(DL) — Most beginners play paintball in the woods. You’ve been invited to a birthday party or corporate event. This guide will truly help you, I guarantee it. Here is why. For many years I have played at a woods ball field. Week after week I help first time players play comfortably, even excel.
Introduction to Paintball
Some call me a professional having played years in tournament ball, winning the Woodsball WorldCup (5 man Division) in 2015, playing scores of scenario games and of course playing three times a month in simple rec ball. I do also play speedball (air bunkers) at other fields, I can and will help you here. When done, visit my Youtube channel: DangerManXX for a multitude of How To Play Paintball videos taking your game to the next level.
Woodsball paintball the Great Equalizer
Before we begin understand that woodsball as it is called is the great equalizer. What does that mean? You can get away with being a beginner paintballer playing against great great players in the woods. How? Why? Because of the trees, the branches and various unforeseeable objects that get in the way of shots. In some respects, you have the advantage because a seasoned player can’t play his game in the woods like he can on a speedball field. This is one reason Speedball paintball players are snobs towards playing in the woods. They don’t like the unpredictability of the woods.
No One Can Outrun A Paintball
Young, Old, Skinny, Fat, Tall, Short, Male, Female — NO ONE can outrun a paintball. This game is for everyone. Have I made it clear? Do NOT be intimidated by anyone in woodsball. Certainly not by their clothing. I’ve seen many players in paintball jersey’s go down fast. It’s the low key guy (or girl) in jeans and a t-shirt you should worry about.
First rule in Paintball
Understand that the fear of loss is greater than the desire for gain. This means a lot. But to put it short, if you don’t want to get shot you won’t. It also means you play just aggressive enough to be comfortable with that level. This first rule of paintball is the downfall of most every player. Disregard this concept and point at your own peril. It is a game of tempered aggression. You need to learn how hard to lean on the gas without overdoing it. Learning the balance of how hard you play against others is your key to finishing every game.
Real Paintball Tips
Now let’s get down to the real details.
Don’t lie down! Not if you think you have the least bit of trouble getting up. Honestly, how fast can you or anyone jump to your feet from a lying down position? Shooting from your belly has a place in the world of snipers and shooting. This position is called a prone position. Do not go prone. Why? Because only standing up allows you to flee quickly if necessary. Attempting to suddenly flee from lying down — not so much. For a better understanding, see my video below:
Keep your marker (paintball gun) up. Do not drop at it your hip. It takes longer to draw on someone if it is hanging at your side.
Be sure not to leave your paintball hopper exposed. At most fields a gun hit counts. Hoppers point out further than any other part of your marker and that could be your opponents chance to take you out.
If you are playing in a bunker such as a wooden pallet or stacked wood, don’t come (post) over the top of the bunker, you are an easy target. You see while you are up shooting, your opponent is most likely still in cover, or coming out from the side of a tree allowing himself to remain out of range while you are still exposed.
Can you post over the top of a bunker? This is often debated needlessly because the answer is yes to established/advanced players and no to new players. Until you learn to understand why posting up over the top of a bunker is a liability and risk, you can’t play around that risk. Look when you learn to drive a car, you can drive it fast if you want, but really, you should take some time to learn all the facets of driving before you lean on the gas. It is the same way with many things you’ll learn in paintball.
There is no front line
Unless you are playing on a field so wide that you can’t communicate with fellow players in any way, you do not need half your team bunkered down at the flag station. Most everyone should be at the front line. I will detail that later, but take my advice here. Don’t bunker down in the back. When the rest of your team is gone, you’ll be a duck waiting for 10 other players to pluck you off. No fun. Get out there and support your team with additional shots, even if it is from just behind the front line. Besides the old adage of speedball players rings so true here… Every backman becomes a frontman.
Use Trees for Cover Properly
Be sure to use trees properly for cover. Do not stand wide on a tree, stand sideways offering the tree as much opportunity to cover your body as possible. Running from tree-to-tree is something everyone must do to advance and retreat. Stay put. At least as a beginner. However when you do need to move there is a way in which you can do it most effectively.
Shadow Walking is a concept you apply to all facets of safe movement around the field. Always place objects between you and opponents as you move towards them. From blocking their shots to blocking their vision, this tactic is a paramount tool in your paintball arsenal.
Run to trees from behind if you can help it; not from side to side. This is what is known as Shadow Walking, a term coined by DangerMan. The concept itself isn’t new.
Shadow Walking is a concept you apply to all facets of safe movement around the field. Always place objects between you and opponents as you move towards them. From blocking their shots to blocking their vision, this tactic is a major tool in your paintball arsenal. The video below illustrates if you run up on a tree you can use it as cover as you approach an opponent.
Remember that people run from tree-to-tree much of the time, I know I just said not to do that but your opponents most likely will. Think ahead. As you are in your little skirmish shooting at them, trading shots you’ll realize both of you may be at a standstill. One of you is going to make a move. Let it be your opponent if you are provided good cover on your tree. Think ahead…. What trees around them will they most likely move to? Once they dart out, start shooting ahead of your opponent just before the tree they are running towards. They will run into your paint and be shot out. If you try to follow them with your shots they will most likely always be a step ahead of your shots.
