Why You Should Use The Splayed Shooting Position in Woodsball Paintball

DangerMan shooting from a splayed shooting position aka a reclined hero's pose
The splayed shooting position in paintball is tough to execute but is a huge advantage offensively and defensively.
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Preface to Understand the Splayed Shooting Position

This article will provide you more than just the answer of why you should be using the splayed shooting position in paintball, we’ll answer what it is, when and where, and of course how. Shooting splayed is more than just playing from your knees.

Beginner paintballers learn quick, paintball is a game of angles. It’s about exposure. And new paintballers do something established paintballers lose sight of, they see and exploit shooting at the smallest body part that is exposed while in

Trees. The Best Cover In Woodsball

Most of us know that in

Why Trees are the Best Cover In Woodsball Paintball

In a word, escape. Trees do something most players take for granted. They keep you on your feet. Many paintballers will play from the ground until they learn better. A tree will keep you on your feet when you don’t know better. If you get that split-second window to attack or move, you are already on your feet, ready to run. If pressure occurs, once again you can retreat without delay.

Trees allow you to step out from cover and step in with the best use of your body requiring the least amount of physical ability. No doubt, if a tree is available, it’s your number one choice for both attack and defense.

All Other Bunkers In Woodsball & Hyperball

Now think of the manmade bunkers provided. They could be in the woods as extra bunkers or on a

The Three-Body Positions In Paintball

There are three ways to position yourself in paintball due to the bunker types.

The Hybrid Position | Splayed Knees

All this talk about positions only to bring up something new. Well, it’s not common. It can easily be branded as silly. That’s why we took some time to establish some background on body stances and bunkers. 

In theory, the splayed shooting position mixes all positions. It is prone, semi-prone, and yes, even standing. Don’t agree? We’ll get to that. One thing to understand is that it is more than just shooting from your knees.

Head checking from splayed knee position

WHAT is a Splayed Position?

This position is actually addressed in yoga as supta virasana or the hero pose. You start from your knees.

Paintball makes use of this position by reclining.  To do this you extend or widen the pose by splaying your legs. That comes off painful. It can be. But in doing so it brings you lower to the ground and further minimizes your body’s exposure to the opposition. Your lateral movement from your hips increases allowing you to play both sides of a small bunker with smooth precision. 

To shoot under gaps, you take this position further. Lean back and in some cases all the way until your back hits the ground behind you. In yoga, this is called a reclined hero pose. Think you can do it?

You most likely can’t. Not without hurting yourself. And in truth, this is only one part of what is expected of you to use this position fully in paintball. We’ll get to that explanation soon.

Last point. The splayed shooting position is not merely shooting from your knees. When you tilt back you are in a reclined shooting position (reclined hero pose). This is when this tactic becomes most useful. If you intend to add this tactic to your repertoire, do so with the intent of using it in the reclined state. Otherwise, ignore this article and just squat down in your bunker.

The last detail of what this position can do for you in-game is really to the benefit of the most athletic. It mitigates the complaints by those who condemn being off your feet. Yes, being on your knees is a liability by compromising instant movement to attack or flee. But the reclined hero pose or reclined splayed position actually allows you to spring to your feet. You use leverage and the momentum when snapping back up. Coming up from the reclined splayed shooting position quickly results being on your feet, fast. 

Your best practice surface is a padded mat at your gym if you want to learn to execute the move. It’s for this reason, this shooting position is one you can accept without compromising an often proclaimed cardinal rule. Never leave your feet. With that said, there are times when you are in this position because you are on serious defense. You won’t need to stand. You’ll just need to play both sides of the bunker feverishly. 

Splayed Shooting from Spindle on Hyperball

WHEN and WHERE to Use the Splayed Shooting Position

Knowing when to apply a splayed shooting position is easy in general. Use it when you need to get small. It’s that easy. Take this shooting position for attack or defensive purposes.  Where and when do you need to get small? You wanted specifics, here we go.

You’ll use the splayed shooting position 75/25 in hyperball and 25/75 in woodsball.

Shoot Splayed Offensively in Hyperball

Play a lot of hyperball over woodsball? If so, you’ll get to use this tactical stance 75 percent of your day. Hyperball fields are most often modeled after

Woodsball paintball parks are usually dominated by tree oriented playing fields. With few to no man-made bunkers in the woods, the opportunity to apply this tactical shooting stance will be rare. But there is a circumstance WHEN it applies.

Common sense tells you that you won’t use this shooting stance on offense in the woods. Let’s be real.  Playing from your knees to shoot out the low sides of a bunker is a tactic you’ll use when you are camping. 

That can happen, but no often intentionally. For instance, the horn blows, and you bolt up to the 50 ahead of your team and you made it to a nice bunker. But your ass is in the wind. You overshot your lines. You have no immediate support. The other team is coming up both sides and your wiggle room is all but gone. You need to get up on the wall like a pancake or you need to get real damn low or both! So yeah, it could happen you’ll need this stance in woodsball but not generally by design. And while you thought you were on offense, you put yourself on defense. 

Let’s reset to a normal situation, if they exist. You are playing alongside your team with a balanced attack line. We also know woodsball fields are most often long. They have objectives too which motivate all players to push upfield. Camping any position in the woods is often counterproductive unless your opponents are overly aggressive, allowing you to just lie in wait capitalizing on bonehead aggression. 

