Five Tips to Win Woodsball Games!
Five Tips for Winning Woodsball!
Play paintball in the woods and WIN!
Paintball in the woods is how it all began, all the way back in the early eighties in the woods of New Hampshire! Just like those first paintball players who crept around in the forest surrounded by big trees, brush, rocks and streams, woodsball today remains the most popular style of paintball enjoyed by players around the world! While the equipment has come a very, very long way from those humble beginnings, winning a paintball game in the woods still requires a basic understanding of fieldcraft and the ability to work together as a team towards a common goal. For newer players it can all be a bit overwhelming, but a few basic tips can help any player succeed when the paint’s flying in the woods!
Learn the Field
Unlike tournament paintball fields that are often symmetrical from end-to-end, with identical bunkers “mirrored” from one end of the field to the other, the woods never are. Rolling terrain, big trees, small trees, underbrush, man-made structures and even the weather and time of year can make a wooded paintball field play differently. As such, simply walking into the woods and waiting for a referee to yell “go” is no way to learn a wooded paintball field. Any player looking to play serious paintball and have the expectation of winning a game should take some time before a game on a specific field, especially a woodsball field, to learn that field and its specific nuances. This might be as simple as watching a game or two on a wooded field before playing on it, or in the most serious cases, spending hours wandering a wooded paintball field, examining the bunkers, trees, structures, brush and terrain to learn how to properly play it, even to the point of graph paper and a clipboard of game plans! Look for critical bunkers and other man-made structures, trees or other great spots that offer wide fields of fire and long lines of sight, learn which parts of the field are easier to traverse and which are best left alone. Foreknowledge of a paintball field before gearing up to play it is critical, and it’s most critical on a woodsball field because a player without this experience will quickly find themselves asking where the paintball that shot them in the goggles came from!
Communicate with Teammates
Most people who think about the game of paintball think about the most enjoyable part – the part where they get to shoot paintballs at people. And that’s great. But once the shooting starts it’s amazing how many players simply retreat into themselves and quietly do battle with opponents, leaving to chance whether they might shoot a few opponents and win or not. Communication is absolutely critical to winning paintball games, especially in the woods where no single player can see an entire field and know who is where, which team is winning and what is happening from moment to moment. Players and teams expecting to win woodsball games must communicate during the game. Everyone on the field has to know how many players on each team are still on the field and active, players must know which bunkers, big trees or structures might have opposing players in them and which way they’re looking or shooting and players must work together to coordinate lanes of fire or bursts of movement from spot to spot in order to win, so don’t be afraid to talk it up! Teamwork on the field makes the dream work, and teamwork in paintball means communication!
Use the Proper Equipment
Paintball is more than just running around shooting paintballs at each other. Trust me on this. Woodsball has its own unique challenges including terrain, types of bunkers and cover players hide behind, the natural growth on the field and the weather, and players need to be properly equipped. Many paintball players wear a low top track style cleat for tournament paintball on an arena-style speedball field, but in the woods traction is more than lin>ar as players often have to step over logs and run, sprint, creep, crawl and dive on uneven, rocky and hilly terrain, making ankle support critical. Woodsball games are longer than speedball games, meaning players will want proper footwear like a hiking shoe, high top cleat or boot that will provide ankle support, warmth in cooler climates and even a little protection from mud, water or creepy-crawlies. Oftentimes paintball fields will stack sticks, logs and other debris to make bunkers and a long barrel is ideal for pushing through this to shoot without exposing too much of the body to incoming fire. As woodsball games are, again, longer than speedball games, many players often carry more paintballs than they would in other styles of play, and that might mean a larger air tank too! Finally, there’s that whole point that we’re playing in the WOODS. That means camouflage, when used properly, can help a player blend in and get the first shot off without being seen, so pick a good camouflage for the environment: greens for summer and spring foliage, browns for brush and desert, and even lighter colors for fall or winter climates. The proper equipment for woodsball can help any player win!
Time and again paintball players wander into the start box or flag base of their end of a wooded paintball field and have only a few minutes to look awkwardly back and forth at each other before timidly asking “where you going?” While this might mean well, this is no time to figure that out. Furthermore, simply knowing what big tree, structure or bunker a player might be heading to when the game starts is better than nothing, but it’s not a game plan. What happens after the first thirty seconds of the game, once all those players get to their first spots? Where are they looking? What are they shooting at? What are they trying to accomplish, other than shooting the bad guys before the bad guys shoot them? How is the team working together towards the common goal of going over there, getting that flag and bringing it back while eliminating those players at the other end of the field with guns? These are the real questions. Take a few minutes (or in the case of serious competitive players a few hours, minimum) to devise a game plan that can be implemented once the paint starts flying to get a team from start to finish and a win! Plan which players will shoot at what opponents, in which bunkers, trees and structures, and what your team plans to do once those opponents are eliminated and off the field! Which side of the field will your team attack on? Make a game plan, stick to it and use it to win!
Understand the Woods
Unlike speedball fields, which are generally flat, groomed playing surfaces with brightly colored bunkers used by players for cover, the woods are a living, breathing entity that is always in flux and changing. Understanding the concept that the woods, and woodsball, are completely different and using this concept to an advantage is important for a paintball player. This knowledge doesn’t come overnight, but practicing it is important. For example, tree limbs, leaves and branches, as well as other foliage, might break up a sightline and shooting lane between two players standing up, but the player who chooses to lay down and shoot underneath those branches might be able to sneak a paintball through and make a great shot. Similarly, a player caught in the open and vulnerable to incoming paintballs might see a tree twenty yards away that might block an opponent’s incoming fire if they simply take a step or two to one side or the other, placing that distant tree, too far away to hide directly behind, between the two adversaries. Many players used to speedball games often forget the simplest things about playing in the woods, like simply getting low and laying down to avoid being seen or shot at. Being in the woods and learning to use those surroundings like trees large and small, folds in the terrain, thick brush, dark and light spots and more to advantage can take an average player and make an expert woodsball player out of them!
Paintball in the woods might be where the game began, but woodsball is back in a big way and more popular than ever! Learning to play a good game of paintball in the woods can make any paintball player better at the sport they love and let’s face it – winning makes any game more fun!