Hey there, future paintball champions! Are you ready to dive into the colourful world of paintball competitions? In this action-packed blog post, we’ll explore everything you need to know about this thrilling sport. So, grab your goggles, put on your battle gear, and let’s get started!
What are Paintball Competitions?
Paintball competitions are exciting events where teams face off in a series of games. Players use special guns (called markers) to shoot paint-filled pellets (called paintballs) at their opponents. When a paintball hits a player, it bursts, leaving a colourful splat. The aim of the game is to eliminate opponents by “tagging” them with paintballs or completing objectives like capturing a flag.
Different Types of Paintball Competitions
There a few different types of paintball competitions to choose from, and each one offers a unique challenge. Here are some popular game formats:
Speedball: In speedball, teams of three, five, seven or ten players battle on a small, flat field filled with inflatable bunkers. Speedball games are fast-paced and require quick thinking and teamwork. Quite often this type of paintball competition is known as Supair.
Woodsball: Woodsball takes place in large, natural settings like forests or fields. These competitions are very similar to the Supair format, but the fields tend to be bigger and the obvious difference is that they take place in a woodland environment. For many players, woodland competitions are where it all started for them and many believe that they should have stayed there.
Getting Started with Paintball Competitions
To get started with paintball competitions, follow these simple steps:
Find a Local Paintball Field
Look online or ask friends to find a paintball field near you. All paintball fields offer beginner sessions and rental equipment, so you don’t need your own gear to start playing. Once you have a feel for the game and you are certain that’s what you want to do, then is the time to start to think about getting your own paintball gun.
Learn the Rules
Before you hit the field, make sure you understand the rules of the game. Each paintball competition may have slightly different rules, so it’s essential to familiarise yourself with them. Knowing the rules can mean the difference between winning a game or losing a game. Sometimes this can mean the difference between winning money and losing money.
Join a Team or Start Your Own
Paintball is all about teamwork, so find a group of friends to play with, or join an existing team. Many paintball fields have teams for different age groups and skill levels. Clearly it’s easier to join an existing team, but who knows, you may have a group of friends already who are all interested. One famous paintball team was made up of the Rap Group “Cyprus Hill”
Practice, Practice, Practice
To become a paintball champion, you’ll need to practice! Spend time at the field, working on your shooting, communication, and teamwork skills. Practice is all about trigger time, or time behind the trigger. You can upgrade your equipment by throwing money at it, but to become a truly great player takes time, practice and a lot of natural talent.
Essential Paintball Gear
To participate in paintball competitions, you’ll need some essential gear:
Your paintball marker is your main piece of equipment, so choose one that suits your playing style. Beginners often start with a basic, easy-to-use marker, while more advanced players might prefer high-performance models. I always advise to buy the best you can, buy the best and buy only once. If you are going to play is Supair competitions, then you will absolutely need a top of the range electronic paintball gun. If you don’t have one, then don’t even think about playing in a Supair competition.
Safety first! A mask and goggles protect your face and eyes from paintballs. Make sure they fit comfortably and provide a clear field of vision. You will be wearing your goggles every second of play, so don’t scrimp on cheap. Buy good quality and focus on comfort.
Wear loose-fitting, durable clothes that cover your arms and legs. Camouflage for woodland competitions. When playing in Supair competitions, the whole concept of stealth goes out of the window due to the size of the field, so camo is not necessary. Many teams take advantage of this by wearing bright or custom kit. It is normal for a team to have matching sublimated tops and some of the designs are absolutely incredible.
Consider wearing additional protective gear like gloves, knee pads, and a elbow pads to help cushion the impact of paintballs and also knocks from sliding into barricade
You’ll need plenty of paintballs for your marker. They come in various colours and are usually sold boxes. Choose a bright colour so it is easily seen by marshals. Also make sure that the paint is thick so it’s difficult to wipe off. Yes, there are cheats in paintball as in all other sports. If you are using an electronic, low pressure marker, then go for a very brittle paintball. Remember the easier it bursts, the less chance of getting bounces.
You will need an electronic hopper to be able to compete on any level in the modern game. Go for a force fed hopper.
You will also need a compressed air bottle. Go for a light weight 1.1L (68CU) bottle. Don’t get a 0.8L (48CU) aluminium bottle. The cool kids will laugh at you and you have to lug a heavy, low capacity tank around with you.
