How to Prepare to Play

xxxBefore playing many players have their own rituals or processes that they do each time. Although there may not be an exact right way of doing it there are some things that you should never forget to do. Let us start with when you first get to the field. You pull in and being to look for a parking spot. Many of the fields I have played at have grass parking lots that leave the where to park up to you. Typically teams will all park near each other or in a circle by each other to have their own little base camp to come to after each point in practices and each match at tournaments. There is where they can go over strategy and game play and offer each other advice on what they saw the person doing right or wrong. Once you have your little base camp most people begin to get their gear on to play. Always put your knee and elbow pads on first. I can not tell you how many times I have gotten almost all the way geared up to realize I forgot that very crucial step and I had to strip back down to get them on. Follow that with your pants, cleats, and jersey. This all seems quite self explanatory but there is a reasoning behind it all. Now that you have gotten most of your equipment on go buy yourself a case of the finest paint balls they offer and pay the entry fee if your field requires it. If you are anything like me this means the one that is the most bang for your buck. There is no sense in shooting the most expensive paint in a practice because you will need a lot more than anyone has previously told you.

Now run out and play right? No that is so very, very wrong. You still have a lot to do before you are even ready to step foot onto the field. Pods are your livelihood on the field and if you forget to fill a few of those bad boys up you are in for some trouble. That sounds simple enough, put paint balls in the pods. It is almost that simple but you must make sure to pack them correctly. Fill the pod up and then shake it so the paint balls can settle and fill the gaps. After that add a few more paint balls so that they do not rattle when you shake them up. Often times the lid of the pod will actually compress the paint balls ever so slightly down. A quote that applies to paintball probably more than what it was intended for is “you miss 100% of the shots you don’t take”. Bring enough pods onto the field with you so that it will match your position and job on the field. Back guys typically carry more and should really be shooting their guns the entire point. Front players have a lot of moving to do and shoot a little less. Either way you can not hit what you do not shoot at. Also be sure to store your paint in the shade or out of direct sunlight because it could cause them to swell. Now toss those pods into your pod pack in the way yours is designed to hold them and strap it around your waist.

Now that you have most of your gear on and ready, do some stretches. You are going to be running, sliding, diving, crouching, and tucked into all sorts of little spots that will strain your body if you do not prepare. Do not get stuck sitting out because you pulled a muscle from failing to stretch. Depending on the field, some places have the a period before practice or games start to check out the field. I highly recommend doing so because although it is probably set up to a layout even an inch off can open and close shots. If you do not walk the field you may think a shot will be available but then once you start playing you may find that it is not there. This can work alternatively where you can think you are safe in a certain position but due to the way the field is set up that day, you may be right in the line of fire. Knowledge is power, do not forget that. Now get back to base camp and talk over what you have seen with teammates so that you can get a good understanding of the whole field, not just the position you play.

Now if you did not already do so get your gun setup put together. Match the paint to the barrel and fill up your loader. Even more important than that make sure you fill your tank. Have you ever tried to drive a car without gas? Unless you have an electric car it probably did not go so well. Well if you do not fill up your air tank you are going to feel the same way. You will not be able to shoot paint balls with an empty tank. If you wear any head ware now is a good time to throw that on and your mask too. It is time to chronograph your marker. This means shooting over a chronograph to read what velocity your gun is shooting paint balls at. Somewhere between 280 and 300 is ideal but make sure not to go over because it could result in a penalty in a tournament. Once you get that all set and ready to go after making necessary adjustments, you are ready for game time.