One of the most important things to do before playing a paintball game is to check out the fields where you intend to play. Find out ahead of time if there are beginner venues available; ask if the field has games for new players. Paintball fields that offer beginner areas are great; it will be more fun to start playing against other new players of with the same experience as you.
If the field only caters to games for experienced players, you may want to look elsewhere until you gain the experience required for a more aggressive game. By talking to a field owner, manager or some of the players that play on that particular field you will find out what the general policy is toward new players.
Once you are comfortable with the field, the next step is to think about equipment. Check to see whether the facility rents equipment or if you need to bring your own. You will need a basic paintball marker, hopper, CO2 or High Pressure Air tank and paintball mask. Most facilities offer these essentials to rent at their field. Some fields will allow you to bring your own paintball guns, but may have limitations to what you can bring.
In woodsball type games, camouflage clothing will help you last longer in the game by hiding you in your environment better. It can also give you more confidence because at least you “look” like a regular player and not a newbie! Wear footwear that will give you good ankle support and protection from thorns, rocks, etc., but also comfortable enough to do a lot of running.
A popular choice for footwear are military type boots in the regular or jungle style; these are lightweight, breathe well and are reasonably priced. Be sure to break in any new shoes before playing as blisters can ruin your game. Running shoes/sneakers generally do not give adequate support for your ankles for running over rocks, fallen trees, and heavy brush commonly encountered on woodsball fields or scenario type game environments.
Knee pads are also a good idea if you have them. When you are kneeling in goat head stickers or sandburs you will be thankful for them. If you intend to do a lot of crawling, you may also want to consider elbow pads. For males, an athletic cup is a good idea as well. Women players do well with a chest protector. These are not expensive and well worth the money if you find yourself having to climb along the ground on your stomach. You can also find this type of paintball protective equipment available in all different types and patterns of camouflage.
All commercial fields offer some kind of approved eye wear for you to use if you are renting equipment. Be sure to try them on, especially if you wear glasses because not all eye or face protectors will fit over eyeglasses. When you are ready to purchase your own equipment the first piece you should buy is a paintball marker and a good paintball mask. You will also want to purchase a squeegee (gun cleaning tool) so you can clean your gun regularly while on the field. This will ensure continued accurate shots.
If you are renting equipment try to go to the field early enough to check in and get all your equipment. You will want try out the paintball gun to get used to it and make sure it doesn’t have any problems before you start a game. Make sure your paintball CO2 tank is full and attached correctly to your marker. Also be sure your paintball gun has a barrel plug; you will have this in place at all times when not on the playing field.
After getting your marker, take it to the designated practice area. Shoot ten paintballs at a slow pace while aiming carefully. This will allow you to see how the gun shoots and tests for leaks or problems. Then fire ten more paintballs; this time shoot the first five as fast as you can. This will show you how fast your gun can shoot, and if you are going to have problems with double feeding or chopping paintballs.
If the field has an orientation meeting before the first game to explain field rules and/or select teams you will want to attend. Do not be afraid to ask questions if you do not understand something. Find out what the local customs are on how you call yourself out or how to call for a paintcheck. Once you have been assigned to a team for the game, let the team captain or the other players know that you are a new player. Ask for suggestions on your game play and work with the team. If they know that you are eager to learn or that you will work with them they are more apt to assist you.
Try to buddy up with at least one other experienced player so you can learn from the way they play. Cover each other while changing CO2 or loading paintballs; load anytime you have a chance in order to keep your weapon as full as possible. If you have time and there is any concern about the amount of CO2 you have, change it quickly. Try to carry more paint and CO2 than you need so that you don't run out mid-game.Once you have played a couple of games you will get to know some of the more experienced players on your team. When you have the opportunity be sure to ask them questions; you can learn a lot by watching them play. Most people will be glad to give you reasons and explanation for why they do certain things a certain way. Use what you feel will work best for you. Most importantly, be safe and have a great time!
Note: All prices in US Dollars
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