s just a quick ‘Go! NOW!’ etc.
Modesty – let’s face it, it’s not the most glamorous role. We all know people who go out of their way to make sure they’re team leader or heading the attack or whatever and, to be honest, that’s fine – ‘cos that sort of player wouldn’t make a good Cover Guy. You need to have everyone’s interest at the forefront of your game, and not be afraid to play a vital but often underappreciated role.