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Trust the Trainer

Trust the Trainer
Last week, New England’s only pro team (187) shuttered its doors after 5 years.

I’m guessing that it was a bittersweet moment for Dave Painter, the founder and godfather of the 187 cRew. It’s a labor of love, running a pro team. It’s stressful and expensive and it gives you a glimpse into just how good the top teams are, up close and personal. As time wears on and you first start thinking about the end of your run, you worry about both taking care of your players and your legacy. At least I did. And when you decide to pull the plug, it hurts. And a week later, it hurts less. And two months later, you’re saying to yourself, “wow, how did I carry that weight that long?”

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Paintball is different than other sports in that a player’s ability to advance is predicated on his access to teams at the next level. If you grow up in an area without nationally competing teams, it’s really hard to get on a team that competes nationally. Saying it like that makes it sort of … duh. I know. But most sports have town leagues, high school teams, college teams. None of that exists in paintball. The strength of a region comes from the team OWNERS that exist in that area. People like Dave Painter, Beau Milo (NYO), Sean Wyatt and Brett Messer (Bay State), Dean Carleton (PMob), Rob Lospannato (Landslyde), Kermit (CTO), Arnold (MOB Crew) and Adam Zippin (Crusade) (and many more - New England is spoiled) aren’t so much created by NE paintball as much as they make NE paintball. The more of them that exist today, doing a good job running teams today, the more will exist tomorrow. When people like Dave hang ‘em up, teams die. When enough people like Dave hang ‘em up, regions die. 

Which brings me to the NEPL Combine. Boston Paintball’s 12-years running clinic-and-team-building extravaganza. Two years ago, Boston introduced the Coaches’ Clinic, hosted by Todd Martinez. This year the class is being taught by Rusty Glaze. And, with all due respect to the excellent pro players who come in to coach players, helping them refine their skills to the point where they are ready to join teams and advance their ‘careers’, the Coaches’ Clinic helps create the teams those players need to put those newfound skills to good use. 

I am attending Rusty’s clinic. Bluntly, I wonder about any serious team that doesn’t have someone attending. This is the guy who coaches DYNASTY. Forget all the years he played professionally and all the skills and knowledge he garnered playing with Infamous and Dynasty, the greatest team in the history of our sport hand selected him to lead them. 

If you are a coach, if you are a player who thinks he may someday become a coach, if you are a team captain, if you are a player on a team who wants to know how he can help the entire group move forward, find a coaching clinic taught by someone who actually knows their ****, and take advantage of it. Come with questions (I’m coming with a bunch for Rusty), pay very close attention. Without people learning what Rusty can teach, it won’t matter how good you are as a player. Ryan, Damian, Billy and Nick create players. What Rusty will be teaching can create a region.

 

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New Faces of the Game: SplatMaster vs. Low Impact vs. Traditional Paintball

New Faces of the Game: SplatMaster vs. Low Impact vs. Traditional Paintball

Paintball vs LowImpact vs SplatMaster

Always wanted to play paintball or maybe it’s been suggested and you just aren’t sure it’s a good fit? Let’s talk - ok let’s read - about it! 

At Boston Paintball we now offer 3 different versions of the game:

Traditional .68 caliber Paintball (ages 10+)

Low Impact .50 caliber Paintball (ages 10+) and

SplatMaster .50 caliber (ages 8+)

Boston Paintball started it’s business almost 25 years ago with traditional .68 caliber paintball. Since there are now a few new options to help just about anyone enjoy the game, we've started to refer to it as exactly that -  Traditional Paintball to help distinguish from the other options we offer. 

Traditional paintballs are about the size of a dime and travel at approx 280 feet per second (just shy of 200 miles an hour) and that translates into it packing a little bit of a punch. You will certainly feel the pinch a tad more easily with traditional paintball if you don’t layer up appropriately but remember “Pain heals, chicks dig scars, glory lasts forever.” Nah it’s not that bad but it is usually the best type of play for players over 13, players that have played paintball before or for those who measure higher on the dare devil scale.  

Maybe you have a smaller, quieter, less daring Dare Devil and when you hear paintball you start imagining Rambo, camouflage and face paint and are thinking “Ummmm…. No. Pass. ” Now not so fast! Low Impact Paintball is the PERFECT fit! 

Low Impact paintballs are smaller and weigh in at .50cal (fifty caliber) so, what that means is that they are 40% the size and weight of a .68cal ball. Think marble size (.68) and half a marble size :) Low Impact paintballs travel at slower speed which if you like math means approximately 225 fps. There is much less 'force' on the ball and the paintball hurts a lot less when it makes contact.  

Another great side effect of low impact is that the paintball markers are able to be made much smaller and lighter because the equipment needs to do less work. This makes the .50cal set-ups much easier for smaller players to manage.

And lastly, our Splatmaster equipment uses a spring driven system to shoot a .50caliber paintball at a small portion of the speed of the first two examples. If your player has ever played with a Nerf gun, the Splatmaster gun will be very familiar. The idea is that reduced flight speed and lighter ball (again only 40% the size and weight of a traditional .68 caliber paintball, but now with less than 50% of the travel speed) will further reduce impact, leaving you with little to no 'ouch' factor at all. It is a great introducion to paintball for young players and easy on the mature kids too!

 

When trying to decide which is best consider there three things:

  1. The age of the players - different requirements for different versions 
  2. The experience of the players: 

If your players have already played regular .68 cal paintball, they may not want to do Low Impact and most players over 13 crave the “all in” version, to them it makes for better stories!

