We love paintball - that much is obvious. We’re big fans of the sport and have a wealth of experience within it, but one thing every experienced player and arena staff member will drill into you time and time again is how to stay safe.
This isn’t because we’re buzzkills, or because we want to make things boring. Paintball is a chaotic sport and it does come with risks. With the right rules and protective gear, the chances of accident or injury are drastically lowered, and this is a price we’re willing to pay. Should something happen, the best case scenario is that the game stops, but the consequences could be much worse.
This is why you’ll never see or hear experienced players moan or grumble about safety briefings or checks. We all want to keep playing and having fun, and this happens when everyone is safe and enjoying themselves.
How Can You Stay Safe Playing Paintball?
Staying safe in paintball games is a combination of following the rules, watching for unsafe behaviour and making sure you don’t do anything to cause harm to yourself or others while playing. By doing all of this, each game will be a fun and exciting experience.
While you’re responsible for yourself and your actions, it’s also on you to make sure that others are safe - both from your actions and their own. Think of safety as a team or community effort. Everyone has to do their part, for themselves and everyone in the arena. There are marshalls and staff watching, but they can’t see everything due to the nature of the arena and sport. By helping them, you’re helping everyone.
Follow All Of Paintball’s Rules
We can’t state this enough but you must follow all paintball rules while in the arena. These aren’t used to take away your fun, but to make sure you keep having fun for as long as you’re able to play.
There will be briefings throughout the day, starting at the beginning and more before each game. The first one will be longer and cover everything, while the briefings before each game will be shorter and more focused on key points - especially if there are certain conditions or rules for that specific match.
It doesn’t matter how experienced you are, if this is your first time playing paintball or the thousandth - you must listen to these rules. Most players won’t bat an eye at having to go through this, as the consequences of getting them wrong can be severe. In fact, if some experienced players spot people not paying attention, they’re more than likely to point it out there and then. This delays the action and draws attention to people not taking their safety seriously.
Warm Up For Each Paintball Game
It might seem strange, but paintball is full of explosive movements and actions. This puts a strain on your body, and you’ll feel the effects of this much more if you don’t warm up before each game. By going through some simple exercises before you play, you lower the risk of injury that might take you out of games for the rest of the day - and beyond.
Think about the muscles and body parts you use during a game. These are the areas to focus on, with legs, arms and your core all needing some warm ups. You’re going to be carrying paintball gear into the arena, too, so test your mobility and flexibility once you’re kitted out, too.
You can include warmups such as:
- Jogging around the arena
- Hip Circles: Stand on one leg, using a countertop for support, and gently swing the opposite leg in circles out to the side. Do 20 circles in each direction. Switch legs. Progressively increase the size of the circles as you become more flexible.
- Arm Circles: Stand with feet shoulder-width apart and hold arms out to the sides, palms down, at shoulder height. Move your arms in circles 20 times in each direction. Progressively increase the size of the circles as you become more flexible.
- Lunges: Stand with feet parallel, then take an exaggerated step forward (keep one hand on a wall for balance, if needed) with your right foot, planting it fully on the floor in front of you. Allow the knee and hip to bend slowly while keeping your torso upright. Keep the right knee directly over your ankle – do not allow it to go beyond your toes. Repeat with the left, and complete five sets.
Get into the habit of doing this before each game and you’ll find yourself in better physical condition for each match, no matter what the opposing team or arena grows at you.
Don’t Overexert Yourself
In a paintball game, it’s very easy to get caught up in the moment and let the adrenaline carry you forward. That’s one of the reasons we love the sport, but it also means we can overdo it if we get too carried away.
This could be from trying to move in an unfamiliar position, such as a crawl or crouch, or by hiding behind cover for a period of time where you’re holding yourself at an odd angle. You stretch too far when lining up a shot or when moving to another piece of cover. There are so many scenarios where just that little bit more movement or flexibility would help.
While pushing yourself to be better is a part of any sport, if it leads to injury then it will hamper your progress in the long run. Know your limits, as well as what you want to improve in the future.
Always Watch For Unsafe Behaviour
Given how fast, chaotic and unpredictable paintball can be, everyone in the arena has to remain vigilant and watch for anything that could cause harm to a player. In most cases, this is never malicious. Unsafe behaviour is often caused by a lapse in judgement or by someone not thinking - such as lifting a mask to scratch an itch.
