What is Speedball?

What is Speedball?

Posted by Josh Silverman on 21st Jul 2020

What is Speedball?

Envisioned, and then invented, in the early eighties as an adrenalin-packed action adventure sport, paintball has grown through the years to be played worldwide and as it’s grown, the game has evolved. Part of the evolution of paintball is the development of speedball as an intense, condensed and spectator-friendly form of paintball with all the adrenalin and none of the creeping around in the woods looking for the other team!

Originally played on a very small, open arena behind brightly colored barrels, cable spools and barricades with the opposing teams starting within sight of each other, speedball as a form of paintball rapidly grew to become the most popular form of competitive tournament paintball, bringing the sport out of the woods. The bunkers used for speedball games evolved too, to include Hyperball made from large corrugated pipes and then inflatable bunkers called Airball that made the game much easier to play in public arenas and sports stadiums!

As a condensed form of paintball, speedball is still played between two teams that start at opposite ends of a paintball field with the goal of eliminating opponents with paintballs shot from paintball guns, and then hanging a flag to win the game. However, the difference is that a speedball field is flat, manicured and open, populated only by man-made cover called bunkers, rather than trees, rocks and structures that players in other forms of paintball hide behind! These fields are also much smaller, allowing players to see one-another when the game begins. This replaces the suspense of stalking and creeping through the woods searching for opponents with the non-stop action and excitement of the paintball gunfight!

While playing speedball, players run, slide, dive and shoot it out in intense games that rarely last more than a few minutes and like other forms of paintball, players battling it out in speedball games leave the field, eliminated, when they’re marked with a paintball fired by the opposing team. When one team hangs the center flag in the opposing team’s start box or base, the game ends, the teams clean up, reload, and hit the field again! Speedball fields are often surrounded by paintball-proof netting, designed to allow spectators to observe the games safely, without the need to wear goggles or facemasks, and many paintball parks offer full speedball arenas with elevated bleachers and seating for spectators to enjoy the action! Speedball has even been featured on sports television networks like ESPN and the teams of the professional paintball league, the National XBall League, compete in speedball-style games for big money in the United States and Europe! 

Addictive thanks to its intense adrenalin rush and the style of paintball played by the sport’s top athletes, speedball may seem intimidating when players first step inside the net, but the most competitive paintball players find themselves drawn to it and some find themselves playing on the world stage! If the gunfight is the part of paintball you love the most and the ultimate paintball adrenalin rush is what you crave, gear up and try speedball – you might become the next pro player!