There are some tips and tricks that I have picked up over the years that have been absolute game changers in how I play and manage my gear. Once you actually start implementing them, you wonder how you actually managed without them!
Everything from how you think on the field to how you reload your paint can drastically change your game and just make your next outing that much more enjoyable!
1 – Right Handed Players Look Right First
Think about it, most people who are right handed will naturally look right, walk right, pick things up and hold objects with their right hands. This can extend to the casual player as well, once they reach a bunker they will usually look right before they check the left side.
But how does this translate to paintball? If you know your opposition will naturally check their right (your left) first, that leaves a massive blind spot on the opposing players left side. This usually gives you an extra second or so to continue advancing up on their blind side.
Check out the Youtube video below for a perfect example of this in action (fast forward to the 2 minute mark for the action).
For more details on this and some extra ninja tips, check out my other post on taking advantage of the psychology of the average player.
2 – Learn to Shoot With Both Hands
You hear a lot of players badger on about learning to shoot with both hands, but this is truly a vital skill to learn. I myself have not truly mastered shooting with my off hand, but I can still use it with devastating results!
The main reason behind it is that if you naturally shoot right handed and are shooting out the right side of the bunker, when you expose yourself to shoot you show a minimal amount of yourself and are a smaller target. If you shoot right handed out of the left side of the bunker, you are usually exposing half of your torso and have to lean further out to the side or risk exposing your legs as well.
It isn’t exactly the easiest thing to naturally do, if you are in the heat of a battle and are starting to get worn down, you may not switch hands properly and expose yourself more than usual or just have to hold your marker in a funky manner throwing off your aim.
3 – Paint Quality Over Barrel Quality
Quite a few of us can and will get sucked into “gear hype” and buy what the pros are using or what everyone says is the best. Barrels are usually one of the first things people upgrade or buy as everyone wants more accuracy.
Most new players don’t realize that all paintballs are not made equally, even if they are the same brand! Paintball quality can even be effected beyond the plant that they are made. Things like poor handling, inadequate storage temperatures, and even time sitting on the shelf can drastically change how well the paint flies out of your gun, regardless of what barrel you are using.
If at all possible, use the fields paint as they usually have fresher and better paint than that found at major box stores. I know my local fields won’t keep paint for longer than 1-2 months and properly store their paint at the right temperature.
Having worked at a sporting goods store myself, I have seen paintballs sitting on the shelf for well over a year and actually had to fight to get them removed from the store. Some places actually put the date of when the paintballs were either made or shipped to the store. If you can, try and find one with a fresher date on it if you need to buy some from the store.
4 – Speedfeeds
I myself was completely against speedfeeds for the longest time. I remember when they first came out and wondered how long it will be before I get shot in the hopper or get rained out. After converting over about two years ago, I don’t see myself going back any time soon.
The ability to just dump paint right into your hopper without having to manipulate a lid makes the whole process seamless and fast. Plus you don’t have to worry about breaking your lid if you over extend it when opening (I have broken MANY lids this way).
Seriously, pick one up for your hopper and don’t look back. I have to have one for my hoppers now, it just isn’t the same without one. Click the link to check out Amazon so you can find a speedfeed for your hopper! https://amzn.to/2qkOwy4
5 – Barrel Swabs and Pull Through Squeegees
No matter how expensive your paintball gun is, how awesome your hopper is, or how smooth your barrel is, you are going to break a paintball in your barrel and will have to clean it out.
If you don’t clean them out, your accuracy and consistency will be severely diminished. Thankfully we have barrel swabs and pull through squeegees to quickly and effectively clean out your barrels!
I personally like to use barrel swabs on the field for quick cleanups in the middle of a firefight and pull through squeegees off the field to get the barrels squeaky clean. You can always just get away with having a barrel swab for both on and off the field if you don’t want to be like me and tote around a bunch of extra gear.
My favorite barrel swab is the Exalt Barrel Made, seriously I have 5 or 6 of them in various gun bags and gear bags. I never hit the field without one! They are much much more durable than the standard barrel swabs and has a squeegee on one end! They can be picked up for a great price on Amazon and come in a bunch of different colors! https://amzn.to/2POlL7s
6 – Point Your Feet at Your Target
Your shooting stance is just as important as the quality of the paint you are shooting. If you don’t have a solid or consistent shooting stance, your shots will have a greater chance to waver when you pop out from behind the bunker to shoot.
One of the most important shooting stance tips I can pass along to any player is to simply point both feet at your target. Doing this will naturally line up your body, shoulders and your gun at your target. This will adjust your point of aim at your target and your body is less likely to swing out to the side when you shoot.
If you don’t line up your feet and have them pointing in different directions away from your target, your body will naturally twist out to the side when you snap out from behind the bunker. You want a nice, solid base when you shoot so you can consistently line up your shots each time when you engage your target.
