If you’ve never played paintball before, don’t worry – I’ve got you covered!
In this article, I’ll walk you through everything you need to know about how to play paintball for the first time. And when I say “for the first time”, I mean it!
If you got to this article, you are really a paintball newbie that never walked on a paintball field before but wants to know what should do when the real action begins.
So, get ready to have some fun and learn all you need to know about how to play paintball for the first time.
How to play paintball for the first time
Paintball is a high-speed game and it may seem overwhelming for the first time. But this should not discourage you and stop you from playing paintball.
Now, when I look back as an experienced paintball player, I know exactly what my first experience playing paintball was like for me, and what I should have known before going to the field for the first time. That’s why I put together this extremely simple guide for all beginners who want to get a taste of the action.
Listen to the game rules
One of the first things you have to do when playing paintball for the first time is to pay attention to the game rules. The rules of the paintball game are provided to you by the marshal or referee before the game starts.
If you think you have any questions, address them with your marshal or referee. Do not be shy. It is better to be sure that you understand than to start the game confused and not know what to do.
Always follow the rules. By doing it, you will have a great time without injuries or other accidents on the paintball field.
Understand what type of paintball game you’ll play
There are several types of paintball games:
- capturing the flag
- elimination (deathmatch, team deathmatch)
- scenario-based games
While most games involve playing in teams, each type of paintball game has different objectives.
That’s why is important to understand the type of paintball game you’ll be playing and its features before the game starts. By knowing this, you can make a better idea of how to play your first paintball game and strategize your first win.
Communicate with your teammates
Knowing how to play paintball means knowing how to communicate with your teammates on the field. Before the game starts, get all together and establish a system of hand signals and call signs. Take the time to learn and memorize these signals so that you can quickly understand and respond to your teammates during the game.
The hand signals allow you to communicate with your teammates without giving away your position to your opponents.
Aim and shoot your opponents
After finding out the details like what type of paintball game you’ll be playing and the general rules, the marshal or referee will escort you and the other players onto the field. Once all players are on the field and ready, the game can then start.
Being your first time on a paintball field, it is understandable that you may not know how to aim and shoot properly with the paintball gun. Don’t be too hard on yourself – it’s your first time! Take your time.
I suggest that you use 3-5 minutes of the game to practice aiming and shooting at your opponents. Consider it a practice session. Fire 5-10 shots to get an idea of how far your paintballs can shoot, how to hold properly your paintball gun, and how to aim and shoot accurately.
Try shooting different targets from the paintball field or bunker to gain a better understanding of how everything works.
Once you figured out how far you can travel and how the paintball gun works, use that new knowledge and focus on shooting paintballs at the opponents.
I recommend that you familiarize yourself with paintball guns before entering the field. This will improve your first game tremendously as you will be able to quickly identify the different components and know what to do faster. Take a look at my paintball gun components diagram.
In paintball, you need to hide from opponents to avoid getting shot. When arriving on the paintball field, take a look around and make an idea about what can offer you a good cover.
You can use any elements on the paintball field like barricades, trees, bushes, and vehicles to cover your body.
You should position yourself wisely for two reasons:
- reason number one is to avoid getting shot by opponents
- reason number two is to avoid being spotted by the opponents’ eyes.
Staying covered gives you protection from the paintballs, but also does not allow others to spot and attack you.
Try to hide your whole body. Pay attention to your feet. The feet should also be covered, as you can easily be spotted and shot in the legs.
Pay attention and listen
Actually, your senses are vital on the paintball field. Use your vision and look for the enemies around you. Listen to each move of them and you’ll know when they try to sneak up.
Move slowly and cautiously
To emerge victorious, you have to keep moving slowly and cautiously.
If you shoot too many paintballs from the same place, you will reveal your position to the opponents. Therefore, they will know where you are hiding and can attack you at any moment.
That’s why I encourage you to move.
Be aware and analyze the terrain. See where you can hide when you leave the hideout. Do it slowly and tactically.
Conserve your paintballs
First, this will give you your position. Then, that way, you’ll immediately run out of paintballs. Trust me, paintball isn’t as much fun when you’re out of paintballs.
I suggest you keep calm. If you hear noises, wait a few moments. See if you see anyone and then try to aim and shoot.
You can try to calculate the time left in the game. How long does a paintball game last? In general, a standard game of paintball lasts between 10-30 minutes, so you should have ammo for that duration.
To retreat safely without being shot multiple times, signal to the other players that you are out of the game. You can do this by raising your hands up.
Tips for how to play paintball for the first time
Now that you know how to play paintball for the first time, let me tell you other tips that you can apply during your first paintball game.
- If you are going for the first time with friends who have never played paintball before, choose to play a simple paintball game like the one called elimination.
Elimination is one of the simplest paintball games you can play for the first time. This type of paintball game involves dividing people into two teams. Each team must eliminate as many opponents as possible.
- If you are going for the first time to play paintball with friends who have played paintball before, then listen to your friends and even ask them questions.
