While being a beginner in paintball is a ton of fun, it can be a little intimidating as well. Anyone who’s never played before is probably going to be scared of getting shot by a paintball for the first time, and if any players on the enemy team are fully decked out in gear – it may seem like getting shot is inevitable.
But what if I told you there was a way to avoid the absolute beginner stage, and instead you could go onto the field for the first time with a rental gun and still be one of the better – at least more average – players on the field?
No, I’m not trying to sell you anything either, all I want to do is bestow upon you the Ten Commandments of Paintball – the best paintball tips for beginners that was ever assembled. This guide is perfect for any beginner (or intermediate) level player who wants to improve their knowledge of the game and increase their daily number of eliminations.
If you’re going to play soon for the first time then the Ten Commandments of Paintball will also help keep you from looking like a total noob. Even though you may be far from the best player on the field, at least you’ll know enough of the basics to be able to handle your own.
Ten Commandments of Paintball
While paintball may have started off as a simple game played in the woods, it has since evolved into a complex sport that can be played in a variety of different ways. The two main types of paintball you can play are woodsball and speedball, but there are also different variations within each game type as well.
Woodsball is obviously the style of paintball that’s played in the woods, but it’s also common for woodsball matches to last up to 24 hours or more – otherwise known as scenario paintball. In a scenario paintball game you will be on a much larger team than you would during your typical woodsball match, and you will also have a “scenario” or story line to follow. This style of paintball is based around accomplishing objectives as a team and is often filled with props such as costumes and tanks – yes, tanks.
Speedball, on the other hand, is a much faster paced game that utilizes bunkers instead of woods. The most common type of speedball you can play is Hyperball (or rec ball), which is a style of paintball that’s played on a field composed of random objects such as corrugated tubes, spools, barrels and other man-made contraptions. The other type of speedball you can play is known as Airball, which is a much more competitive style of paintball that makes use of inflatable bunkers on a limited sized field.
When first starting out, you may want to avoid the competitive Airball scene and instead play a more beginner friendly type of paintball such as woodsball, Hyperball, or scenario paintball (scenario games can be played on large Hyperball fields as well). Most paintball locations will actually have a field that consists of both woodsball and Hyperball, so you may want to try playing that field first to see what you like.
1. You Shall Follow the Rules
Being able to follow the rules may not make you any better of a player, but it will keep you from getting kicked off the field so you can continue playing and having fun. Luckily for you, the rules in paintball are very simple to follow and are only set in place to keep anyone (including yourself) from getting hurt.
To keep things simple, there are two main rules that you never want to forget in paintball, and that is to keep your mask on at all times while on the field, and your barrel sleeve on your gun at all times while off the field. Simple enough, right?
Of course, each location will have their own individual rules for you to follow, but these rules are usually pretty similar no matter where you go.
Common paintball rules include:
- No outside paint
- No blind firing
- No shooting anyone within 10-15 ft.
- Scream the word OUT when eliminated
- No talking when eliminated
- Maximum velocity of 280 FPS
- No playing under the influence
Another important rule you need to follow is to make sure to listen to the referee at all times. They’re there to help and for the most part they’re usually pretty good at what they do. If you do ever happen to accidentally break the rules and a ref calls you out of the game, then just say you’re sorry and try not to do it again. Don’t let it ruin your day, it happens to the best of us.
2. You Shall Come Well Prepared
To make playing paintball as enjoyable as possible you want to have all of the proper gear packed the night before you go. By packing beforehand you’ll eliminate the majority of problems that beginners usually encounter whenever they play.
If you’re an absolute beginner then the first piece of gear you need to worry about is what you’re going to wear. The best type of clothing for paintball would be something that’s loose fitting, dark or camouflaged, and adequately covers your body (preferably long sleeves and pants). Proper fitted running shoes or combat boots are also recommended and remember to never wear anything that you’re afraid of getting dirty.
Other typical items you may want to bring include multiple microfiber cloths, water, and extra cash. The water and microfiber cloth will be used to wipe the lens on your mask when it gets dirty, and the extra cash is in case you ever get hungry or need to buy something unexpectedly.
Make sure to NEVER use glass cleaner when cleaning your mask as the chemicals will ruin any film (such as anti-fog) that resides on the lens. You will also want to avoid using paper towels, toilet paper and most other soft material such as a regular towel. While most soft material may seem harmless at touch, it is actually quite abrasive and will only leave tiny scratches behind that will slowly cloud up your vision over time.
Of course, if you’re only renting a mask then this may not be a big issue, but it’s still common courtesy to take care of the field’s property as well. If you’re not a complete beginner though and have already started the process of buying your own gear, then a new mask should be at the top of your list. Even buying a highly affordable mask such as the VForce Armor is better than using an old crusty rental mask, as nothing is more important in paintball than having clear vision.
