Paintball is a high-adrenaline shooting sport that is exciting to play no matter your skill level. However, it is usually more fun to be a strong player as this will allow you to stay in the match longer and get more hits on target, thus, increasing satisfaction.
Certain factors distinguish a beginner from a seasoned paintballer. Mastering some or all of these factors will make you a force to be reckoned with and drastically improve your game.
As with any skill, this will not happen overnight, so do not expect quick results. It will take practice and commitment to hone these skills and apply them to your gameplay correctly.
This article will walk you through some of the most popular and highly suggested tips from avid paintballers that you can use to improve your game.
Let’s get started.
Use Your Ears
This tip is probably one of the easiest to apply right away. Listening for footsteps and even to what the other team is telling each other can significantly increase your chances of surviving in the game.
It helps build your awareness of what is going on around you, not just what you see in front of you.
A good starting point is to pause when you get behind cover like a bunker, for instance. Once you stop, pay attention to what you hear. The great thing about using your ears is that you do not need to poke your head out to know what is happening.
Being able to use this other sense along with your eyesight will make you a more well-rounded and aware paintballer—two keys to success.
Using your ears is the basis for a few other tips, as you will see shortly.
Learn The Field
Learning the field is a skill that will really separate you from your beginner competitors.
Knowing the field means understanding the layout of the area you are playing in: hiding spots, open spaces that leave you vulnerable to multiple angles of attack, and vantage points.
Knowing the area you are in and where your enemies are will provide you with a great advantage for attacking as well. If you are aware of everywhere you could be hit from, then avoiding those areas will allow you to stay alive longer.
Not only that, but it also enables you to take advantage of those who cluelessly wander through these vulnerable sections of the field with their guard down.
Know The Dead Box Count
A simple but often overlooked skill that only the best players use in the field. Knowing the dead box count basically means being aware of who is still in the game at any given time for both teams — this detail cannot be stressed enough.
Knowing who is dead and alive on your team will really help you gauge if it is a good idea to push the opponent or not.
If you have three teammates watching your back, you can take a few more risks versus being the last man standing on your team where getting shot will lose the match.
On the other hand, knowing how many players are left on the opposing team can also work to your benefit.
If you know you have more players in the field than the other team, you can opt for a more aggressive strategy, thus increasing your chances of winning.
At the same time, if you know you are being outnumbered by your opponent, playing a more cautious and defensive strategy would be your best bet for success.
As in any team sport, a crucial aspect of any successful individual player and squad is communication.
The last thing you want is to leave your teammates in the dark, or worse, have you be left in the dark due to a lack of proper communication. Making sure everyone on your team is on the same page is essential to securing a victory.
A good paintballer will start communicating with his team before the match even begins. Set up a plan of action and ensure everyone knows what role they are playing.
Then, when the game starts, calling out what you see and warning teammates of potential danger is vital to success. This is especially true when executing an attack or an offensive push.
When your entire team is in “go mode”, anything can happen, and your strategy has a higher chance of needing adjustments — more so if the other team is full of expert communicators.
Suppose you focus on knowing your role for the match you are playing, calling out the dangers you see for yourself and your teammates, and being specific with the descriptions of said dangers.
In that case, you are well on your way to becoming a valuable asset to any paintball squad.
Here’s a great video on paintball communication (skipped to 0:41 where the interesting tips begin):
As in many tactical or strategic games, being one step ahead of your opponent can quickly become a huge advantage.
When the paintball match starts, and you move to your first position, begin creating a mental map of your surroundings by doing the following:
- Identify where the enemy is and where they might go next.
- Foresee the best course of action for your team and the best point to retreat to.
- Identify individual vantage and access points to give you the edge over your enemy.
Once you survey the area and plot out what your enemy’s plan of action could possibly be, planning out your own in response to that is an excellent next step.
Now that you have a plan of action and a safety plan, you can start looking for individual advantages in the field that will help you to begin eliminating players.
This is one tip that paintballers can never stress enough — the chances of getting shot increase exponentially if you are standing still.
If you do not keep moving, it quite literally becomes target practice for the other team, and you will be sitting on the sidelines before you know what happened.
Furthermore, relating to the previous tip of thinking ahead, standing still makes you easily identifiable to the other team. It allows your opponent to maneuver around you with ease, ultimately gaining the match’s overall advantage.
The idea behind constantly moving is to ensure the enemy cannot spot you easily. Simultaneously, continuously moving around to different locations and vantage points helps you locate the other players.
The other advantage to moving is actually being able to participate and help your team. If you stay way back 30 to 40 yards behind the front line, your team might as well be down a player.
You will most probably not even be within range of the enemy, so shooting them from there is futile.
Stealth is related to the previous idea of continuously moving. You want to remain unseen. Or, at the very least, be challenging to spot.
While an aggressive approach might work exceptionally well in specific game modes, others will require a more systematic and methodical approach, which is where stealth mode comes into play.
Learning how to blend in with your surroundings, using diversionary tactics, and slowly creeping around can be much more effective at certain times and in specific game modes.
The last thing to note when you are using the effective stealth-approach method is to ensure none of your equipment gives away your location. This can be anything from gun attachments to a Go-Pro you are wearing for your Youtube channel.
Move slowly and quietly between cover locations, keep your head down and make sure nothing is giving away your position to the enemy. Do this, and you are well on your way to becoming a great paintballer.
This tip is something that only comes with practice and experience. If you are a first-time player, chances are you will be anything but calm with the amount of adrenaline pumping through your body.
That being said, there are things you can actively do to stay calm and focused. First off, breathe and do not rush. More often than not, you will have more time than you think — it is the adrenaline making you believe otherwise.
When you get to a cover zone, take a breath and survey your surroundings from your new vantage point. The notion of “think before you act” will carry you a long way.
Another good way to stay calm is to remember this is just a game. Staying positive and enjoying the game will do wonders for your overactive mind. Smile and remember you are there to enjoy yourself.
Even if the stakes are high in a tournament setting, a positive outlook will help you think more clearly. Being relaxed helps you make better decisions and ultimately become a much better paintballer.
This has a lot to do with your equipment, attire, and loadout. Wearing the proper protective gear and having a paintball gun you are comfortable holding and using are of the utmost importance if you want to become a better paintballer.
Protective gear is everything from a mask that fits you well (and doesn’t fog) to shoes you feel comfortable moving around in. The same goes for your paintball gun.
Something that fits nicely in your hand that basically becomes an extension of your body is crucial to your paintballing success.
The reason for this is simple. The more things you need to worry about, the less you are focused on the actual game.
Imagine constantly needing to adjust your mask or your hand cramping up from holding the grip on your gun that is too big — the less you need to worry about, the better off you will be.
Playing tight is something the best paintballers do unbelievably well. This means limiting the body parts you leave exposed. For example, try keeping your elbows tucked in instead of out wide.
This will give your opponent a smaller target to shoot at, making it harder for enemies to hit you.
Crouching is also a good way to play tight. Your goal in paintball, aside from eliminating the other team, is not getting eliminated yourself, right?
Making sure you create as small a target as possible increases your chances of not getting hit exponentially. It also allows you to hide behind smaller objects — more options mean more angles mean more ways to eliminate the enemy.
There are many things you can do that will help you become a more proficient paintballer. Of course, some are more challenging to master, but practice and experience are your best friend in this case.
Following these tips will make you a better individual player and benefit your entire team as tactics hold just as much importance as skill.
Just keep on practicing by implementing some of these tips, and you will be a force to be reckoned with before you know it!