The Lone Wolf
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Paintball is most commonly a team sport, however individuals can play - as long as there is someone to play against.  Even as part of a team, it all boils down to the individual to survive and not get hit.  In a scenario however, most of the time it takes teamwork from several individuals to accomplish a mission.  This being said, sometimes it’s fun to walk on to a field and play alone; this is the lone wolf.

The lone wolf, the player who wants to play without multiple people, is often one of two types… the seasoned veteran or the naïve newbee player.  The seasoned veteran knows what he is doing and is very familiar with paintball strategies, defensive movements and who the key players to watch out for are.  He joins the game by himself because he wants the survival challenge and adrenaline rush of going it alone. 

The naïve newbee makes decisions with his ego and thinks he doesn’t need a team; he’s easy to spot because he’s often the first to get picked off in a game.  These wolves are gung-ho, yes; but hopefully are open to learning from the more experienced players, as they have a lot to learn.  The newbee lone wolves are often overly aggressive, reacting to situations rather than analyzing first resulting in silly mistakes that lead them quickly to the sidelines.  These players make easy targets for the seasoned player.

Sometimes it’s fun for a lone wolf to play the sniper position; this has its advantages and disadvantages.  Alone, the sniper has free reign to travel as he sees fit, sneaking, hiding and stealthily following his target to track and hunt down an unsuspecting opponent.  As a lone wolf, the sniper is very much a singular ninja assassin, completely relying on his own skills with no back up in case he’s spotted.  If this player is to last, he should be well experienced in stealth movement, paintball strategy and his sniping skills must be black belt level. 

In reality, it’s much more advantageous for the sniper to travel with a partner, his ‘spotter’.  Real military snipers often have a partner who uses a ‘spotting scope’; this allows them to monitor a target and relay info to the sniper about the target’s surroundings, movement or other pertinent data that may help make the kill more successful.  A paintball sniper’s partner can use a pair of binoculars to do the same.  The other advantage of having a partner is for back up fire in case the sniper’s location is discovered by the enemy.  If the opposing team finds a lone wolf sniper, he can be easily overwhelmed as a single player with multiple enemies firing on him. 

To successfully accomplish a mission in scenario paintball, working with a team is imperative; particularly capture the flag.  Lone wolves are the least beneficial in these games due to the demand of seamless teamwork.  A team that runs like a well-oiled machine can be thrown off from the lone wolf player who has no desire to work together.  The mark of an inexperienced player is the newbee lone wolf who goes out of his way to take all the credit, often choking a team’s effort for victory. 

Lone wolves come in all shapes and sizes; snipers, back players, frontmen and mid players.  All have the potential to be anti-teamwork lone wolves.  Sometimes the lone wolf player can be a real damper on the paintball field; however sometimes it’s fun to take on the challenge of being a lone wolf sniper.  Only the lone wolf sniper has advantages of perhaps faster, stealthier movement.  Lone wolf players in a team situation is almost always a disaster however and this behavior should be highly discouraged as quickly as possible.

So, how do you keep these players from ruining your chances of being the best?  One good way is to step up discipline on your team; these players generally hate structure.  Make certain guidelines for keeping team status, like practicing at specific times and having to compete.  Also, structure your practice times to not only become more efficient with your training, but teach the lone wolf player team strategies – forcing him to be an integral part of them.  These ideas will also make your team much better as well. 

Another way to fix the lone wolves is to make it mandatory to stay with another teammate at all times.  Pair the lone wolves with someone who is very team oriented and see what happens.  Encourage teamwork in the lone wolf player by praising him, giving rewards and practicing team building exercises together.  In many cases, actively working to correct a lone wolf player’s attitude will also bring your whole team closer together. 

Even though sometimes it’s fun to be a lone wolf player, this style of play has mostly disadvantages.  While the seasoned vet’s chances of survival depend on his experience level, as a lone wolf, his chances of accomplishing a complete mission on his own is slim.  Rookie lone wolf players who are antagonistic to team play, can be a slow growing cancer that can ruin a team’s chances at victory if not dealt with swiftly.  
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