Paintball is not a challenging sport to get into. You don’t even need to have your own equipment to get started – many fields offer rental packages at very affordable rates. However, there are a few things you should learn and know before you get too invested in the sport.
Essential Tips for Beginner Paintball Players
1. Cover Your Hair
Even though helmets are neither required nor helpful for playing paintball, you should still use something to cover up the top of your head. Trying to get paint out of your hair can be a frustratingly long process after a day of play. Baseball caps, boonie hats, and bandannas can all provide sufficient protection against splatters of paint.
2. Bring Extra Paint
Even for fast-paced speedball events, you should always walk out onto the field with an extra tube of paint. If you like to fire quickly and suppress your opponents like me, then you may find yourself with an empty hopper after just a minute or two of play. I usually bring 1-2 extra tubes of paintballs for shorter speedball events and more for other games, depending on the situation and how long each round lasts.
3. Stay Unpredictable
The easiest players to hit are always the ones that play predictably. Maybe they consistently play the same corner or guard the same position. Changing up your spots and your playstyle helps to keep your opponents on their toes and prevent ambushes from catching you off-guard.
4. Keep Moving
On top of playing unpredictably, you should never hunker down behind a piece of cover for too long. Staying in a static position allows the other team to push up on you and gain ground. Plus, you could even get hit by a grenade, if the field allows them. You don’t have to stay constantly moving, but you should generally limit your stay in a single location to no more than 30-60 seconds.
5. Listen to Teammates
Listening to your teammates’ callouts and directions can help you to win the game. The most dangerous enemies are those that you cannot see – if your team calls out a position, you’re suddenly aware of the lines of fire that the opposing player may have. You might also have someone on your side who wants to call tactics or instruct players to push up on a specific position. Listening to these calls and following your team can help you to gain ground and win the round, even if you do not understand why you’re doing what you’re doing. I’ve found that some people can see the battlefield better than others and make good choices when it comes to strategy. Listening to those players has helped me to become better at my own game.
6. Don’t Even Think About Cheating
Cheating in airsoft or paintball usually means getting hit but not acknowledging it. Even if you got hit on a hand or a foot, you’re out (unless the game mode specifically requires body shots or headshots to count as an “out”). While cheating poses a problem for both sports, you’ll get called out (and kicked out) for it far more often when playing paintball. After all, your opponent can see when you get splattered. If it ever crosses your mind to ignore a hit and just keep playing, think again, because that’s the easiest way to get kicked out of the match and banned from the field.
7. Don’t Be Afraid to Get Hit
Getting hit is part of the game. Trying to avoid paintballs at all costs usually means hanging back well behind the front lines and avoiding real conflict. I’ve seen plenty of people get tired of paintball and not come back because they feel bored sitting back and taking potshots at the other team. If you’re willing to push up and get hit more often, you’ll have a lot more fun.
8. Bring Lots of Food and Water
You burn more calories than you might think when you’re out playing paintball. Running around, ducking behind cover, and constantly accelerating/decelerating can tire you out very quickly. Eating plenty of food and drinking copious amounts of water can help you to stay in the game and ward off exhaustion.
9. Take Breaks
Nobody expects you to play nonstop throughout the entire day. If you need to sit out, enjoy a meal, and catch your breath for an hour, that’s fine. Pushing yourself too hard can impact your ability to aim accurately and run quickly.
10. Read the Field Rules Carefully
Most paintball fields and arenas that I’ve been to have a list of rules that should be followed carefully and precisely by anyone looking to play. These lists are designed to prevent injury and ensure fair play for everyone, and most locations enforce them strictly. Reading up on rules and policies beforehand can help you to prepare for your next outing.
Most of these tips can be learned within a few days of play, but having them in mind before you start can help you get a leg up on the competition and have a richer first taste of paintballing. Don’t be afraid to get out of your comfort zone, do a little bit of prep work, and you should have the best time possible out on the field.