Tips For a Better Paintball Game
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Avid paintballers are always looking to improve their game.  This is generally done in two ways; improving your game skills and/or improving your equipment.  You can improve your game skills by practicing consistently – the more you play and work on the areas you’re weak on, the better you’ll get; this is an on-going process.  You can also improve your performance on the field by upgrading certain aspects of your paintball equipment.  Remember, equipment upgrades are available to every player, while skills are attained from hard work and regular training habits.

The fastest way to make a difference in your performance is to upgrade your paintball gun.  Give your marker a competitive edge by upgrading with certain parts to increase your shot distance and accuracy.  These accessories include a longer barrel, a short range scope and/or a laser for pin point accuracy.  Upgrades for paintball guns such as these are generally very affordable ranging between $50-100, however can make a tremendous difference in your game.

When buying a paintball marker, make sure you get one that’s easy to disassemble for cleaning.  Keeping your gun clean, well-oiled and maintained will ensure it performs at it’s optimum.  A paintball gun that needs cleaning can easily become jammed; this is a bad problem in the middle of a fierce battle.  If you have to clean your marker in the middle of a game, a gun that’s easy to disassemble will allow for a quick operation. 

Unless you’re the Frontman, all other positions on the field do well if their paintball marker can shoot far; distance in your shot is extremely important for back players to provide cover fire for the more forward positions.  Adding a longer barrel will allow your gun to shoot a bit farther.  If you have a Tippmann paintball gun, the Flatline barrel will give you an additional 100+ feet to your shot. 

If serious competition is your goal, use mid-high grade paintballs while practicing (as well as in the competition).  The smartest thing to do is use the same brand of paintballs to practice with that will be used in the tournament if you can get them.  Most of the time this isn’t the case however.  Using better than average paintballs for practice will allow for more efficient practice; taking less time with problems like gun cleaning.  Using good paintballs will also give you more consistent accuracy and help you dial in your paintball gun much better; get used to the way it shoots when firing good paint.  

Another tip to help improve your paintball game is to know the field you’re playing on.  If you’re playing on a field you’re not familiar with, take some time before the game to walk around it and observe.  Study where the best hiding spots are and try to visualize different shots that might be effective.  If the field has different elevations, try to find the highest points for the best vantage points to snipe from.  Consider the different positions on your team and place them on the field according to the best possible spots and angles would be.  

Along side of knowing the field, know yourself.  Know your physical limits and choose your position on the field accordingly.  If you know you’re a slow runner, perhaps the Frontman position is not for you; consider the sniper or back player positions who doesn’t have to move as much during the game.  While training, practice on your weak points to first improve the designated position you play; then practice on ones you don’t.  A player who’s adept at several positions is more valuable to the team as a fill in case of an accident or a no show. 

Another great tip is to stay in shape!  While some recreational players use paintball as their exercise, others use it as their main sport and train to become a better, faster, stronger player.  Improve your game by getting in better shape; train with weights and include regular cardiovascular (aerobics) training to improve your ability to run up and down the field.  It also helps to combine your physical conditioning training with your paintball gear; for example, jog or run your cardio while carrying your paintball gun or loaded down with the equipment you will wear in a tournament.

Pay attention to what you eat and drink before you play paintball, whether you’re just practicing or particularly before a tournament.  Stay away from soft drinks but make sure you’re plenty hydrated by drinking water.  Remember, proper hydration can only come from pure water; just because tea is made with water or juice ‘has water in it’, does not mean your body uses these sources as hydration – it doesn’t!  Drink plenty of water before, during and after playing paintball

Stay away from junk food and fast food as they will weigh you down from too much fat, salt and sugar.  Sugary snacks will tend to cause a hypoglycemic low shortly after consumption – causing fatigue, sleepiness and possibly a jittery, shaky feeling; generally not the way you want to feel in the middle of a fast round of paintball.  Try not to eat directly before playing paintball (or any athletic event); 1-1½ hours before is ideal.  Complex (low glycemic) carbohydrates and a lean protein source at this time is perfect.  Many players use energy drinks right before a match; this is fine as these drinks raise awareness and give you more energy to play.  They should not however replace water.

Finally, play by the rules, obey the referees and stay safe when playing paintball.  This means wearing the proper safety equipment and keeping a barrel plug in your gun when in the safety zone or in between games.  Safety equipment for paintball mainly consists of a paintball mask; this piece is mandatory.  Some players choose to wear non-essential paintball protective equipment consisting of chest protectors, arm/leg padding, body armor or helmets, however this equipment is not required to play.
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