As soon as you see something that could cause harm to that player or another, flag a marshall or staff member. They will deal with it straight away, and it may mean stopping the match for a few minutes until the situation is resolved. If the action continues, that lapse in judgement could be very costly.
The paintball community is full of friendly, supportive people. No one will blame you for highlighting something that could prevent an accident or injury - and you’ll feel better knowing that nothing happened, too.
What Paintball Gear Can Keep You Safe?
On top of adhering to all paintball rules made clear during the safety briefings, there’s plenty of paintball gear available that can help protect you from the physical element of the game - being hit by paintballs. While bruising is the most common effect of being hit by a paintball, there are other injuries that players can suffer from, too.
Each paintball arena will have some basic overalls to wear to protect your clothing, and you can layer up to reduce the impact of any hit, but there’s a lot of paintball equipment you can choose from to really level up your game and add more protection - as well as utility. We’ve picked out some of the best items you should invest in if you’re going to play paintball more often.
Keep Your Eyes Safe With Paintball Goggles
In terms of the most important gear you should look into, paintball goggles are at the top of the list. Goggles protect your eyes from paint and should be worn at all times during a match. This is one of the biggest rules to be stressed to you, and if you see a player fiddling with their goggles or mask in the arena, alert a marshall or staff member instantly. The consequences if something should go wrong while messing around with goggles are severe.
While you can get some paintball goggles that are just eye protection, most will come with some form of mask to protect the rest of your face and limit that amount of paint that gets onto your skin. A basic version of this is the GI Sportz Sleek Vision Paintball Goggles, which focuses on the most vulnerable part of your face - the eyes. If you don’t want to spend big money on something until you find the right option, this is a great piece of kit.
Protect Your Head And Face With A Paintball Mask
Paintball masks are a step up from goggles. Not only do they protect your eyes but the rest of your face, too. Paintballs can come from all sites, so this protection will keep you safe from impacts to the side, too. The lenses can be cleaned and switched out depending on what you have time to do, and they can be matched to your style and the rest of your gear.
As with all paintball equipment, there are different styles and colours to suit your style. The DYE I4 Paintball Mask is a great paintball mask that protects your eyes and face from everything in the arena. You can choose this mask in different colours and the lens can be changed in seconds between games to save you time.
The DYE I5 Storm Paintball Mask takes protection to a new level, offering a mount for cameras and even a communication system to keep you connected to your team. This makes it much easier to coordinate your strategies and tactics.
Find A Tactical Vest That Suits Your Needs
Tactical vests will go over any overalls or clothing you wear into the arena, but they include extra padding and plates to reduce the impact caused by any paintball strikes. They also include extra features such as camouflage patterns and pouches to store extra paintballs or accessories. If the pouches are not included, you can add any you need to make the tactical vest useful to you, and in a formation that works for you.
The RAP4 Tactical Ten Paintball Vest With Tank Pouch is a great example of a tactical vest that holds everything you might need in the arena, with plenty of easy to reach pockets. It’s also available in different colours and designs to suit the field of play.
Another option is the Counterstrike Padded Camo Paintball Vest - Chest Protector, which is a great choice for many players as it can be modified to suit your needs. There’s plenty of styles and designs to choose from, too.
Camo Gear That Matches The Arena You Play In
Camo gear is great for reducing your visibility in the arena - which means you might be hit with fewer paintballs across the day. There are plenty of different styles and settings for arenas, although outdoor and forest environments are common. Some serious players have different pieces of camo gear for the different environments they play in, and this can make a huge difference to the game.
One example is the British DPM Camo BDU Jacket, which is designed to be tough-wearing and versatile, working well with many different pieces of gear like tactical vests and more. There’s also the Military BDU Combat Trousers (CADPAT), which protect your legs from pint, dirt and more.
You should make sure that the camo gear you choose matches, as each brand differs slightly, and this change between pieces of gear could make you stand out more than you’d like.
Want To Know More About Paintball Safety?
Want to know more about paintball safety? Are there rules you’re not sure of, or are you looking at upgrading your equipment? It’s always worth making sure you refresh your knowledge on paintball safety rules to protect yourself and others. Arena staff will not hesitate to stop the action when they spot anything that might be a hazard, and you should be watching, too. It could save someone a lot of pain and hassle.
The team at Modern Combat Sports can help with any questions or queries you have. We’re a friendly bunch, and we’re always happy to help however we can, so get in touch and see what we can do.