Is there a circumstance in the woods you’ll need to shoot from a splayed position? 

Some woodsball bunkers are so short you can't get low enough to shoot out the sides.

Constant attack movement is counter to ever needing to be off your feet. When are you off your feet in woodsball? You guessed it. Defense, such as being in a last man standing situation. It’s then you’ll bunker down in the back of the field and need to play both sides of a bunker. You could be caught in a spindled shape bunker but more often it’s a natural bunker such as the upended root system of a fallen tree or a worn out small man made bunker no taller than two or three feet high. If you’re on defense in woodsball, and need to get small, this stance is a game-changer.

With this type of situation occurring infrequently, a reclined splayed shooting position may only apply approximately twenty-five percent of the time you play in woodsball games. 

How to Use the Reclined Splayed Shooting Position

In the hyperball game photo below the shooter is in the fully reclined splayed shooting position. He is also located three feet back off a spindle. (Note that in the photo the spindle is the back knuckle of a snake running along the edge of the field aka the

Why is the shooter back off the bunker three feet?  It should tell you something. There is no pressure. Yes, the reclined splayed position is being used for attack but it is also has a defensive attribute. That distance back off the bunker enables you as a shooter to shoot further inside, into, or along the

HOW to execute the Reclined Splayed Shooter Position

Dropping to your knees is not the concern. It’s the laid back reclined position you are going for. 

First up, don’t just fall to your knees and flop back. You can easily injure yourself if you are not already very limber which usually diminishes with age. If you are a teen, this is most likely easy. If you are overweight or have any issues with loadbearing, don’t do this without serious care.

AVOID THIS IF YOU HAVE ANKLE, KNEE PROBLEMS OR LOWER BACK PROBLEMS

Steps in Supta Virasana

Measure Your Stress

Start on soft ground or on a padded mat at your gym or whatever studio you have on hand.  When first attempting to lean back, have a friend support you by holding your hands from in front. If you don’t have anyone to hold you and ease both back and pull you forward, then have a strong support structure at your side. Allow yourself the ability to roll to one side if you get stuck in a back position. 

Place yourself in a position commonly referred to as sitting on your knees, but in reality you are going to rest your buttocks (okay fine, your ass), between your legs. You’re in the hero pose.

From your hero pose, splay your legs. This means split them apart. Do so carefully. Continue to as far as you can splay them comfortably. Once you feel any discomfort in tension, stop. You can increase this in time, but to force stress on your muscles and tendons is a huge no-no. 

As this also requires some ankle strength, be mindful of any pain in your feet. In your hero pose, you can roll your calves outward with your hands to ease any discomfort. 

From your now split position, your partner should be holding both your hands and you will lean back. If you have no one to hold you, lower yourself with a controlled eccentric motion. 

In the absence of a partner stretch your arms out and place your hands on the ground to support your upper torso and weight as you incrementally lean backward with your hands providing constant support. As you drop further back your hands will move outwards to the point your forearms take over in support until you are on your back.

Two things are to be observed.  Number one is stress on your outer hamstrings and quadriceps at your knees. Number two is your core in your lower back.  

You need both the comfort in stretching your quads and strength in your core to pull yourself back up in a concentric motion. These are the areas you need to train if you don’t have the natural ability and strength at hand. 

Training Your Quads and Core for the Reclined Hero Pose

To train your quads at home without a partner a soft surface. Not from the bed. Begin from a hero position. Hold your feet at the side with each hand. Splay, and rest in this position for short periods of time. Apply pressure incrementally with nominal tension. Use common sense. Don’t push yourself for any reason. 

For your core, you’ll do the same with an incremental eccentric and concentric motion to a deeper and deeper reclined position as comfort allows.

If you can only go a specific distance backward, stack pillows behind you to rest on. Over time, remove pillows when you become more limber. You are training your quads and hip flexors. 

Of course, doing this with a partner is ideal. This position is one you can’t hold indefinitely. Don’t make this a goal to hold it for long periods. You’ll hurt yourself. You’ve been warned. 

Shooting Splayed

On the Field

Once capable and comfortable in a reclined shooting position, be sure to hold your

The best shooting position in woodsball is standing. Never go prone unless to move up below an opponent's sightline. Squat instead of taking a knee or learn the reclined splayed shooting position. 

Unless you are shooting a First Strike round, shooting from a prone position is a liability. It allows opponents to quickly move around you, it minimizes your view of the field and prohibits you from quickly moving to attack or flee.

Hiding while moving for an attack in paintball is smart. Hiding and waiting for an opponent takes you out of the game allowing more of the opposition to attack your team and eventually come down on your head. 

The reclined splayed shooting position is the most compact shooting position you can use while also allowing you to rise to your feet quickly to attack or flee.

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Managing Editor / DangerMan's Lair - DangerMan Media Author: DangerMan's Paintball Bible. Writer. YouTube personality. Professional marketing management expert in social media, production, and analytics. Past experience as VP of Marketing for Internet-based businesses. Father of two boys. Weekends are often spent outdoors as a paid promotional celebrity paintball player. Free time is spent many weeknights on the streets of New York City, literally — inline skating. Don't worry. There is safety in numbers skating with hundreds of others on the streets of Philadelphia and Manhattan.