- Don’t play alone. Collaborate closely with your team. In this way, you will cover more ground and you can work more effectively together.
- Try to aim as well as you can. Each shot will be better than the last. Also remember, you have a limited amount of paintballs, so use them wisely.
- Do not rush. As a newbie, hurry you’ll get your shot. If you start to run through the paintballs fired by the opponents, you risk getting stuck or slipping. To begin with, it is good to move slowly. Take your time.
- Don’t hide from fear. Sure, you can hide around the barricades, but not in the same place for the entire game. Try to move around. You will miss the paintball experience if you stay hidden there for the entire time. Don’t be afraid to run, crawl, or dive if needed.
- Always watch for other players and the field’s situation, and avoid getting hit by paintballs yourself.
How to prepare for your first paintball game ever
You may find yourself without specialized paintball clothing when going to play for the first time. Maybe you’re trying out the sport spontaneously or received a last-minute invitation to join a game. The fact that you don’t have special paintball clothes should not stop you from going to your first paintball game.
So, what can you wear when playing paintball for the first time? I recommend you wear casual and slightly thicker clothes that do not affect your mobility.
You can wear the following clothing items:
- long-sleeve shirts
- tracksuit pants
- long joggers
- hiking boots, athletic sneakers, combat boots
Avoid wearing the following clothes on the paintball field:
- short pants
- extra-thin clothing
- open-toed shoes
You may be tempted to wear lots of layers to protect yourself from the impact of paintballs. However, I advise against this as it can make you feel uncomfortable and restrict your movement on the field. You should also choose older clothing or clothes that you do not mind getting dirty.
Another thing to consider is taking another change of clothes for the ride back home, as well as a trash bag to carry back your dirty clothes.
The last thing you should wear on a paintball field is gloves. The hands are also exposed during the game and a pair of good paintball gloves will protect them. You can wear golf gloves, football gloves, full gloves, or fingerless paintball gloves.
I also have a guide about How To Choose The Right Paintball Gloves.
You do not need to have your own paintball gear when going to play paintball for the first time. Everything you need can be rented from the paintball field you choose to go.
Paintball fields typically offer rental packages that include everything you need to get started. This includes a paintball gun, paintballs, and protective paintball equipment such as a mask or goggles.
By renting equipment, you don’t have to invest in expensive gear before you even know if you’ll continue to practice the sport.
List of most popular Paintball Terms
Below I have created a list of the terms most used in paintball. You can take a look to get an idea.
- Goggles – Goggles are the essential safety equipment for paintball, as they shield your eyes from paintball hits.
- Body Armour – Body Armour is a protective gear you wear on the parts of your body that are most likely to get hit by paintballs. It helps reduce the impact of the paintballs and keeps you safe while you play.
- Battle Pack – A Battle Pack is a small case that you wear around your waist like a belt. It contains extra paintballs that you can quickly and easily access during the game.
- BPS – BPS stands for “Balls Per Second,” and it tells you how fast your paintball gun can shoot out paintballs. It measures the number of paintballs your marker can fire in one second.
- Hopper – A hopper is a special container attached to the top of your paintball gun. It stores paintballs and can be easily unscrewed for quick refilling.
- Marker – A marker, also known as a paintball gun, is the main piece of equipment you’ll use when playing paintball. Its purpose is to shoot paint-filled capsules called paintballs at other players on the opposing team. These markers are powered by compressed air or CO2, which helps to propel the paintballs and leave a colorful mark on your opponents when hit.
- Bounce – A Bounce happens when a paintball hits a player, but doesn’t break. Instead, it bounces off. If a paintball bounces off, it doesn’t count as a hit, and the player is not eliminated from the game.
- Camo Suit – A Camo Suit is a special type of clothing that covers your whole body and helps you blend in with your surroundings. It has a padded collar to protect your neck and helps keep your regular clothes from getting dirty or stained by paintballs.
- Covering Fire – When playing paintball for the first time, you might hear the term “covering fire.” This means one player shoots paintballs to help protect a teammate who is leaving a hiding spot. This supportive action distracts opponents and keeps them from targeting the moving player.
- Firing Blind – This term refers to shooting in paintball without having a clear view of your target. It’s when you aim in the general direction of your opponent and hope to hit them, even though you don’t have a precise line of sight
- Head Check – Briefly scanning the area to locate your opponents, helps you understand their positions as a beginner paintball player.
- Mug Shot – Hitting a player directly on their protective face mask while playing paintball for the first time.
- Overshoot – Overshoot refers to a situation in paintball where a player keeps firing at an opponent, despite the fact that the targeted player has already been successfully hit.
These are the basics that you need to know when you are playing paintball for the first time. Only by reading them once will you be able to fully enjoy this game.
It is possible that after the first game, you will want to learn more about paintball, so I recommend you to stay on the website and read the guide on how to play paintball as a beginner-intermediate.
If you have questions, or suggestions, or want to share with our community your first experience in paintball, don’t hesitate to use the comments section. I will answer you as soon as possible.