How To Play Paintball – How To Get Started

How To Play Paintball

If being pelted by a tiny ball moving at upwards of 200 miles per hour doesn't scare you, then paintball may be the right sport for you!

Paintball is known world-wide as a great sport for anyone who enjoys a thrill and staying active outdoors with friends.

But paintball can be significantly less enjoyable if you don't know what you're doing.

While the best way to get better at paintball is to obviously go out there and play, knowing some basic tips and tricks can be extremely useful before you hit the pitch for the first time.

So what do beginners need to know?

Read on for the best paintball tips for beginners!

How To Dress For Paintball

Unlike some sports where you can just roll up in a t-shirt, shorts, and sneakers and be ready to play, for paintball you must have the appropriate gear. This is for both your comfort and your safety.

For those who don't want to invest in paintball gear right away, here's what you should be wearing:

  • Hat/Headgear- the most important part to protect. Wear a baseball cap or winter hat.
  • Top- stick to dark, long-sleeved tops. Hoodies and loose sweatshirts usually work well
  • Gloves- Gardening gloves, football gloves, or fingerless weightlifting gloves all work just fine.
  • Pants- loose sweatpants, cargo pants, and jeans all work fine.
  • Shoes- Wear shoes that you don't mind getting wet or dirty, such as football cleats, army boots, or hiking boots.

The goal with gearing up is to have minimal amount of skin exposed. While you may think you'll be more comfortable in shorts in a t-shirt, trust us, you won't. The second your skin takes a hit from a paintball you'll be regretting this decision.

Do Paintballs Hurt?

Paintball isn't for the faint of heart. You have to be somewhat fearless to willingly play a sport that involves getting shot at by a ball moving over 200 miles per hour.

But don't let that number scare you too much, getting hit by a paintball doesn't hurt as badly as you think.

Yes, it'll sting and possibly leave a mark. But the pain only lasts for a second and usually you'll be so wrapped up in game strategy that you'll forget about it right away anyways.

So, don't spend your entire first game ducked behind some bush. Not only is this not fun, but it actually makes you an easier target.

If getting hit is really freaking you out, wear some extra layers your first couple games until you get used to it.

Keep Your Mask On

Under no circumstances should your mask ever come off your face while you are in the paintball zone.

A paintball hit to exposed skin on the arms or legs may leave a welt, but a paintball to the face can do permanent damage.

Fire Wisely

While paintball is a game of athletic prowess, it is also a game of strategy.

And often times, those who are the best shooters aren't necessarily those with the best aim. The best ones are those who shoot only when it's wise to shoot.

So when are the wisest times to pull the trigger? Here's what to know about firing:

  • Fire only when you can see your opponent and you know you have a good chance of getting them
  • To lay down a hail of paint in order to help a teammate move to a new position
  • In order to test your trigger before the game to make sure it's working properly

Instead of firing a shot that you're not sure you can hit, be quick and reposition yourself for a better shot.

Keep Your Eyes Peeled

Many new players have a bad habit of keeping their head down the whole game.

This isn't going to get you very far, as it makes you a target for enemy players to surround you because you're not looking.

Take quick scans of the field to identify enemy players as well as strategic positioning.

But make sure these scans are no longer than a few seconds. Any longer and you're leaving yourself vulnerable to attack.

Keep Your Body Concealed

You want to draw as little attention to yourself as possible when you're about to fire.

Don't jump your whole body out to shoot or to check out the landscape. Just take a small peek, exposing as little of your body as possible.

If someone does see you pop out, mix it up next time you expose yourself. For example, if you popped out behind the right side of the rock the first time, switch to the left the next time. This will help confuse the opponent.

Communication is Key

Even though making a ruckus will expose you to your opponent, you still need to communicate with your teammates.

Communication starts before the game. Develop a simple strategy and assign players to certain parts of the field.

Communication during the game should take place in whispers. Let your teammate know when you're about to make a move so they can cover for you. And, let your teammates know when you've tagged an opponent so they can more easily keep track of the remaining targets.

Don't Call Dead Too Soon

Calling "dead" is what you do when you've been hit by a paintball.

However, you only call dead when the paintball actually breaks. If it bounces off, you're still in the game.

New players sometimes have trouble telling the difference between a hit and a bounce, so double check before you call yourself dead. You can always ask the referee to check you if you're not sure.

Also, sometimes the paintball hits someone else and splashes onto your clothing. This also doesn't count as a hit, so don't surrender for this either.

Have Fun

Don't get so caught up in strategy that you forget to have fun.

Just like any other sport or activity, skill comes with more and more practice.

And after all, if you don't have a good time, then you're missing out on the best part of this sport.

What to Know to Get Started in Paintball

Now that you've read this guide to get started in paintball, it's time to get out there and get paintballing!

Chances are, you'll find yourself addicted in no time.

When that happens, it's time to look into investing in your own gear. Be sure to check out our buying guides for that!