7 – Paintball Caddies and Ball Haulers
If you have ever had to reload your hopper or pods by yourself, you know this can be a challenge to do without spilling paint. Having to hold your gun upright, hold the bag of paint, and pour the paint into your hopper or pod sometimes feels like you need 3 or more hands to easily accomplish.
I picked up my first paint caddie about three years ago and let me tell you, these things are awesome!! Not only do they allow you to easily fill your hopper and pods, but they also keep your paint protected from the humidity and direct sunlight. They have the added benefit to being a handy storage container to bring your loose paint home in after the day is over. Click here to check out all the different types on Amazon!
8 – The Best Time to Advance is at The Start of The Game
Most of us start off scared to move forward at the beginning of the game, but this is actually the best and safest time to do so! When you are running off the break of the game, the other team is actually doing the same thing. This equates to more players focusing on moving and not shooting, allowing you to move up further and allowing your team to cover more ground.
Most recball fields are quite large and some are so big that you can’t even shoot to the other side! These fields offer no excuse to stay near your teams starting point at any point of the game unless you have been pushed back by the other team. The general rule that I play by is that if you don’t see the other team, they probably can’t see you either. So book it!
9 – Just Drop Your Pods
You can waist a lot of valuable time trying to shove your pods back into your pod pack, allowing your opponents to move up on you or change locations. If you are playing on a small recball field, just close the lid and toss it off to the side or behind the bunker.
If you are playing on a large field or a scenario event, you won’t want to just abandon your pods so willingly. In these cases I use a dump pouch to throw my pods in after I use them. The best one I found for paintball pods is the Maxpedition Mega Rollypoly Folding Dump Pouch as I can easily shove 6-7 pods in it without any worry of them falling out. https://amzn.to/33higdv
10 – Microfiber Cloths Get Dirty Fast
If you play long enough, you will have to clean off your paintball mask from paint and splatter. Usually people recommend microfiber cloths to clean your lens, but after 3-4 times the microfiber is gross and will just smear paint everywhere.
I personally like to use the blue shop towels that you can find at your local automotive store or any store that sells hardware. They are durable, absorbent, don’t scratch your lens, and are only $1 – $3 per roll! I purchased a 24 pack myself so that I can always have some on hand. Otherwise you can pick em up on Amazon for a bit more. https://amzn.to/2pxlJ9x
11 – Watch Other Games
Paying attention to how other players move on the field can help you learn any weak spots on the field and what places to look out for. When watching the game, don’t just pay attention to where the players move and shoot, but how they do it. If a player crawls from one bunker to another instead of runs, look around to see why they did so.
You can learn so much by paying attention to how other players stand, play, move, and even how they were eliminated. If players are going down in the same spot each time, take a look around to see what the cause could be and how it could be avoided or even countered.
12 – Improve Your Skill Level By Handicapping Yourself.
You will eventually come to a point that using the same paint spewing machine will provide you little to no growth in your game. At this point, you may need physical restrictions to force improvement quickly and easily in a specific skill set.
Limiting yourself can be easily done and with little effort. If you want to practice shooting left handed, just play left handed and don’t switch. If you want to focus on shooting more accurately, throw on a slower, smaller hopper to limit your rate of fire. If you want to focus on moving on the field, set a timer on your watch where you can’t shoot until 10-15 seconds have elapsed, during so you have to be moving around. The possibilities are endless.
13 – Have a Backup Setup
You may have your main shooter, but what happens if it goes down for the day? Will you spend an hour or more trying to fix your paintball gun or can you grab your backup? Having a backup of similar layout (even if it is a lower end setup) allows you to just put down your busted gun, pick up the backup, and continue throwing paint.
I like to bring an extra backup or two with me so I don’t have to worry about getting my main setup back up and running. This has preventing me from having a bad day and let me just enjoy myself.
14 – Wear a Hat to Make Your Mask Fit Better
Sometimes your mask will just feel too big on your head, regardless if you have the strap tightened up all the way. If you wear a backwards hat, beanie, or a headband you can help your mask fit more securely and help prevent sweat from dripping down into your eyes.
Not only that, they help protect your head from direct paintball hits. Getting knocked on the dome doesn’t feel good at all and any way to reduce the sting is a good thing.
15 – Bring A Spare Set of Clothes
At the end of the day, your going to be covered in sweat, paint, and dirt. Most people won’t want to allow such a person into their car (like our moms) so it would be ideal to bring something to change into. I usually just bring an extra shirt, basketball shorts, and flipflops that I can quickly and easily change into.
If you don’t want to change, you can just bring an old blanket or towel to sit on instead. Paintballs wash off, but sometimes the paint can embed itself into the fibers of the seat.