3. Composition of the group:

If all of the players are 10 yrs old+ and played a few times, but some of the players are just 10 and/or never played at all, then Low Impact would be a great place to get started because it is so visually similar to traditional paintball. 

 

Paintball has been a fun, safe and all inclusive game for decades and the new versions only make it even more so! More girls are playing paintball because of SplatMaster and Low Impact, more offices are getting in on the game and more families are having the time of their lives running around burning off some calories and energy and making memories that will be brought up time and time again.  Call your local field with questions, read all the info and check it out some weekend you are running errands.  We love our game and we want you to love it just as much #playpaintball !! 

 

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No Coach? How to work around it

No Coach? How to work around it

No Coach?

 

Having a coach helps. A lot. But not having one isn’t a death sentence. You can still compete. It’ll just take a bit more work.

So, how do we plan around not having a coach?

The first step happens before you get to the event, at practices. Learn the field as best you can and create a ‘playbook’. Playbooks have fallen out of grace in recent years because they somewhat limit you. You have your ‘canned’ responses and are potentially limited (or at least, challenged to think outside the box in a time-sensitive, pressurized situation) to what you’ve already drawn up. But, without a coach, at least at the beginning, it will probably help because it’ll focus your thoughts onto a challenge you can deal with. Eventually you want to get away from a playbook but to start, a playbook will help you focus on controlling your pits and creating the calm, focused environment you want.

The second step: set up your first # points. Who is playing what breakout? Again, as with the playbook, you are accepting some limitations (flexibility) in exchange for some benefits (control, depressurizing). Eventually you’ll want to become more fluid and to create responses to the field in real time, but to start, this will help.

Next step: scout like hell. Watch every point of every team you play. Between scouting and the playbook, you’ll be able to map the first # points for each match 30 minutes before you play (in what will hopefully be a nice, calm team discussion).

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Managing the Pit

Managing the Pit

 

Bluntly: you aren’t going to win anything if you spend all your energy fighting yourselves. Disorganized, unfocused, stressed out pits are a death sentence for any team.

The army has a saying, “Men need to be led.” Make no mistake about it, pits need to be controlled. Own the pit. Get everyone focused in the same (and hopefully right) direction. 

Each case is different, so there is no cure-all I can offer, just high level directions.

Get everyone to the point where they understand and buy into the idea that the team is bigger than any individual. The team is greater than the sum of its parts. The name on the front of your jersey is more important than the one you the back. Maybe that starts with a coach or captain who the team listens to (the coach or captain, standing in for the team, is bigger than each individual). Eventually, though, people need to realize that it is the team that they are there for, not themselves. The team is bigger than the individual.

Get everyone focused on things they can control. You can’t control the reffing. You can’t control the paint. You can’t even control your teammates. So don’t waste time on it. Fix what YOU can fix, which is only, ever, yourself. Trust your teammates to do the same. But no finger should ever be pointed at something you can’t fix or have no control over.

Get everyone focused on the next point. How you got shot only matters as a mistake-driven learning opportunity. If you bounced a guy, it only matters so the next point everyone knows that shot. If the other guy wiped or the ref made a bad call, get over it. You have another point coming up in just a few minutes, but you have all night after the event to cry about life’s great injustices. 

Don’t get caught up in past successes. That’s a trap. Each year, you have to evaluate what your CHANGING needs are. What worked for you one year may or may not work for you the next. Each team has to find its own answer for each challenge, and sometimes each challenge, each time, because what the team needs changes as players, coaches, sponsors and expectations come and go.

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Does Paintball Hurt?

Does Paintball Hurt?

This is by far the most common question about paintball and the "pain" part of paintball can be a little intimidating.  Won't lie. The answer is that paintball CAN hurt but the more informed you are about what makes it hurt can help make it hurt a LOT less.  There are a few things you can do to ensure that worrying about what it will feel like won’t take away from the experience - paintball IS after all one of those Bucket List things that you just have to try at least once!

What you wear and where you play are the two biggest factors involved in the ouch factor.  Yeah, it may be 80 degrees in the middle of July but shorts and a tank top are not really how you want to do this! Layers are key - the more the better and if it's just too hot - at least make sure there is no bare skin to speak of.  A long sleeve t-shirt and some sweatpants will be well worth the effort.  And ladies, Yoga pants? We would leave them in the car for the ride home and opt for loose, baggy pants.  Bring thin gloves if you have them, a beanie or a baseball hat flipped backwards helps too.  Sneakers or boots will work - opened toe shoes are a definite NO! 

Now where you play and why it matters.

There are a LOT of woods and abandoned properties out there and they are usually just begging for someone to bust out a paintball game - awesome! But, this experience can easily give first time players a not so great impression of the game and here's why. Paintball playing fields NEED you to have a good experience, one that may make you want to come back.  To ensure this they make sure the guns used on their fields are operating within safe operating guidelines.  Paintball guns shoot in Feet Per Second (FPS) and it is how we measure velocity.  Safe velocity is between 220 and 280 FPS.  Paintball goggles are rated to withstand 300FPS and paintballs themselves are made to shoot optimally between the same ranges.  There is never a reason for a paintball gun to be shooting higher than 300FPS - but it can happen.  Paintball fields have the necessary equipment to test this - and do often. Trust them! 

The more you know - the better your paintball experience can be! If you have questions - call the field and ask them - they will be more than happy to help you feel confident that paintball is more fun than ouch!  

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