Kindergarten Basics of Paintball
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Who Can Play Paintball?
Nobody can out-run a paintball so it makes it easy for anyone to shoot and excel in the game. You can be young, old, short, tall, skinny, fat, male or female. Paintball is played by people of all ages (10 and up) and from all professions and lifestyles. Women can play equally with men.  Physical size and strength do not play a huge factor. It is one's ability  to think that helps make a star.

Because of mandatory safety gear worn in paintball (namely the paintball mask), the sport is enjoyed by many different age groups.  However getting hit with a paintball stings a bit!  The intensity of the sting from being hit is why the recommended age to play paintball is 18 years or older.  However it is not illegal for younger to play.  Safety should always be the most important aspect of the game when playing paintball.   Paintball markers can cause serious injury if not used in the correct manner for which they are built or handled properly when not in use.

What is Paintball?
Paintball is one of the worlds newest outdoor participation sports.  There are many different game variations that exist but most are a combination of "Capture the Flag", "Hide & Seek" and "Tag" for all ages!  Players are divided into two teams and the object of the game is to capture the other team's flag while protecting your own.  Players are armed with paintball guns to eliminate opposing players in their way.  The guns they use are also called ‘markers’ because they mark their opponent with a small ball of paint, called a paintball.

Paintballs are non-toxic gelatin capsules filled with washable color fluid (or paint).  When a paintball hits a player, the thin gelatin ball splits and leaves a "paint" mark to signify that player is eliminated.  Safety equipment is required to insure a safe and fun day for all.  The most essential piece of your paintball gear is the mask.

Paintball MASKS
If you play paintball, you must wear a paintball mask and not just a pair of goggles or safety glasses.  Any other form of eyewear will not be able to protect you from the force of a flying paintball.  Most protective masks fit over prescription glasses so even if you wear glasses you can still be protected. 

For the most part, paintball guns are safe, however can cause only one serious injury; getting hit directly in the eye can cause blindness.  This is why paintball masks are mandatory pieces of paintball equipment that must be worn every single time you shoot. 

CLOTHING
When playing paintball if is important to cover as much of your skin as possible including your hands.  A paintball is a flying projectile and will not only sting, but can leave a bruise if you don't thoroughly protect yourself.

The paint in a Paintball is washable and biodegradable.  It will not stain your clothing.  Be sure to rinse the paint off as soon as possible and do not leave it on the article for an extended period of time.  Any paint will leave a stain if you leave it on there long enough. It is a good idea to wear clothes that can be stained and possibly even torn.  Remember, you will be running, sliding, perhaps falling, or diving about the playing field.

The best advice is to wear a long sleeve shirt and long pants. Gloves will help, and a bandana or wrap of some sort is helpful to avoid getting the paint in your hair from direct hits or splatter.  There are also paintball jerseys and pants with added padding that can make rough play more comfortable.  You can even wear multiple shirts or a heavy coat. Anything that is going to allow you to run and play freely but does not restrict your movement is best. 

OPERATING YOUR PAINTBALL GUN (Marker)
Paintball guns
do not shoot ammunition, they shoot "paint".  A paintball marker is safe to use when used properly.  These guns are powered with high pressure air tanks or paintball CO2 canisters and most of them shoot extremely fast and hard.  Paintball markers have a safety just like a regular firearm and this should always be on when not in use; they are also equipped with a barrel plug.  The barrel plug must be inserted into your marker barrel when not in use.  One of the purposes of the barrel plug is that it advises other players that you are no longer a target.  Also if you forget to place your safety on and accidentally pull the trigger, you won't injure yourself or anyone else.

Here Are a Few Game Tips…..
As a safety issue do not take your mask off or lift it up while on the fields.  You never know when another player may forget to keep their fingers off the trigger or did not put a barrel plug back into their barrel and/or not placed the gun safety on.  Referees are always vigilant about this rule.  Be sure to keep your mask on!

Field position is very important so when the game starts, beginning running immediately. Get up field fast but do not go beyond your lines when the game begins.  Make sure you work with your team mates when positioning otherwise you may be too far beyond your lines which will allow the other team to maneuver around you for a clear shot at you.

Do not shoot until you are ready to give away your position.  As soon as you begin shooting, everyone on the field will know your location.  If you've moved up field fast, you may have a great position.  Let your opponent move within range and then take a few quick shots at them.  If your paint does not break, bounces don't count.  Keep shooting.

If you are hit, don't automatically assume that you are out.  Paintballs do bounce sometimes and if you call yourself out, you're out.  If you think you have been hit but are unsure of the accuracy, call "Paintcheck!"  A referee will then inspect you and determine if you are hit.  It is their call if you are “out” or “clean”. If you are clean then you may continue playing.

For excellent deals on beginner paintball guns and gear, visit ChoicePaintballGuns.com.  This is a huge discount store with tons of package deals designed specifically for people just starting out.  They also have a giant library of articles and blogs about every question you could possibly ask about paintball. 
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