Over the next few weeks, we’re going to talk about speedball basics. I’ve talked to a lot of new players recently and have been dishing out the same advice on repeat over and over. That usually means it’s time to write it down.
If you’re new to paintball you’ll benefit from thinking about basic tactics, teamwork strategies, and play styles regardless of what game you like to play. Even if you only play woodsball locally on private land and never go to a professional field or join an organized team you should listen up and improve your game.
Lesson 1: Walk The Field
Even if you already think you know it. Walk the field before you play. Discuss the field with your teammates. If you are a walk-on player or new to the game, talk to someone with experience. Discuss which bunkers are the best and which are the worst. Look for good positions to flank and areas that have blind spots. Where are the key positions?
New players constantly skip this step and jump right in. Don’t skip it. Walk the field and talk about it with your team.
Lesson 2: Start With a Plan
This might seem silly—of course you’re going to have a plan! That goes right up front. Regardless of how redundant you might think it is for me to tell you to discuss a plan before a match, you wouldn’t believe the number of players or teams who just walk right out on the field with no strategy.
Develop a basic naming system for as many things as you can, especially if you play with the same team on a regular basis. If you just head to the field for a walk-on game things with obviously be different. Still, right before the match you can plan moves down the field and inform your teammates what you’re going to call certain field areas.
If you have time you should name all of the bunkers or at the very least decide on some basic directions to describe opponent locations and movements. Forgetting this step will lead to disorganization. It might seem silly to sit around and talk strategy, even if you are at a pick-up game full of walk-on players you don’t know. Trust me, this is the one area that consistently separates winning and losing teams.
Lesson 3: If You Think You Are Talking Too Much, Talk More!
You need to constantly update your teammates with information. They need to know where you are going. They need to know where opponents are. They need to know if you get hit or if you take someone out of the game. Use your pre-determined directions, plan, and bunker names if you have them.
If you aren’t moving or shooting you should be communicating with your teammates. You can move, shoot, and talk all at the same time. Do it as much as possible. Speedball isn’t about sneaking up on people in a ghillie suit. You’re not out in the woods. You’re not going to sneak up on anyone. You don’t need to be quiet. In a game that is all about strategy, communication with your teammates is everything. If you aren’t shooting and you are not moving, you are talking. Always.
We’ll be back with more Speedball tips later this week. For now, check out Reload #66: