Paintball- Everyone’s Safe and Healthy Sport

February 7, 2016

Paintball - A Sport for Everyone

Paintball is a game where individual players or teams compete against each other through expelling co-challengers by tagging them with paintballs propelled from a paintball marker (or gun). Paintballs are gelatinous capsules containing water-soluble dye. These contain safe, biodegradable, and water soluble polymer. Paintballs are fired through the compressed gas inside the paintball markers.

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​Paintball Venues

Paintball

​Paintball can be played at commercial settings, private properties, and simple recreational fields including one’s backyard. Commercial venues require an admission fee before players can join a game. In each paintball setting, fields may have dispersed natural and artificial terrains or it may be a simulation of a certain type of setting, be it an urban area, forest, or historical location.

​In the world’s biggest paintball center, the setting is movie-based, which means that the field and the props are inspired by particular movies. On the other hand, there are smaller settings, which utilize inflatable bunkers. This is a safer type of setting since the bunkers are air-filled, therefore, have the capability to absorb impact. The difference between bigger and smaller recreational fields is that the bigger settings invest in durable and innovative materials while smaller settings that use bunkers may be susceptible to seam bursts as well as leaks.

​Commercial recreation fields are complete with amenities such as restrooms, lockers, air refilling station, equipment rentals, food facilities, and eating areas. Sports guidelines are implemented in paintball games. Commercial settings include game referees to ensure safe and fair play. Prior to playing, participants must provide their own paint. Some venues require participants to buy at their own shop or affiliated stores while other venues allow paint from outside shops. The field paint only requirement is employed by some venues to ensure quality and safe gameplay. Improperly stored and low quality paint may cause paintball fire malfunctioning, which may lead to injuries. Additionally, paint from outside parties may contain health hazards that may raise health issues.

​Reasons Why People Enjoy Paintball

Paintball is admired by participants across the globe. People of varying ages, background, and a interests can enjoy paintball. Since paintball is social game, participants can know new people and make friends along the way. It helps participants bond through game planning and strategy implementation.

Paintball is a rewarding game, which may lead participants to want more and spend their free time playing this sport. It is all about the fund and adventure from running, shooting, getting shot, and anticipating the opponent’s tactic.

Paintball offers a variation in the player’s gaming experience. There are different fields (outdoor and indoor) as well as game variations to choose from. For people who are seeking competition, paintball is a sport that will provide this—from simple backyard games to recreational engagement to tournaments. Overall, paintball is exciting, which is why everyone loves it.

Why everyone love Paintball

Health Benefits of Playing Paintball

Paintball has a number of positive effects on health. It adds a variety to a participant’s routine. It can be a way for busy employees to relieve all their stress from work and have a break from their tiring activities. For people with workout regimens, playing paintball can be a good alternative since it includes more than just running. Players will also have to perform ducking, climbing, crawling, dodging, sprinting, and many other activities that is more than equivalent to the player’s regular exercise routine. It provides participants with a full body workout.

Paintball improves a person’s endurance through the cardiovascular workout that he undergoes during every game. It also enhances strength of the legs and arms as well as the overall capacity of the body. Through running and squatting, legs are strengthened, while this happens for the arms because of the shooting. The core stability of the body is enhanced with all the activities needed to be done while wearing gear and carrying equipment. The emotional health of a person is also improved by improving his confidence level and interpersonal skills. A team paintball sport allows the participant to gain these skills as he and his teammates plan and execute their tactics.

Paintball playing is also beneficial for weight loss with the intensity of the game, paintball can improve metabolism, which leads to weight loss. Intensive paintball gameplay stimulate the release of endorphins thereby improving your mood. Paintball players can also unlock better sleep. Through the overall workout achieved from playing paintball, risks of heart disease, high blood pressure, and depression are lowered.

