How to be good at paintball (even if you’ve never played before)
About to go paintballing for the very first time? Listen up, rookie, things are about to get real...
Whether you are going paintballing for a birthday party, an office outing, or just because, playing paintball for the first time is an adrenaline rush like no other. But let’s be honest, it’s not so easy to go paintball-Rambo if you don’t know one end of your paintball marker from the other. To help new players, we’ve listed 6 paintball hints that you can help you survive your first paintball game and improve as a paintball player.
1. Don’t be afraid of the paint
New players can often be so scared of getting hit by a paintball that they spend all of their first game curled up in the fetal position in the middle of a bush. But not only is this not a particularly exciting way to spend your first game of paintball, it’s also not particularly helpful either.
Okay, so no one likes owies. But the first thing to realise is the fear of getting hit by a paintball is almost always worse than the experience of getting hit by a paintball! Once you’ve actually been hit, you’ll realise that the pain isn’t so bad and that you were worrying about nothing all along.
The second thing to realise is that the best way of avoiding getting hit is winning your games of paintball! And trust me, that’s not going to happen from the fetal position. So bite the bullet and move yourself — it’s only paint!
if you have a really low pain threshold, then wearing a couple of extra layers and some light gloves will really take the sting out of any impact.
2. Understand your paintball marker; win a thousand battles
Most paintball markers are gravity-fed; the paintballs roll from the hopper (the bit that holds the paintballs) into the barrel before being fired. This means that your marker won’t work if the hopper is below the barrel of the gun, which can happen if you’ve got your marker sideways or upside down.
Also, make sure that your hopper lid is on tightly! It’s such a shame to see a new player spill their paintballs (almost everyone does it once), as paintballs that get dirty can’t be used as they cause the marker to jam.
If you can, try to take a few practice shots with your marker before the game starts (with the marshal’s permission). This will let you know if your paintball marker is actually working and will let you get a feel for its range. There’s no point firing at opponents who are too far away, it’ll only give away your position.
3. Use your eyes, ears and mouth
The first thing that most new players do is get their head down when shots are fired.
In a way, this makes sense, you should try and keep as much of your body behind cover as possible. But being behind cover is a trade off — it usually protects your body, but it also limits the amount of the battlefield that you can see. In paintball, a player that can’t see his opponent won’t beat his opponent.
It’s important to really use your eyes and ears to identify where your opponents are, then use your mouth to call out their position to your teammates. As a good rule of thumb, you can take three seconds to look around before you get back in cover (it takes a second for an enemy to spot you, another one for them to aim and another one for them to pull the trigger!)
4. Listen to the marshal
Marshals are there to make sure that everyone is safe and to make sure that the rules are being followed. You must listen to the marshal, not only because they are responsible for your safety, but also because they have the power to penalise your team if they think that you are breaking the rules!
As an extension of this, being hit doesn’t always make you out. If you do get hit by a paintball, it might bounce rather than break, in which case you are still in the game. If you call yourself ‘out’ however, you can’t go back in even if you realise later that the paintball didn’t actually break on you. So check for splatter before calling yourself out, and if you are unsure, ask the marshal to check you for paint.
5. Understand your objective
Elimination style paintball games, where the objective is to cover the enemy team in paint, are actually less common than you might think. More often than not there is a different objective, such as capturing a flag, a zone, or protecting a VIP. You will win or lose according to these objectives, so coordinate with your team to make sure that you have the best possible chance of paintballing success!
6. Don’t get yourself pinned down
Think before you move! You might be able to reach cover without getting hit, but what will you do once you get there? More often than not, a good number of the opposition will have spotted you and they’ll keep firing until they land a hit, causing you to be trapped. To avoid this situation, try and think two moves ahead. Not just “I’m going to go there”, but “I’m going there so that I can then achieve that!” If you do find yourself pinned down, there’s no point staying quiet about it! Shout to your teammates and see if they can give you covering fire.
Got any tips that we missed? Or any other questions? Let us know.