Other minor products you’ll eventually want to buy to make playing paintball more convenient are a squeegee, bug spray (if playing woodsball) and some form of polycarbonate lens cleaner.
3. You Shall Be a Team Player
One of the biggest mistakes most beginners make in paintball is not communicating properly with their team. While it’s usually smart to remain quiet when nobody knows where you are, it’s important that once your position has been compromised you begin helping your team by calling out enemy positions, current kill count (number of enemy players eliminated) and any other form of reconnaissance that will aid in your team winning the match.
It’s also essential that you look after your teammates and try your best to work together to accomplish the goal at hand. Remember, multiple players working together will almost always do better than a bunch of players doing their own thing.
4. You Shall Only Hide as Much as Necessary
Another big problem that a lot of beginners make is they spend far too much time hiding instead of actively running around and having fun. While getting shot for the first time may seem a little scary, you shouldn’t let it paralyze you with fear and keep you from playing the game.
By constantly staying hidden not only do you lower your chance of getting eliminations, but you also give the enemy team an advantage by giving them the larger area of the field to work with. Since paintball is a game of angles, you want to secure as much of the field as possible to prevent your opponent from finding a better position than you to shoot you from.
Even though the enemy team may think they have an advantage hiding behind the walls of the fort at their base, little do they realize your team now has the entire field around them surrounded and they have nowhere left to go. Their lack of movement while inside the fort also makes the pain of getting shot by a paintball much worse (not that it’s bad to begin with) due to the lack of adrenaline pumping in their body.
5. You Shall Plan Ahead and Strategize
While it may be true that plans in paintball hardly ever work out the way you want them to, it’s still best to at least plan ahead where you and your teammates are going to go right off the break (the moment the game begins). If you don’t know the layout of the field yet (which is expected as a beginner) then just do your best with whatever knowledge you have or rely on one of your teammates to help you out.
Once you’ve learned the layout of the field though you can then begin to strategize more effectively with your team. Depending on your teammates, you can either start with a general game plan of what everyone is going to do, or watch what the other members of your team are doing and then adjust your plan from there.
It’s also helpful to watch where the players on the enemy team are going as well, as it will give you a general idea of where you and your team can move to on the field. If you know all of the seasoned players on the enemy team went down the right side of the field into the woods, then a good strategy would probably be to go down the left side of the field to try to flank behind them.
Also remember to always try to stay one step ahead of the enemy by anticipating what they’re going to do next. While a good player may sometimes surprise you, most beginners are usually pretty simple minded when it comes to strategy. Typically if you see a beginner player get behind a big bunker on the field they will usually remain there until it’s absolutely safe to move forward – which will of course be to the next big bunker.
In paintball we like to refer to this knowledge as field awareness, which essentially means having a general idea of what players on both sides are doing throughout the match, as well as guessing what everyone is going to do next. Using the previous situation as an example, your best bet would be to work together with a teammate by laying down suppressive fire for each other while the other person moves up the field to find a better angle on the opponent.
As a beginner, you may struggle some when it comes to working strategically with a team, but with practice you’ll surely get better at it over time.
6. You Shall Not Leave Yourself Overly Exposed
While having field awareness and knowing where to position yourself is always helpful, it won’t do you much good if you’re constantly leaving yourself overly exposed to the enemy. A simple way to fix this common issue is to begin picturing how the opposition will see you at all times.
For instance, a lot of players (not just beginners) will often spend way too much time poking their head out over a bunker – otherwise known as prairie doggin. While prairie doggin may give you a good view of the field and allow you to see what’s going on around you, it also makes you an easy target to virtually everyone nearby.
Instead of prairie doggin, you would be better off to poke your head out from the side of the bunker in order to limit the amount of angles you can be eliminated from. Try not to leave your head out in the open too long either as it only takes a couple seconds for the enemy to lift up their marker, aim, and then fire a few rounds your way.
Another big factor that you need to pay attention to is how you position your body when hiding behind a bunker (or bush, tree, etc.). One common mistake that a lot of beginners make is they will rest their gun or barrel on the bunker in front of them to stabilize their shot. While this may seem like a good idea, it actually makes it much harder to snap back behind the bunker when someone starts firing your way.
A more effective solution would be to keep your body and marker as close to the bunker as possible while still being able to snap shoot effectively. If you don’t know what snapshooting is, it’s essentially the act of leaning out from behind a bunker with the intention of quickly taking 1-3 shots then leaning back in. This is done in order to prevent the enemy from having enough time to shoot you, and is definitely a skill you should practice often.
