If this is your first time paintballing, you could probably do with knowing what to expect. Questions that have probably popped into your head will be ‘what do I wear’, ‘will I know how to shoot the gun?’ ‘how many paintballs will I need?’ . All reasonable questions if you’re a rookie paintballer and we have even more that we think may occur to you.
How old do I need to be to play adult paintball?
The minimum age for adult paintball in the UK and Ireland is 11/12 years old. Don’t try and get round this one as you may be asked for ID and you’ll be turned away if you are under age. It’s important too in regards to insurance, as the paintball site will only be insured for adult players 11 or 12 years and above. There are paintball sites that offer junior paintball for 11 to 15yrs and then there is kids paintball and for this you can be as young as 6yrs years old. Both these younger age groups are issued with power-reduced guns.
What should I wear when I go paintballing?
Casual, loose fitting clothing is recommended as it makes it easier to move around. But, don’t come in your best gear, this is not a fashion parade. You’ll be wearing an overall to give you overall protection from the paint and the dirt, but thick, baggy clothing underneath will help the paintballs bounce off easily and in most cases eliminate the sting of the paintballs. The shoes you wear are important too. If you’re playing outside paintball, the ground will be uneven, dusty and after a downpour very muddy. So wear shoes that you don’t mind getting dirty but that give your ankles some support as many paintball sites are in woodland. Hiking boots and trainers are the most popular shoes worn. Not open toed shoes or sandals allowed.
Now let’s get to the most popular parts of the body to be targeted by the opposition. Your head is a target that begs to be shot at and luckily paintball sites provide full face goggles that protect most of your head, jaw, ears and chin, but that still leaves the back and sides of the head. Many experienced paintballers wear beanies, baseball caps and scarves; one scarf in particular called a Shemagh (pronounced ‘schmog’), gives you complete head and neck cover. Then there are your hands. Gloves are an obvious solution, but they can affect the trigger sensitivity, so make then finger-less if you do wear them. Bringing a change of clothes is a good idea because you will get dirty and sweaty.
Will it hurt if I get shot?
This fear sends new paintball players into hiding as soon as the game starts. Of course you’ll get shot and of course it will sting. Paintballs travel at around 200mph. But, if you have the right clothing on, see above, you’ll either feel nothing or if the shooter strikes lucky and gets you where you have a thinner bit of clothing, it will feel like someone has flicked you on your bare skin. Trying to hide is one sure way of getting shot, because once you’re located, you are an easy target – and you will be found. The tip is to keep moving and engage in the battles. You may go home with a few battle bruises, but you’ll have had a lot of fun.
Is it just one big free-for-all or are there set games?
A paintballing session is made up of several games and the names they are given vary from paintball site to paintball site. An example would be ‘capture the flag’ ‘last one standing’ ‘attack and defend’ ‘catch the quarry’ and many more. Once you are kitted out and in the safe zone, you will be advised what team you are in and what game is about to start. Your team gets in a huddle and decides tactics and then it is game on. Each game’s duration is dependant on team sizes and numbers of players overall. Then it is back to the safe zone to get loaded up with paintballs and regroup.
How can we play paintball to win?
Paintball is not about being the sharpest shooter; it’s about working together as a team to achieve the objective of the games. The most successful paintballers take time to communicate with their fellow players, both before and during a game, and talk tactics between each game. It’s all about being cohesive as a team and ensuring everyone knows what there doing whilst on the field. If you can work as a team and be strategic in your game playing, your team will be a real challenge to eliminate even for the most accurate sniper. Each game has an objective and the triumphant team is the one that achieves the objective before all their players are eliminated by the opposition.
Is a paintball gun built like a real gun?
Paintball guns, or markers as they are called because the game evolved from bored cattle hands who used the paint markers, that they used to mark the cattle, to fire at each other. The markers are gravity fed from the paintball hopper into the barrel ready to be fired. This means that your marker won’t work if the hopper is below the barrel of the gun, which can happen if you’re trying to fire your marker sideways or upside down.
To get a feel for the range of your marker, ask the marshal if you can a few practice shots before you start. It will also show you if your paintball marker is working correctly and will let you get a feel for how to hit a target. There’s no point firing at opponents out of range, as it’ll only give away your position.
The paintball marshal is the boss
Marshals are there to make sure that everyone is safe and to enforce the rules. Listen to the marshal at all times, not only because they are responsible for your safety, but also because they have the power to penalise you and or your team if they think that you are breaking the rules. One thing you hear a paintball marshal shouting all the time is ‘keep your facemask on’. Following this critical instruction is paramount, as paintballs travel very fast indeed and even if you can’t see through your visor because of paint or condensation, you must never, we repeat never take off your facemask in the play zones, even if the game is over.
When am I out of the game?
Once you get shot, you’re out. Once this happens you must leave the play area without removing your mask. To indicate you are no longer in play, lift your gun above your head and walk to the safe zone. If you hit someone and they don’t leave the game, then you can point it out to marshal and he will ask them to leave the play area. They may not have felt the hit, which does happen if clothing is thick enough. You can also be instantly ‘out’ if the marshal see you remove your facemask in the game area or if you have been warned about something and you ignore it.
How many paintballs will I need?
The number of paintballs you will need will be dependent of what type of player you are. Do you shoot at everyone and everything that moves, including innocent leaves and branches? Perhaps you are a more considered shooter and only fire when your target is in view and in range. It must be said that first time paintballers are either heavy users of paintballs, as they fire indiscriminately, or they hide a lot and hardly fire their guns at all. Be prepared to take enough money to play your style of paintball.
What is the most important part of paintballing?
Having fun is the number one priority for players and paintball sites make sure you do. Improving teamwork and leadership skills is another reason people play paintball, particularly for the corporate sector. Then of course charging through woodland in full battle mode with your mates, or taking part in fast and furious indoor paintball has got to be a better way of passing a weekend that being stuck at home glued to the TV or a computer game – isn’t it?
What are paintball sites like?
There are hundreds of paintball sites in the UK and Ireland. Most are outdoors in woodlands and many provide mock-up urban environments where a battles to capture a village or stronghold are part of the games played. Then there are the open paintball fields with inflatable obstacles and objects like cars, tanks and even aeroplanes that add to the fun. All game-playing areas are netted to stop paintballs flying out into public areas and a safe zone is essential as this is where you can safely get kitted out in your paintball gear, take refuge and plan your next battles. Many paintball sites provide refreshments and even a post session BBQ. Check out the sites near you through the Geronigo app, which also makes booking your game much easier.