Paintball game basis

Safety of Paintball

As compared to other sports, paintball is safer to play. Here are a few recorded injuries per 100, 000 exposures per year in sports in the United States:

  • 2.8 injuries in soccer
  • 2.8 injuries in baseball
  • 3.8 injuries in tackle football and downhill skiing
  • 3.7 injuries in ice hockey
Meanwhile, paintball is responsible for 0.2 injuries per 100, 000 exposures annually.

Paintball is safe, especially in commercial venues, because the equipment are thoroughly inspected before being rented out to players. The venues also undergo critical inspection to eliminate risks that may cause any hazard to players. All components must be licensed or certified by the right authorities. Paintball markers’ speed rate of a paintball leaving the barrel in ensured to be within the established state laws, which ranges from 170 to 300 feet per second. The lower range of the FPS complies with the state jurisdiction for firearms though it is not directly relevant to safety. The higher range, on the other hand, the standard as it is deemed the safest high speed.

At any venue, participants are required to wear the right gear to prevent any injury. As mentioned earlier, most fields require the use of their own paint to guarantee quality. Additionally, a number of fields employ a surrender regulation in case an opposing player is within 20 feet of another player who has a shot from him. The opposing player is required to yield. In field that do not implement such rule, the maximum FPS is lowered.

Paintball Gears and Accessories

The equipment and accessories needed for the game will depend on the paintball game variation. However, the common equipment and gears are as follows:

  • Paintball marker or gun - This is considered the primary accessory in paintball. This is needed to mark opposing players with paint through firing paintballs.
  • Paintballs - These serve as the ammunition for paintball markers. They come is spherical gelatinous capsules, which contain water soluble dye composed of polyethylene glycol as well as other non-toxic substances. The quality of the paintballs is dictated by the fragility of the gelatinous shell, the roundness of the sphere, including the depth of the fill. An almost perfect sphere-shaped and extremely thin shell characterizes high-quality balls. A thin layer is important for a good break upon impact, Conversely, the filling of the paintball should be thick and bright-colored that cannot be concealed or wiped off while the game still transpires. Paintballs must be biodegradable.
  • Mask or goggles - This protective gear must be worn at all times during the game to protect the player’s face and head. Throat guards may also be included in the mask’s structure.

Now, here are supplementary equipment used by frequent and professional players joining tournaments:

  • Pods and pod packs - Pods are plastic containers with flip-open lids used to store paintballs that are ready for use. These are available in 10, 80, 100 and 140-round sizes. The biggest size is commonly used in tournament matches. A pod pack is a harness for carrying pods. It is used for easy access to the pods. Pod packs come in a variety of designs including belt-loops for recreational players as well as tournament and scenario-designed harnesses.
  • Squeegee or swab – Paintballs break inside the paintball markers every now and then. When this happens, the marker’s inner surface is coated with paint, which reduces the shooting accuracy. It will need to be cleaned to eliminate obstruction by using a squeegee or swab.
  • Paintball jerseys and pants - Tournament participants wear these special outer garments incorporated with protective padding to increase the player’s level of protection without affecting his flexibility. These clothing safeguard the player from collision with the paintball and impact from extreme contact with rocks, hard ground, and other solid components in the field.
  • Elbow and knee protective pads - For paintball, these protective pads are used to avoid bruising. They are made from soft foam, which is worn inside a participant’s pants to avoid the pad’s contact to the ground.
  • Gloves - When a paintball hits a player’s hands, it can cause extreme pain ad injury not only to the palm but also the knuckles and fingers. Additionally, crawling can cause bruising on the hands. Thus, padded or armored gloves must be worn to avoid possible injuries to the different parts of the hands.
  • Athletic supporter - This is also referred as the jockstrap with cup pocket and protective cup. In other sports, this is used as protection from the impact of fast-paced objects. This accessory is used to safeguard sensitive parts of the body, which are susceptible to anatomical hits. This is a common protective wear for men in football, lacrosse, hockey, baseball, and even paintball. As for females, a pelvic protector and hard-shelled padded sports bra are recommended for wearing.
  • Other paint marking equipment- This is permitted in scenario games but not in tournaments. Other paint marking equipment include paint grenades, which are paint-filled balloons or surgical hose, and paint throwers, which mimic the effect of flamethrowers with the use of huge paint-filled water cannon.
  • Vehicles - This is usually permitted in scenario play. Vehicles similar to go-karts, pickup trucks, ATV, and small off-road automobiles are used to make armored-mobiles that function to protect players inside from being hit. It also increases the player’s mobility.

