So you’ve decided to take the plunge and head out for your first paintballing trip. Well why wait until you get there to start thinking about the game when you could just read this handy guide for new players instead?
First off – never, ever, take your paintball mask/goggle system off unless you’re in the safe zone or have been given the green light from your marshal. This point cannot be emphasised enough – NEVER TAKE YOUR MASK OFF IN THE GAME ZONES, EVEN IF YOU HAVE BEEN KILLED AND ARE IN THE DEAD ZONE. Paintballs travel at around 200mph, so is it really worth risking your eyesight? Exactly. If the site you’re at doesn’t provide face masks then run a mile and never go back.
Make sure you know how your marker works and that you know how to operate the safety catch. Trust us, there’s nothing worse than unintentionally unloading a paintball into your mate’s back or, even worse, your own foot. Be aware of how to get shot pots out of your battlepack and how to reload your hopper. Doing this without spilling ammo is a real skill you might as well start mastering from the word go. Also, make sure the hopper is full before each new game – you’d be amazed how many rookies run out a few seconds into battle.
Honesty is usually the best policy in life and however tempting it may be to do otherwise, honesty is ALWAYS the best policy in paintball. Think about it – the game these days can be so fast that unless you call yourself out when hit, the marshals will always be playing catch up. And that ruins the game.
When you’re eliminated, make sure you raise your marker and quickly head for the Dead Zone. We’ve all seen players wondering about aimlessly after being shot who are then surprised when they keep getting hit. It’s not rocket science – so just get out of the way!
Avoid tunnel vision and learn to ‘play tight’. Tunnel vision is the worst crime a new player can commit because he or she gets focussed on one target and so lacks any self-awareness which makes the enemy’s task a whole lot easier. ‘Playing tight’ means presenting as small a target as possible to the enemy. This should be done when taking cover and while advancing through a game zone.
Keep moving and don’t look out from the same spot all the time when taking cover. A moving target will keep the enemy on the back foot and prevent them locking you down. If you are behind cover, vary the place you take a look from because if you don’t, they’ll be a shedload of paint heading your way.
If you are hit but there’s no mark, keep playing. Only paintballs that leave a tell-tale ‘splat’ will count. Whether head/hand/marker shots count will vary between sites so make sure you are aware of the rules BEFORE you start playing.
Wear correct footwear – your boots don’t have to ‘combat-ready’ but they should provide ankle support and a good grip because things can get muddy under foot. Footwear is likely to get dirty and covered in paint so it’s best to leave your brand new trainers at home. Some players recommended studded football boots but they’ll be no good on concrete paths so steer clear of them in those circumstances.
Finally, don’t surrender – even if you run out of paint, gas or heart – unless you are injured and cannot physically carry on! An empty marker can still be fired to give the illusion of a fully-armed player which will keep an enemy pinned down for longer than if you simply headed off for the Dead Zone.