1. Don’t be afraid
Getting hit by a paintball hurts less than you might expect. Yes it can sting, yes it can even leave a little mark, but a moment or two later and you’ll have forgotten all about it and will be raring to get back in the game.
Some new players are so worried about being hit that they spend all of their first game hiding behind a tree. Not only is this a fairly boring way to spend your first paintball game, but it also isn’t a particularly good way of avoiding getting hit either.
This is because better players will move much more quickly into much better positions, putting you at a disadvantage. So bite the bullet and move yourself – it’s only paint!
If you are really worried about getting hit, try wearing some light gloves and a couple of extra layers under your overalls. You might get hot, but you probably won’t feel a thing.
2. Do remember to keep your mask on at all times in the paintball areas
The importance of this rule is impossible to underestimate.
Keeping your face protected is the best way to ensure that your first game of paintball is as safe and enjoyable as it can possibly be.
3. Don’t give away your position if it will put you at a disadvantage
Firing your gun will give away your position.
There’s generally only three reasons to fire your marker:
1. You can see an opponent, and you know that you have a good chance of tagging them.
2. You know that your opponent is behind cover, and you’d like to keep them there by laying down a hail of paint so that a teammate can move into a new position.
3. You’d like to ‘wake up’ your trigger before a game (test that your marker is working properly).
Don’t waste paint by firing at opponents that are too far away or too deep in cover. Instead, stay quick and quiet until you’ve found yourself a better position.
4. Do remember that spotting your opponent is an important advantage
In paintball, a player that can’t see his opponent won’t beat his opponent.
New players are often tempted to keep their heads down. But this is actually a dangerous tactic, as it can allow enemy players to surround you before you have a chance to respond.
Remember to scan the field quickly and carefully to identify enemy players and strategic positions. Ideally, try to do this in under three seconds. This is because it takes one second for an opponent to notice you, another second for them to take aim, and one more second for them to cover you in paint!
5. Don’t expose more of your body than you have to…
When you are popping out of cover for a peek, try to expose as little of your body area as possible to the opposition. Preferably just enough to see and fire.
If you do look out to the right from your cover, and spot the opposition, it’s generally a good idea to pop out to take a shot from the left side of your cover. They’ll be expecting you to come from the right again, so by changing your position you make it more difficult for your opponent to tag you.
6. Do talk to your teammates as much as possible
Knowledge is something that can win or lose you paintball games. By communicating with your team, you share your knowledge with the entire group.
Communicating before the game is essential. By devising a simple plan, such as allocating players to different positions on the field, you make your team a much more effective unit.
Communication during the game is also key. Whisper your plan to the person next to you before you make a run for it, and they’ll be able to provide covering fire. Telling your teammate that you’ve tagged an opposing player helps them keep track of the number of targets left on the field.
Don’t shout “I’m about to run to that tree!” so that the enemy can hear too though. That’s just asking for trouble.
7. Don’t call yourself ‘dead’ too soon
If you get hit by a paintball, it will either break, meaning that you are out, or bounce, meaning that you are still in the game.
New players sometimes feel a ‘hit’ and call themselves out – without realising that the paintball which hit them hadn’t actually broken. Remember too, that it can look like you’ve been hit because a paintball burst near you and covered you in paint. Yet in most parks this doesn’t count, and you shouldn’t surrender.
When in doubt, ask a marshal to come check you for paint.
8. Do keep your eyes on the prize
Different paintball games have different objectives.
In most games this means covering the enemy in paint while avoiding getting tagged yourself, but sometimes you’ll have to defend certain positions, capture flags, or rescue a hostage. Make a plan, appoint a team captain, and work with your allies to achieve your goals.
9. Don’t get pinned down
While most new players stay too far back, a small number of newbies have the opposite problem and move too far forward too quickly.
If they aren’t tagged out immediately, they’ll be spotted by the entire enemy team and forced to make themselves as small as possible while a wall of paint is fired in their direction. It’s much better to try and think two moves ahead about your cover, and avoid choosing a dangerous position in the first place.
However, if you do find yourself pinned down, there’s no point staying quiet! Shout to your teammates and see if they can give you covering fire.
10. Do enjoy yourself!
Don’t forget that the number #1 reason that everyone’s there is to have a good time. Paintballing is an electrifying experience, that can even be a little intimidating to newcomers. But by following our top ten tips, you’ve hopefully not only learned how to be a better player, but also how to have an enjoyable paintballing experience!