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There’s no doubt about it; paintball is one of the most exciting sports available. But imagine how much fun it would be if it were only you playing. That’s why the motto “the more, the merrier” fits with paintball. The more people you have on your team, the more fun you are bound to experience. However, figuring out how to start a paintball team can sometimes be the most difficult part of paintballing.
Most always paintball teams start out the same way; two or more people realize they like playing paintball with each other and decide to do it together. Notice the words “like playing paintball with each other.” It’s not about a long drawn out contract or constitution that makes your team. Instead, it’s the partnership and comradery found in its members.
If the members of your team don’t like each other, it won’t last. If everyone isn’t on the same wavelength when it comes to determination and effort put into making the team successful, it won’t last. That’s why you need to find members that are at the same stage of life as you are. For example; a married person with two kids won’t have the same commitment of time that a single member would have. That’s not to say that married people can’t enjoy paintball because they can and do. However, when forming a team, have members from the same stage, this way one member doesn’t think less of another because of, what they see as, a lack of commitment.
What style of play will you participate?
As many know, there are various types of paintball games available; from tournament play to scenario/military simulations. Deciding which aspect of paintball your team will mainly play is important. This way you can gain members with the particular skill set you will need. For example, in military style combat, you can’t have a team filled with snipers. Instead, you need to have various types of guns and shooters to be an efficient team.
On the flip side, in a tournament style match, having members who are fast and accurate may be more important than the type of gear they carry. Always keep this in mind when forming your team.
Get your core members
It’s inevitable that teammates will come and go. Whether it be through life changes or simply being at odds with each other, members will come and go. However, it’s important that your team has a set of core members that stick with the team, no matter what. For a team to be successful, it must have solid leadership and standards; a group whose core members are always fluctuating can have neither and will often fail.
Look like a team
Most people will say that how a team looks isn’t as important with how they play. I believe they go hand in hand. Once you have your core group formed and you’ve decided which type of game you will focus on, it’s important to get everyone looking the same. Looking the same entails wearing the same colors and style of clothing. If you are focusing on military play, your team will want to have the same brand and style of tactical clothing.
On the other hand, if your team will focus on tournament play, it may be important to have purchase jersey’s that has everyone’s name and number imprinted on them. At the very least, in tournament play, make sure everyone wears the same color shirt.
Being uniform in appearance not only lets those you face know that you are a team but sets the field from a psychological standpoint, especially if the other team isn’t in uniform. After all, imagine how you would feel facing a team that not only performs like a team but looked like one even before they got onto the field.
Find a regular place to play
This step is as simple as forming an agreement with your local range owner. After all, your team needs a place to play, and they need bodies to stay in business. In this agreement, set the day and time when your team will have the field all to themselves. This structure will ensure that your team practices regularly. Also, if your team begins to be successful in play, the range owner may decide to become your first sponsor. Gaining a sponsorship will open up an entirely different set of doors for your team.
Practice often, but not too much
As with anything you set out to accomplish, practice makes perfect. That’s why one of the most important aspects of having a successful team is ensuring you practice often as a team. Having them entails ensuring the practice days are set as such so that every member can make it. Make it a point to know your member’s schedules and existing commitments and plan practice around these.
Also, practice often, once a week, if not more. However, don’t practice so much that your members get burned out before your team plays for real. Also, keep in mind that practicing entails shooting paintballs. We all know that paintballs can be expensive, especially when practicing often. That’s why it’s important to practice in a manner that you aren’t just throwing money away. (This is where having a sponsor can come in handy.)
It may even become possible to set up a “Scrimmage” type game with another team. Scrimmages are commonly used for practice purposes but give you someone to go up against besides your teammates. A match like this allows your team to function as a team during practice and gives you the opportunity to know what your team needs to build on without running the risk of losing an actual game. Scrimmages are both fun and needful for any team looking to be successful.
Assign specific roles
Not everyone on your team can be the leader. On the flip side, not everyone can be a regular member either; someone as to lead and this crown usually falls to whoever started the team. However, assign specific roles for each member of your team using the member’s strengths as a guide.
Also, the specific roles may change from scenario to scenario. That’s why, in practice, it’s important to run through many scenarios your team may face. Just as in the military, ensure the each member knows the duties of those above them in case the leader get’s shot during the round. In this case, the duties will shift momentarily, and your team needs to prepare for this.
Getting a Sponsor
Having a sponsor for your team doesn’t mean that every member is going to get rich and famous. Instead, most of the time, it just means that someone is giving you a little extra money that can be used to buy gear for the team, such as the paintballs used during practice. The sponsorship can be as minimal as putting the business’ logo on your shirt to having their brand on every piece of gear.
Doing the work to get a sponsor, however, can be a daunting task. This fact is particularly the case for paintballers. Most businesses view paintball as a bunch of teenagers shooting each other. That’s where you, as a team, must show them that it has evolved to much more than that. You have to replace the stereotype in their minds with the real thing. That’s where the success of your team comes in to play. After all, nobody want’s to sponsor a loser.
Yes, having a team can be a difficult task, especially for the leader. However, in the end, it is incredibly rewarding to be playing the sport you love with people you love. Every team has obstacles they must hurdle to become successful but remember, your team is just like your family. They know your weaknesses, and you know theirs and building on each other will only help to make your team more successful.