Proper Paintball Attire

A paintball player must wear both upper and lower body protection. Upper body clothing include a long sleeve shirt as the base layer. For extra padding, it is best to wear another long sleeve shirt on top of the base layer. For further protection, an added layer of a thick hoodie or sweatshirt is advised. Tournament and scenario players are advised to wear jerseys specifically for paintball. Beginners can also purchase padded clothing for better protection on their first game.

The lower body clothing must be composed of two pairs of loose elastic pants. Jump suits and cargo pants may also be used. The thicker the material of the pants, the more conducive it is for playing since paintball involves crawling, kneeling, and diving. A player must also consider the elasticity of the pants to allow him freedom of movement. Tight garments will inhibit movements and induce bruising. Thin garments in your pants may lead to tears that will expose your skin and increase your chances of getting wounded. It is recommended to wear protective paddings under the pants to add another layer of protection from solid ground and impact from paintballs and other elements of the game.

As for head protection, it is advisable to wear masks that protect the entire head and face. Goggles also come in styles that cover the eyes, mouth, nose, and ears. It is important to wear protection since paintballs propel through the air at a maximum of 300 feet per second. If it falls down on your head without any protection it can give you excruciating pain and may lead to injury. The mask you choose should not fog your vision everytime you breathe; otherwise, your performance will not be efficient.

​Best Weather for Paintball Gameplay

The most conducive weather for playing is a sunny and dry one. A rainy weather can make unfavorable effects on the paintball gameplay. Firstly, water causes paintball swelling, which may cause them to break while they are still in the barrel. If paint is all over the barrel, shooting will be inaccurate. A wet ground also makes it more difficult to move around. It decreases the players’ level of mobility and flexibility. Additionally, a wet setting is accident-prone.

Playing paintball during a rainy weather will cause the player to spend most of their time being more careful about their surrounding so as not to injure themselves. Players will also allot most of their gameplay cleaning their marker barrels, which makes them inefficient at playing and less productive in eliminating opponents. Thus, it is not ideal to play paintball under a bad weather. Paintball can still be done when it is raining or snowing, but indoors.

Another area of concern is the temperature. Paintball is best played when temperatures range from around 50° to 80°F. Playing below 50° will cause marker issues especially if carbon dioxide is needed to operate the marker.

Fair Play in Paintball

Winning paintball is a matter of eliminating opponents from another team. Since this is a competition, it is important to practice fair play. A referee ensures that the guidelines and rules of the game are followed in order to ensure safe and quality paintball experience. Any form of cheating such as wiping the paint off is strictly prohibited.

In fair paintball play, players are not allowed to curse and hit their other players. The only way to win is to follow the rules of the game. Cursing and hurting co-challengers will lead to disqualification from the game and being banned from the venue, in the worst case scenario.

Hostile actions and accidents from shooting an opponent is prevented through the implementation of the surrender rule. As pre-determined distance between two opponents will make the player off-guard required to surrender.

While there are referees that ensure the security of the game, players should be responsible of their actions.

​Popular Paintball Variations

There are variations to paintball, some of these are the following:

1. ​Recreational or Capture the Flag

This variation is the fundamental among all the other variations. Yet, it is still the most fun to play. This game variation has the following requirements:

  • field
  • two flags
  • at least 4 players

Flags can be as simple or as extravagant as the game host wants. With a minimum of 4 players and a maximum number of players as dictated by the size of the field, this paintball game can transpire.

On opposite ends of the field, two bases will be set up. Boundaries must be clearly defined. After which, the players will be divided into two teams. Each team should position at their base. Prior to the start of the paintball game, a time limit must be established. The usual for this type of game is 20 minutes. The span will vary depending on the number of players.

