Do You Have The 4 Essential Paintball Skills to Be an Advanced Woodsball Player?
(DL) — The game of paintball comes in many formats or game types. There are some skills every form requires of you. Skill assets add up in paintball. We all want to raise our ability to outplay our opponents. These Four stand out as skills essential to being a true threat on the field. As a rec ball and scenario player, do you have the four (4) essential paintball skills to be an advanced woodsball player?
Woodsball Is Not Speedball
Do you want to be one of the best in the game of paintball? You need to learn the essential skills and improve those skills. Remember, woodsball is more complex than speedball. Speedball relies on athletic ability (speed) as well as profound field intuition.
Speedball is paintball at the highest level. Yet, woodsball is arguably still a tougher world to conquer.
Here’s why. Woodsball is much more dynamic. It requires more than speed and athleticism. It requires your mind to and instinct to always be dialed to alert. Woodsball requires essential skills.
There are four (4) essential paintball skills in woodsball by order of importance. When you’ve read them all, you will agree that these combined skills are essential to any paintball player’s skill set — a combined skill set suited for woodsball, not speedball.
Sensory Skills: Make Your Senses Offensive & Defensive Paintball Tools
Every skill here is as the title implies — essential. You may argue no one of these four skills are of greater importance. Being forced to choose the least essential of all four, we place sensory skills at the base. Don’t no interpret being last on this list as making it less vital!
Sensory skills include field awareness. See DangerMan’s popular YouTube video outlining these skills in detail below. However, if you add some instinct to field awareness you can truly elevate your game and become a lethal paintball master.
When it comes to instinct there is one person who embodies sensory skill — retired professional speedball paintball player, Ollie Lang. Ollie’s ability to run through a speedball course through the center lane kill box or inside the highway (inside lane of the snake) taking out players masterfully in his run is the stuff of legend.
And to think, Ollie became involved in paintball by attending a paintball birthday party. That is a fact.
Have you ever had a day in sports where you played beyond your normal ability? You wish you could always be that good.
Maybe you’ve witnessed times sports teams go on a run, where they play above their ability.
You use tactics. Your team uses strategy. Why mention this? You take tactics with you wherever you go. This is your personal arsenal. They are transferable tools. Use your tactics almost everywhere. A strategy is a plan that uses tactics. In the image below you see a game plan mapped out. DangerMan is explaining to the team unsafe places on the map.
On a narrow field, the players are often advised to let the opposing team make the mistake of a hard middle push. This places the opponents in a kill zone. Most paintball parks have narrow fields where both teams may choose to decrease player liability by staying clear of the middle of the field.
It’s a common strategy to keep n00bs out of the middle.
Seasoned players know then to rush the outside edge and play out of range of more players. Playing the edge is a tactic. Having the entire team or many on the team perform the tactic is a game strategy. Playing the edge is a tactic often utilized in a game plan. Be sure to build on your tactics and curate a smart in-game strategy for each field or game-type you play.
In paintball, tactical skill is the one skill that can elevate other skills. Tactical skill is the one skill you can make up with if you lack the natural athletic skill or good sensory skill.
Physical deficits often inhibit speed. It’s a great attribute in woodsball as much as it is speedball. If you lack speed it holds you up longer at your present bunker. That next bunker or objective is often a game-changer you need to reach.
You won’t make it there on speed due to a number of reasons. You could be a youth with short legs. You won’t move about the field faster than a full-grown opponent. You may be a bit clumsy. Perhaps you suffered an injury. Or yes even like many paintballers …you put on some tonnage.
You lumber around the field. There is no jetting between shots from cover to some great bunker. What is the answer? Make up your deficit tactically.
Improved tactical skills will save you from other shortcomings. You could be a bad shot outside a certain range. Or your marker has some broken paint inside and you must get closer for any sort of straight shot.
So – so many reasons hold players back.
And yet, a tactical skill can make up for every other skill you lack. Consider the basic tactic of playing the edge of the field. This tactic is especially useful if you are playing a new field for the first time.
Yes, this second essential skill in your paintball arsenal must include tactical. First, second, third, wherever it makes your list, it must be in your skillset!
In truth, some players have natural tactical skills. But if you don’t, you can still learn. Yes, it takes time. You build slow. Learning one great tactic and building on it is actually smart for a new player! For instance, playing the edge as a new player is something you can execute for weeks or months until you are ready to play the middle hot zone.
Build a foundation of tactics over your paintball career. Build each one and you won’t need to ask if you have the 4 essential paintball skills it takes to be an advanced woodsball player. Remember, tactical skills are not the same as strategies. Playing the edge of a paintball field is a personal tactic that can be a team strategy. Perhaps a more exclusive example is learning and adding random pop-outs in a snapshot battle.
Paintball fields are designed to offer limited protection. Players use every ounce of the field for protection and others even wear camouflage to play in normally unprotected areas of the field. Your ability to identify those players is critical. If you want to survive a full game and achieve a win, not one – but every player on your team should communicate.
In addition to relaying information, you and your team should elevate your communication skills. Minimal coded words are great. We often used coded words as triggers, but those code words only work if we plan in advance and use our code words over time.
Callouts: Confirmations & Triggers
Word callouts confirm a move or initiate movement.
Word callouts can also confirm a player is on your team. We have a trigger to confirm a player is indeed a friendly.
In this tutorial of a Double Bump, players use an audible trigger.
Communication devices such as two-way radios are big in scenario games or any field which allows them. Communication in hand signals is great in scenario games.
Words can trigger action. However, actions can also be a form of communication that in turn trigger an action. What? Consider this easy to execute example below.
Find ways to improve communication on the field. If they started with ten (10) and now have five (5), shouldn’t you know it? Or if you had five (5) players behind you, but now you have one (1), that too is something you need to know. Information is power and communication will improve your chances of success.
Snap shooting better than an opponent can indeed come down to a god-given talent. Even if you are not a natural shooter, you can improve.
Improve as a shooter in two ways.
- Hand dexterity
Drills in shooting include pop-up drills (also popping out, aka snap shooting) to improve your snap shooting from cover or run-and-gun drills where you set up a stationary target at range, then shoot at the stationary target while you are on the move, advancing from one bunker to the next.
You can improve your hand dexterity with this age-old at home drill. DangerMan addresses a few extra points often ignored as others have taught this drill in the past. Hey, everything gets improved upon by the next generation.
There is one other skill that while important, is not essential.
This skill hinges on your willingness to read change. Reading dynamic changes is critical if you want to finish every rec ball game you play for the day. Learning quickly from your own failures is another example.
If you play your first game and you come out hard to the 50 and you get shot out quick, how did it happen? Did you advance beyond your line with no support? Were you playing with hubris? Is the other team loaded? In the time this article was written, this example played out in for me in the video below.
I experienced a first at Pasadena Paintball Park. This was my first visit to P3. The first game I encountered a field shape I didn’t expect. As you ran up-field towards the 50, the playing field narrowed.
In addition, the field producers had the bunkers turned inward offering zero cover! What was to learn? As I wouldn’t be playing from that side again, I learned that the other team had the same liability that I could later exploit.
You need to read the room and adapt. You need to look at your own gameplay and… adapt. Never think you are the smartest person in the room when it comes to paintball. You can think so when you are off the field, but on the field be flexible in change as it is needed.
One more example is if your team has a few great ace players and they all leave after a few games. Don’t expect to play the next game at the same high level. Recognize your team may now be the underdog. Adapt your next game accordingly.