Paintball is a game of Angles
Perhaps the most important thing to understand about the game of paintball itself is that it is a game of angles. You may have heard of the term flank. It means to come around broadside on your opponent, that additional attack position now causes them to lose focused attention on one area of offense and now puts them in a defensive position having to protect themselves at two points of attack.
Learn to go around them!
Now you don’t have to full on flank an opponent in paintball to take them out. No! All you need to do is spread out your attack. For instance if you have two players on your team and there is one player remaining on the other side, all you need to do is work with your remaining team mate to spread out. The tree your opponent is on now offers him less and less cover. Eventually you’ll sneak a shot in on him for a break. Game over.
You only have so much paint to shoot. Why the hell are you trading paint at a 90 degree angle? What do I mean? Let’s be more clear, if you and your opponent are popping in and out, wasting paint because both of you have ample cover, then it’s time to move. You don’t need to move directly at them. You can, if it benefits your shot and the move has less risk to you than it does to your opponent but what you really should be doing is moving laterally. Move out (left or right) to move up. And sometimes, in fact often …you may need to drop back a bit so you may then move to the side allowing you to get around your opponent. Stop yourself often to evaluate your situation. Get in this habit early in your paintball career.
This of course works with many players too. Remember to spread your attack on your front line. These tips should start all coming together for you now.
One way to protect yourself from those angles is to work the edge of the field. There is generally a marked off side to each field, called the wire or tapeline. If you are working up the tapeline, no one can flank you from that side. The can only attack you from the remaining open field side or from directly ahead.
You should never waste paint in a gunfight. If you are head to head with an opponent and not getting anywhere, one of you must move if a teammate can’t break the stalemate from a better angle. If it is you that moves, remember you need an better angle. My hot tip is this. Take a few shots to pin your adversaries ears back, as soon as you stop shooting or shoot while you are running and he is back in cover… run to your next tree. Take cover, don’t let them know you have a new position. Give it time, perhaps 30 seconds or more. Peek out just enough to establish they don’t know you’ve made a move and size up where they should come out. Time your move and when they are out, pop around from cover, draw on them quickly and make your shots count. That element of surprise will generally allow you to be out and ready for them so that they expose themselves to a shot. I do this often and also move up on players nonchalant to closer trees. If I’m moving up, I don’t get a better angle but I do get closer allowing me to take a more precise shot. If I move first, my opponent may get concerned and make a mistake as they fear I’m closing in.
Your Marker (paintball gun)
Have a reliable marker (DangerMan shoots the Dye DSR and favors Dye products). That is all you need. You don’t need a paintball gun that shoots 18 shots per second. (Note most fields require 10.5 per second at 280 fps) Why not a fast shooting paintball marker? It is woodsball and all you really need is a marker that shoots straight (reasonably) and won’t jam or break paint in the barrel. My personal requirement for a paintball gun is it be efficient as all other benefits result from having an efficient shooting marker. The reality is electronic markers are great for speed, but those that buy them end up paying more money to have that speed WITH RELIABILITY. They too still need a marker that won’t break paint. A pneumatic marker (no electronic parts) is the mainstay of the woodsball. A Tippmann A-5 with cyclone feeder is the choice of seasoned woodsballers who have no interest in an electro. It will set you back chump change compared to an electronic marker and it too can spray paint fast with it’s cyclone feeder system. The cost is about $300.00 tops. A great resource for buying a used marker is one of the many BUY, SELL, TRADE Facebook Groups. Ask to join the group, and then lurk a bit. Over time, people exit the game for all sorts of reasons and will dump great gear for cheap. Just be sure to ask the group openly about any seller to be sure they are known to the group as a reputable seller. The old adage applies here. Buyer beware. Be a smart consumer and do your homework.
Understand this, it is never the gun, it is the player shooting the gun that makes them a formidable adversary.
Learn the Paintball field — Recon!
While it is generally not possible to walk the field before you play, you can seek out a team mate before the game starts that has played the field before.
My advice, tag along with them the first round. Ask them for recon on the field. They will tell you how to play it if they are cool about it.
Knowing the field can be key.
Some fields are so narrow you should not press the middle of the field as you can get shot from the sides, so you stay out of the middle. It can be impossible to know this sometimes until you are on the field trapped in the middle taking shots from both sides.
So ask questions before the game to know the little quirks about each field. Is there a ditch ahead that the other team is using? Do they have a lot of brush behind their flag station allowing them to set up a mini-defense should they take too many lost players? Is there a bunker way ahead that both teams will want to take off the break creating a mad rush for that one strategic position? These questions can be answered before the game by someone that has played there first.
This should put you in a great frame of mind for your first visit to a paintball field, or if you have just been learning… this advice will take you to the next level. This is only the beginning. There is so much more to learn. For now, enjoy the game of paintball with the understanding that no one can outrun a paintball. You have just as much chance as anyone to win!