A simple tip to make you a better snap shooter (and better shooter in general) is to avoid chicken winging (shooting with your elbows flared out). By keeping your elbows facing the ground and tight by your side you will have a much smaller profile and you won’t be quite so easy to hit.
7. You Shall Stay Unpredictable
If you want to make yourself an even harder target to eliminate then try to be as unpredictable as possible. In other words, be where the enemy won’t expect you.
When you get to a bunker, don’t just pop your head out of the same spot over and over, but instead maneuver around the bunker and shoot from as many different angles as you possibly can. This will force your opponents to constantly have to re-aim to your new position and hopefully give you enough time to lob a few paintballs down their way.
If you’re playing woodsball though then you want to make sure to avoid the obvious hiding spots on the field as much as you can. Getting in a position to eliminate the opposing players hiding in those spots is a much better idea.
8. You Shall Be Calm and Patient
In a game of speedball it’s usually a good idea to shoot at your opponents the second you see them, but when playing woodsball you may want to practice a little more patience. Often times there will be too much brush in the way between you and your target and by firing your marker you’ll only alert the enemy of your position.
By remaining calm and waiting a little longer though you may find yourself with a much better opportunity than you had before. Then again, your opponent may just decide to go the opposite way entirely and you’ll no longer have any opportunity at all. Since every encounter in paintball is different, you’ll just have to follow your gut instinct and do what you think will be best.
Another situation where it’s absolutely essential you remain calm and patient is when playing the role of a paintball sniper. As a sniper in paintball you’re going to spend a good deal of your time laying down in the brush, making it very easy for an opponent to come up behind you from an unexpected angle. When this happens, you may not have the opportunity to get up to take the shot so you’ll have to remain perfectly still (movement is the first thing the eye sees) and allow them to pass right by you.
This will require the ultimate level of patience as your adrenaline glands will be screaming at you the entire time to get up and fire some rounds their way, even if doing so will most likely end up with you getting eliminated. A paintball sniper (or any player who is trying to be stealthy) will also need to practice patience when maneuvering quietly through the woods. If you don’t know how to be patient and move slowly then you’re going to snap more twigs and crumple more leaves then needed – making it easy for the enemy to hear your position.
9. You Shall Practice Often
You can only get so good at paintball by reading articles and watching videos online. To truly be good at this sport you have to actually practice and play on a regular basis.
Of course, you will need to have gear of your own (or gear you can borrow) if you want to practice at home, but once you do you can begin to improve yours skills at a much faster rate. This is because a big part of what makes someone a good player is the muscle memory they develop with their marker and current gear setup. By repetitively shooting the same marker you eventually won’t even have to aim to hit your target as your brain will subconsciously take over and do it for you.
Being good at paintball requires more than just accuracy though, so be prepared to practice a variety of drills in order to hone your skills. While you may be able to find plenty of drills online, don’t forget to use your imagination and come up with a few of your own as well. You’d be surprised at how many different ways you can practice with just a few plastic bottles and some string.
Common paintball skills you can practice:
- Shooting with both hands
- Shooting while moving
- Shooting multiple targets
- Shooting off the break (marker facing behind you)
- Sliding behind a bunker
- Laning (shooting where the opponent is going to be)
If you’re going to mostly be playing woodsball then you may want to work on your stealth tactics as well. Knowing how to move quietly through the woods as well as how to properly conceal yourself will surely come in handy when you need to avoid detection.
10. You Shall Have Fun
Even though these tips are here to help you become a better player, try not to forget that paintball is actually a game you’re supposed to play for fun. Instead of allowing yourself to get frustrated whenever you get eliminated, just congratulate the other player and be determined to do better next time.
Keeping a positive attitude as you play will not only make the game more fun, but it may also help you make a friend or two. Continue playing on a regular basis and it’s possible you may one day even get invited to join a team.
You can always invite friends, family, or coworkers to come tag along as well, as paintball is definitely a game that’s fun with more people. Who knows, if some of your friends like paintball enough you may even be able to form a team of your own.
Spread the Word of the Ten Commandments of Paintball
If you’re viewing these sacred tips before you go and play paintball for the first time, then I hope you’re prepared to have one of the most fun, adrenaline packed experiences of your entire life. Not only is playing paintball the perfect way to revitalize a boring weekend, but it’s also a great way to blow off some steam after a long week of work (or school). Just make sure to follow the tenth (and most important) commandment and never forget that paintball is all about having fun.
If you’ve found any of these paintball tips to be helpful then don’t be afraid to go and spread the word of the Ten Commandments of Paintball with your friends. Of course, we can perfectly understand if you plan on keeping this invaluable information all to yourself (insert evil laugh here).