Bunkering Strategies
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The simplest definition of bunkering is moving from bunker to bunker to eliminate an opposing player at close range, usually within 10 feet or less.  While this may sound simple enough, there are actually several considerations to this maneuver and this article will help you better understand those concepts.   

Backman Strategies:
If you are the backman, you will generally be supporting the frontman in his efforts to bunker an opponent.  So the first rule of thumb to follow: Always keep your eye on the target for the frontman.  Once your frontman is ready to attack, fire a heavy stream of paint to the side of your rushing frontman so the opponent can’t retreat and to keep him occupied with you instead of your approaching frontman.  You can do this by drawing his fire, moving and making him think you are a more imminent threat. While he is busy with you, your frontman can approach the opponent from the opponent’s blind side. Sounds simple enough, right?  Well, there are always those pesky teammates the opponent has and the obvious issues with noise or other concerns that will come up during this type of move.  The most important tactic for the backman is the efficiency of oral contact.  You will cue him when he should attack, when he should move one way or another, etc.  The backman will be the eyes for the frontman in this case.

Let’s consider this from a different perspective as well, shall we?  What if your frontman is about to be the victim of a bunkering!?  About 90% of the time, if your frontman gets bunkered, it is your fault.  The backman is also tasked with protecting and supporting the front players WHILE protecting the backfield.  This is not a simple task, and one that requires concentration and skill.  How do you manage this?  COMMUNICATION.  You should constantly be talking with your players offensively and defensively.  These cannot be vague statements either – you must be concise, specific and quick.  You must see the entire field as a chess board and help your team see where the game is headed.  This takes practice, but can be done. 

Frontman Strategies
The frontman’s role in bunkering is the most important.  Okay, that point can be argued, but his role is definitely the most involved and active.  The primary enemy of a frontman engaged in a bunkering situation is tunnel vision – be aware of your surroundings and don’t focus too hard on the single objective of bunkering your opponent – otherwise it will eventually get you into trouble. Your backman should be talking with you, helping you know when/where to move and, if he is skilled as a coach, will also help you avoid the tunnel vision issue. When preparing to bunker your opposing frontman, you should expect the other team’s backman and supporting players to attack you viciously. Stay low and keep your gun up.  Experienced players know to avoid rushing while shooting a stream of paintballs at the opponent’s because this is a pretty obvious sign of what you’re trying to do and can be countered quickly and easily.  Stay low and quiet, and run as fast as you can while remaining quiet.  When you reach your opponent’s bunker, try to approach his blind side. Another sometimes-effective option is to go over the top of the opponent’s bunker.  Either way, remember you are equally as vulnerable as your opponent in this situation.

The role of your support team (primarily your backman) will be critical during this process.  Like outlined in the backman’s role, it is absolutely imperative that you communicate at all times during the bunkering process.  You must clearly understand one another and be able to quickly and easily identify a target or danger zone based on instructions your backman provides.  You may devise a code system to help with this.  For example, you may call a bunker that is dangerous “hot” or you may refer to bunkers based on their field position (a bunker in the middle of the field may be bunker 50 and one three-fourths down the field would be 75).  However you go about your coding system or communication jargon, make it clear, practice it and USE IT. 

A Note About Bunkering (vs. Surrendering)
Because bunkering will always result in a very close-range shot (10 feet or closer), this has caused a few issues.  Close-range shots can be quite painful, so many fields have set up a “surrender rule”, requiring players to abstain from shooting one another from that distance.  This is a simple enough concept, but hard to execute.  How many players can accurately  measure 10 feet, especially in the “heat of battle”?  During competition, the surrender rule is usually more harmful than helpful, but many fields have implemented this rule for inexperienced players, while allowing more experienced players to do as they please in this area. 

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