What to Wear:
Your clothing you wear will depend on your climate, but it can not go without saying that you should be covered. I would recommend a long sleeve shirt and/or jacket that covers your forearms. Thicker the shirt or jacket more it will help prevent bruising but hotter you will be. You have to find the right balance for yourself. If you’re worried about getting hit with a paintball for the first time you can bring extra clothes that you can layer and easily strip off as the day progresses and as you overcome your fear.
When playing recreational paintball, blue jeans or cargo pants will work fine. Make sure you can move easily in the jeans and that they are not too tight. A looser fit can provide easier movement and be more comfortable. The first time I played in a all-day scenario game I wore a pair of light blue jeans. As the night came upon us I realized my blue jeans were glowing. The white fabric in the jeans made the jeans look white. My team called me ‘white pants’ and I never wore those jeans again during evening play.
What to bring:
Water! Paintball can be a hot and sticky game. Heat exhaustion is real danger so hydrate yourself. If you have a headache after playing this might be caused by not drinking enough water. Money for the field fee, rental fee, and paintballs. Extra clothes just incase.
What to expect:
Don’t expect to walk on the field and get everyone out. You may not even get a confirmed hit your first day, but you can have a blast anyway. Don’t be a Rambo but don’t not play. Get a feel for the game. Talk to your teammates, tell them it’s your first day out, and they can help you and give you advice before, during, and after the game.
Meet your Marker:
If you are using a rental or if you are using a friend’s marker, ask them how to use it. Some markers have some quarks so more you know about your marker, less likely you will have to call yourself out during the paintball game because your marker dyes on you. Do not try to shoot too fast as you could fire faster than your hopper can feed balls into the chamber causing your marker to break balls inside your paintball gun. If this happens your barrel has to be removed and the paint cleaned out from the barrel. Test fire your marker to see how the marker performs and what is the best way to hold it.
First never stand out in the open. Always stand, crouch, or else position most of your body behind cover. Never be out in the open for long. Never look over a bunker if you can look around it. It is better to look at one side of the field at a time because it reduces the number of people that can hit you at one particular instance. Make quick glances to the left or right of the bunker instead of keeping your head out of the cover for extended periods of time. Paintball markers are almost never as accurate as we would want. Try pulling the trigger three times instead of one, if your gun seems inaccurate. A burst of paintballs can have a devastating effect. In paintball it is better to stay alive instead of going out in a blaze of glory, make your opponents pay for every foot of territory. Do not stay behind one bunker the whole game. Move, advance, cover, look, fire, and repeat. When you see an enemy let your team know. Talk to your team! There can’t be teamwork without communication and it’s really hard to win without teamwork.
The Fear of the paintball:
Will it hurt? To some extent yes, but it’s not as bad as you think. Some describe the sensation as being pinched in the arm by an older brother for ten seconds. But the anticipation is worse then actually getting hit. To get over this anticipation some new paintballers have a trustworthy friend hit them in the back with one paintball from a far distance. Both paintballers must where their protective goggles. This method seems to work with most people, and the hardest part is finding a trustworthy friend. Most newbies state the first time getting hit was the worse, and after playing over time the paintballs stop hurting. There will be the occasional bruise that appears in the shape of a small circle but they do not hurt bad, and go away in a couple weeks.
Notes on getting hit:
When you feel the small bite of a paintball the first thing you should to it get deeper into cover. Get out of their line of fire, then check for paint. Most fields ask for a quarter size paint break for the person to be called out. If you’re not sure or if you can’t see the break, move your fingers where you felt the hit, and if you have no paint on your fingers keep playing! If you’re a nice guy you can yell ‘No break’ or call the ref to check you out. As you get shot more and more you can start to feel the difference between a paintball breaking on you and it bouncing off.
Never take your goggles off during a game!! NEVER!! Put your barrel plug or barrel condom when you’re out and when not playing! When you remove you barrel plug your goggles go on. Read the ‘Paintball is Safe article’ to learn more.
Meet your fellow paintballers. I have never met a paintballer that was a complete jerk off the field. Most are very nice and would love to give advice to a newbie, and talk about their paintball experiences. I have had great times with people I just met that same day, talking about old paintball stories and the latest paintball marker. Do not shoot someone up close. Just don’t. If you want real enemies really fast and get yelled at by the ref, shoot someone up close. If something goes astray be the first to apologize. This prevents events from escalating into arguments that can cause you to have a bad time.