Tips and Tricks for Paintball Competitions
Now that you’re ready to hit the field, here are some top tips to help you excel in paintball competitions:
Communication is Key
Talk to your teammates throughout the game, sharing information about your opponents’ positions and your team’s strategy. Good communication can give your team a massive advantage on the field. Don’t be scared to shout at the top of your voice. Remember that your team mates are wearing goggles which cover the ears, also with so much adrenalin pumping, it can be difficult to hear anything on the field. Make sure you keep a count of eliminated players going through the whole game, that way, you can gauge where the opposition players are and make your move.
Move and Shoot
Staying still makes you an easy target, so keep moving! Practice shooting while running, ducking, and diving to improve your accuracy and agility. We call this running and gunning and it’s a vital part of paintball competition play. Keep your gun up when stationary and also while running.
Use the Field to Your Advantage
Get familiar with the field layout and use it to your benefit. Hide behind bunkers, sneak through the woods, or take the high ground to surprise your opponents. Make sure you take time to walk the field before you play. There are a number of techniques for walking a field.
1) Supair. Start at the start gate and choose your primary bunker. The primary bunker is the bunker you feel comfortable getting to without being shot off the break. Then choose your secondary, this is the bunker you will go to after your primary. Interestingly, in Supair competitions, if you make it to your secondary bunker, the chances are you will win the game.
2) Woodland competitions. Woodland fields are a bit more tricky as they are never symmetrical. A good tip is for one of your team mates to stand in the middle of the field with a whistle. The rest of the team split into two and start at each base. On the whistle, run forward as fast as you can. When you can see your fellow players, stop and look around. Your primary position will be just behind you. This is so that you can make it to your bunker before the opposition come into view and you are ready in your primary position.
Stay Aware of Your Surroundings
Keep an eye on the entire field, not just the area directly in front of you. Being aware of your surroundings can help you avoid being ambushed or caught off guard. Lots of players get tunnel visioned, they only look down their line. Make sure you look across the field. It is likely that a right hand tape player will shoot out more players on the left hand side than their team mate who is actually playing on the left tape and visa versa.
Conserve Your Paintballs
Firing too many paintballs can quickly deplete your ammo, leaving you defenceless. Aim carefully and try to make every shot count. This is more for woodland competitions that ca and often do last much longer than Supair events. Make sure you take out way more paintballs than you need. It’s better to have them and not use them than to need them and not have them.
Practice Makes Perfect
The more you play, the better you’ll become! Keep practicing and learning from your experiences to continually improve your paintball skills. I really can’t stress this enough. Gone are the days of sitting in front of the TV practicing fanning the trigger, this went out of the window with the introduction of ramping. But practice is incredibly important. Practice running and gunning, snap shooting and communication. A team with a plan and practice will on average come higher in the table than a team that don’t.
Safety is crucial in paintball competitions, so follow these guidelines to keep yourself and others safe:
a) Always wear a mask and goggles when playing or around the field.
b) Never remove your mask during a game, even if your goggles fog up or you need to wipe off paint.
c) Keep your marker’s barrel cover in place when not playing.
d) Follow all field rules and listen to the referees’ instructions.
e) Never argue with the ref. It’s a tough job and they will make mistakes. Generally they don’t care who wins, so it’s nothing personal. But with one for one and two for one rules, just take what the ref says and get off the field.
Paintball Competitions for Young Players
Many paintball competitions are specially designed for young players. These events often have lower age limits (like 10 or 12 years old) and use lower-impact paintball markers to make the game more enjoyable for beginners. Look for local tournaments or leagues that cater to young players, or ask your local paintball field about youth-focused events. Whilst not very many fields in the UK offer Junior competitions, I have it on good authority it is something that is currently starting in the US.
Joining Paintball Associations and Leagues
Once you’ve gained some experience, consider joining a paintball association or league to take part in organised competitions. These groups often host regional and national tournaments, providing a platform for you to showcase your skills and compete against other talented players. The paintball association in the UK is the United Kingdom Paintball Sports Federation (UKPSF).
Get out there and shoot some fools!
Paintball competitions offer an adrenaline-packed adventure that’s perfect for young warriors looking to test their skills on the battlefield. With a variety of game formats, plenty of essential gear, and loads of tips and tricks, you’re well on your way to becoming a paintball champion! Remember to stay safe, practice regularly, and most importantly, have fun! So, gather your friends, gear up, and let the paintball battles begin!