Shooting Right & Shooting Left!
Playing paintball is a challenge on many levels! The game is a mix of long-range tag, capture the flag and even chess, challenging a team of like-minded individuals to work together to accomplish a common goal! Then there’s the physical aspect of the game – players often run, dive, slide, crawl, sneak, creep, kneel, twist, turn and lean to make shots, avoid incoming paintballs and generally do whatever they have to do, to put paintballs on opponents without wearing a few of their own! Paintball is hard enough with all those people on the other end of the field shooting back at you – don’t make it harder by making yourself an easier target! Learn to shoot your paintball gun with both hands, and to switch hands quickly from left to right!
So you’ve played some paintball and learned the basics of the game, from making sure your goggles stay on, to the importance of thermal paintball goggles to prevent fogging and a good pair of shoes for traction and no twisted or sprained ankles. Now it’s time to learn how to shoot more bad guys and get shot less by them, and a great way to get better at paintball is to learn to play and shoot your paintball gun with your left hand, and your right hand!
Surely you’ve done it, we all have – you’ve been playing paintball, hiding behind something and looking for the next target. If you’re right handed, your paintball gun is in your right hand and everything’s going fine. Then someone makes a move against you and you have to look, and shoot, out the left side of your bunker. But you turn, and start shooting, your paintball gun still in your right hand, hanging half your body, your hopper and your paintball gun way out the left side of your bunker, and you wear paintballs and have to take that long walk back to the staging area. What if you could have made that shot, eliminated that opponent, and stayed in the game? That’s where shooting with your left and right hand come in!
On the paintball field, especially if you’re playing someone better than you, if you give them an inch, they’ll give you a splat. So the idea is to get your paintball gun up and shooting at the bad guys while providing them as small a target to shoot back at, as possible! The best way to do that is to hold your paintball gun in your right hand when you’re playing out the right side of your bunker, and in your LEFT hand when you have to shoot LEFT! This allows you to lean that big, hard plastic hopper back behind cover where it won’t catch paintballs, keep your wrist tight and most of your body safe and protected behind your bunker, rather than awkwardly leaning way out, with your hopper dangling out along with a shoulder, your goggles and a leg, to catch paintballs!
Shooting left with your left hand while playing paintball, and holding your paintball gun in your right hand while shooting right, is not easy at first. Let’s face it, most paintball guns are a bit ungainly, with the hopper on top and a big air tank hanging off the back. But once you’ve mastered the basic concept of pulling that paintball gun’s air tank into your shoulder like a rifle stock and leaning the hopper back behind cover so it doesn’t become a big target, it’s much easier to learn the skill of switching hands and shooting with the right and the left.
It’s even easy to practice in the back yard! Simply shoot a few paintballs with your right hand, making sure your mechanics and body posture are sound, then switch to your left hand, shoulder the paintball gun and shoot again until you hit the same target. Switch back and forth until you’ve shot a hopper of paintballs, and before long you’ll find the skill is acquired! Then it’s up to you keep that very perishable skill sharp with regular practice!
Once you’ve managed to learn the skill of shooting with your left and right hand, you’ll begin to notice each paintball game you play changes for the better. You’ll be shot out of your bunker less, you’ll make more shots on opponents, and it will be easier to shoot at an opponent to suppress them, then make a quick move before they can react! Snap shooting, or the art of being able to lean out, take a quick shot, and come back in behind cover before an opponent can shoot back, is much easier when a player has the ability to shoot their paintball gun with the right and left hands.
As a final enticement to learn the skill of playing paintball with the left hand and the right hand, remember that it’s an essential skill for serious tournament players! So if getting serious about competitive paintball is something that you plan to do, or a path you’ve already started down, the sooner you get good at shooting your paintball gun with both hands the better, because you can either learn it your way, or learn it the hard way inside the net!