Since it was invented back in the 80’s, paintball has grown in popularity and has spread from the USA to almost all parts of the world. There are many people who enjoy playing paintball with their fiends for fun, but there are also those who took their passion for this sport to the next level and became professional paintball players.
The rules of the game might vary from country to country, but there’s one thing that’s the same everywhere: the sheer excitement this sport brings to participants. If you’ve got the bug and are thinking of going from rookie to professional, you should probably start by doing as much research as possible to understand all the implication of this transition.
Hopefully, you’re not so naïve as to think that all it takes to be a professional paintball player is to arm yourself with the best paintball gun money can buy and join in on a few games. Nope, nothing is ever as simple as that. On a more positive note, it’s not impossible to achieve your dream either. That’s why we put together a list with useful tips and advice on how to go pro. Here it is:
Practice makes perfect
How to start when you don’t know where to start from? Start by practicing. That doesn’t mean playing a game or two every now and then. It means playing a lot of paintball. It’s a lot easier to do that if there are paintball facilities in your area. Search for one as close to your location as possible, as it will be more convenient for you and will allow you to practice any time you get the chance. It’s the only way you can improve your skills and a good starting point for a pro career.
Talking about skills, there are a few drills you should focus on that will help you become better:
- Aiming – place a target at different distances and shoot at it until you hit it. Once you hit it, change hands and try to do the same with the other hand. Repeat this until you get tired of it.
- Snap shots – shooting from the hip, as if you were playing in a good-old western, will help you improve your reflexes. You can do the same thing as above, place a target at a suitable distance and shoot at it several times in a fast succession.
- Shoot while moving – just as before, the goal is to aim a fixed target, but this time you have to do it while moving. Try to run at different speeds, in different directions and shoot at your target until you succeed.
- Leapfrogging – this is a team exercise that will help you get closer to a target. One team member moves forward while the other covers. After he stops, the second team member advances a little further while the first one covers and so on, until they reach the target. This exercise will help you get the handle on team work.
Find a team
Practicing alone won’t do you much good if you’re not integrated into a team. The next step you should take is to find a professional paintball team that is looking for a new player. You can do that by asking around in your local paintball community or by accessing popular paintball forums. Talkpaintball.com, p8baller-forums.com, pbnation.com are some of the best-known paintball forums with large active communities where you can find people just as passionate as you who are willing to give you tips and advice on anything paintball related, including how to find a team.
If you can’t find a team that will accept you or if there are no teams in your area, there’s always the option of starting your own team. You must surely know a few people who would love to join. All you have to do is gather together and start participating in different tournaments. Before you know it, you’ll have evolved into a skilled group and other players will ask you to take them on your team.
To play like a pro, you have to be armed like a pro. The gear you use is unmistakably a very important aspects when trying to become a professional. It doesn’t mean that you have to buy the most expensive equipment out there, but it does have to be good quality because obviously you need a paintball gun that will actually shoot when it’s supposed to. It won’t really matter that you are an excellent paintball player if your paintball gun doesn’t work properly. So, from googles, to guns and protective body armors, make sure all the gear you purchase is reliable.
Be an observer
As important as practice might be, standing on the sidelines is also important. By observing others play you can see things that otherwise you wouldn’t notice. Paintball involves a lot of tactics and strategy. You can learn how to develop your own strategic skills by watching how the pros do it. They say that you learn how to do something by stealing from other people’s experience and this is a good example of it. Pay attention to experienced players and try to understand the reasons for their decisions and actions.
Manage your expectations
It’s natural to be excited and overenthusiastic when you first start out on the road to becoming a pro, but it’s also easy to lose motivation if things aren’t evolving as fast as you think they should. Nobody said it was easy, so try to remember that it’s highly unlikely to make the leap from amateur player to professional paintball player in a short period of time.
Also, don’t let people around you influence you in a negative way. Don’t lose hope just because some believe you don’t have what it takes to reach your goal. There’s no recipe for it, no particular path you have to follow, as people from all domains have managed to make their dream come true. It takes a lot of hard work, patience and, most importantly, it takes commitment and consistency. In the end, if you’re truly dedicated to this sport, you will make it to the top.