Speedball Strategies
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By: Mitch Harvey
As captain of a speedball team, there is much responsibility for setting up a good winning strategy.  Depending on the type of game, layout of the field and the experience of the  opposing team, our strategy may change.  With us however, one thing’s for sure… we always have a plan.  We never just randomly go out on the field and find a spot to hide and shoot once the air horn is blown. 

Before we even hit the field, we already have players designated to cover certain positions such as the snake and dorrito bunker.  Whenever possible, we usually try to walk the field the day before or right before the game to look at the field layout.  Examining the bunker layout is a valuable tactic in determining your first moves and to solidify the best strategy to use.   

One effective strategy we like to use is at the very beginning of the game, as soon as the initial starter horn blows.  This strategy can be used irregardless of the field layout, and if done correctly will eliminate opposing players in the first few seconds of the game.  Designate one of your back players to rapidly shoot as soon as the horn blows to try and eliminate any opposing player who’s running off the break to secure their position. 

In most cases, the other team is expecting you to immediately scramble for a position (like they are), rather than start shooting right away.  Shooting a barrage of paintballs right off the break will often eliminate at least one of their players at the very beginning of the game.  If successful and you’re only playing with 3-man teams, a 3 vs. 2 match is a great advantage that will often shorten the game right off the bat. 

The back player can also be useful in laying down suppressive fire into the bunkers so your other teammates can move up and safely find a position.  Playing the back field is not such a safe position in which you can just stay home and fire at people from a distance.  If everyone gets eliminated and you are still at the back bunker, the whole game is relying on you.

Another very effective strategy is to have someone protecting the person in the snake.   The player in the snake is a valuable position because of their place on the field; the cover of the snake bunker often allows many tricky angled shots.  The layout of the snake bunker will also allow a player to move from side to side on the field while still having cover. 

The player protecting the snake position should watch out for anyone trying to get into the snake from the opposing team.  If the other team gets into the snake first, it will be very difficult to control this advantageous bunker; it will be hard for your teammate to get into the snake and secure it for your team without getting hit.  It’s smart to designate a player to the snake who’s extremely fast – so they can beat the other team there but also to use the snake bunker for it’s full advantages.

Finally, practice your strategies over and over again on a regular basis so your team moves like a well-oiled machine.  This will make the difference between just being pretty good and winning it all; it will make the difference between first and second place.  Practice on-field communication skills and movement under pressure.  Practice different positions so you can be ready at a moment’s notice to effectively handle any spot on the field.

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