The goal for this game is to capture the opponent’s flag without getting hit.

2. Backyard Paintball​

The rules and set up of backyard paintball are very flexible. For a safe game, parents must supervise their children at all times. It is, however, important to follow standard procedures such as wearing the right gear, using age-appropriate paintball equipment, and proper shooting. Parents are accountable for briefing their children before starting the game. The backyard should have proper barriers to prevent the game from affecting anyone outside the perimeters. Once the game is over, equipment should be inspected to make sure everything is in place. Paintball marker barrels must be blocked in place to prevent accidental launching of paintballs if handled.

3. ​Speedball or Center Flag

The conducive field for Speedball is one that is similar to a soccer field. It should be flat for the installation of inflatable bunkers. These bunkers reduce the impact of the player’s collision. Mobility is increased with these bunkers since they can be moved depending on where the competition will be held. Speedball begun as a solution for safety issues arising from paintball such as tripping and falling incidences. As compared to other variations of paintball, Speedball is more fast-paced, uses more balls, and utilizes more advanced paintball markers controlled by an electronic board. This marker has a high fire rate of up to 20 balls per second.

​Characteristics Needed to Become a Paintball Leader

Many players want to go beyond just being a member of a paintball team. These players aspire to become paintball leaders. In order to become one, they must posses the following characteristics:​

Experience and quick-wit

To become a paintball leader, an individual should be incredibly good at strategizing. This could only be attained with sufficient and quality experience in playing paintball games. He should be quick to think of the right tactics depending on the venue and other circumstances faced up to him. He should have the courage to lead from the frontline so as to protect his teammates.

Physical fitness

An aspiring paintball leader should have a good overall health. He should not be suffering from asthma, heart ailments, and other serious illness that may cost him his health. He should be strong and flexible. It is important that he can use his physical capabilities for the best of his team. Overall, he should have a well-toned physical health that he can rely on any battlefield and with whomever the opponents are.

Respected aura

It is vital that a paintball leader is respectable. He must be able to gain the respect of his teammates through being an approachable and reliable leader. Respect is important so that he can give order, which his teammates will honor. If the team members do not respect their leader, their strategy will fall apart and lose the game.

Capacity and willingness to communicate

A paintball leader must be able to command his team with authority, conviction, and respect. He must be approachable while being authoritative. He should be willing to listen what his team member have to say. They may notice aspects of the game that he does not notice and may get winning strategies from his members. He should also be able to discern the flaws of the team that he can correct for the benefit of all the members and their team’s gameplay.

​The History of Paintball

Paintball has commenced just 30 years ago. The main goal of this sport is to reinvent the delight of survival of the fittest and outdoor hunting.

A group of friends namely, Bob Gurnsey, Bob Jones and Charles Gaines wanted to reinvent the exciting sensation brought by being an outdoor survivalist. In other words, they aimed to mimic outdoor hunting but instead of stalking and hunting animals, they thought it would be great if humans served as the prey.

Bob Jones pointed up this idea to Sports Illustrated, which then sparked interest in the sports community. After which, Bob Gurnsey decided to establish a sport called National Survival Game. He made a business agreement with Nelson Paint Company to serve as his game’s sole distributor of paintball equipment.

Competitors adapted the game and so paintball has risen into popularity in the 1990’s. This started the devilment of better paintball ammunitions.

After reaching the height of admiration, Nelson Paint Company has branched into a new company, the Nelson Technologies, Inc. Nelson Paint Company directed all their production and business to painting needs. On the other hand, Nelson Technologies, Inc. emphasized on paintball manufacture.

Eversince paintball has been founded, tournaments were already held. The first ever tournament was in 1983 in Canada. At that game, oil-based paintballs were used. Now, non-toxic and water soluble dye is used to create the paintball filling. Variations are now available in glow in the dark and scented paintballs.

Paintball games have evolved a lot. From the materials used to the way the game is played, so much has changed.

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