Paintball is a sport, WHAT?

Yes, paintball is a sport.  It’s more commonly thought of as a hobby or just a recreational game. And that’s how it all starts…

There’s not a day that goes by that the word paintball is not heard in my house.  My 13 year old son is consumed with it. He eats, sleeps, and breathes paintball.  It’s because of him that I have learned these lessons to pass on to you!

Types of paintball games:

  1. Woodsball – the original form of paintball played in the woods.  Fields consist of trees, bushes, and other natural resources.  Sometimes you’ll find other things like old cars and buildings too.  But it’s all played in the woods.
  2. Speedball – the most common form of paintball that uses bunkers of equal size and distribution on the field.  Also called recball.
  3. Scenarios – paintball games in which players participate in a scenario or story, often a re-enactment.

What you need to play paintball:

  1. A paintball marker (gun)
  2. Ammunition (paint balls)
  3. Mask or goggles
  4. Protective clothing (if you’re a noob)

Common paintball terms:

  1. Staging Area– the area where the players store their gear and rest between games.  It’s also where they hang out, talk smack and challenge each other.
  2. Barrel socks – a “sock” type device that fits around the barrel of the gun and captures a paintball in the case of accidental firing.  Trust me, when hanging out in the staging area, you are grateful for barrel socks!
  3. Masks on – this means you better get that mask on and now! Masks are required on the field even if you’re not playing.
  4. Hit – when the paintball leaves a solid mark on your clothing or equipment.  Splatters do not count, it must be a solid mark.
  5. Wiping – players sometimes “wipe” the paint to make it look like they didn’t get hit.  We call these players CHEATERS!
  6. Ramping – This one still confuses me. I think of it as automatically changing the mode of fire from semi-automatic to fully automatic.  The gun goes pop, pop, pop, then badadadadadada, sort of like a machine gun mode.  And while it’s legal in some leagues, I think of it as another form of cheating!
  7. Bonus Balling – this occurs when a player continually shoots his opponent knowing that they already have a hit.  Again, CHEATER!
  8. Go, Go, Go!!! – the start of a game.  You’d better be ready or you’re hit!

Probably the least known fact about paintball is that there are teams and tournaments played all around the world.  In the US, we have many official paintball leagues.  The two main ones are the National Professional Paintball League (NPPL), and Paintball Sports Promotions (PSP).  At the college level, there’s the NCPA College Paintball Association which includes teams from the University of Florida, Purdue University, University of Connecticut and about 15 other teams.  The NCPA has begun reaching out to high schools and organizing leagues (which Austin is totally looking forward too!).  At a local level, we have the Houston Rookie League (HRL) which has 3 man tournaments specifically for beginners.

As a parent, I often wonder what I have to look forward to with Austin’s paintball obsession.  Well, the PSP World Cup games are held close to Orlando, FL so that’s pretty cool.  The NPPL World Championship games are held in Las Vegas, even better!  And with high school right around the corner followed by college, who knows, maybe there’s a future in paintball for Austin…

Austin playing woodsball scenario game

Shameless plugs: Thanks to Tanks Paintball for helping Austin with the sport and Pro Edge Paintball for assisting Austin with his gear.  And to both, for taking my money!

18 Replies to “Paintball is a sport, WHAT?”

  1. Your article has some great information about the sport of paintball and wonderful perspective from a "Paintball Mom". As a long time player (since 1988) and a former paintball referee, I can tell you that your information is spot on for what new paintball parents or players need to know before venturing out to a playing field. I would add the following advice: Safety First. Those barrel socks are required to be used anytime a player is not on the playing field in the same way the masks are required on the field. The sport is a great opportunity for kids to learn and adhere to safety rules. It is also a great experience for teamwork, communication, and leardership skills while having a great time doing it.

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  6. Thank you for a great blog, I am living in South Africa and would like to get start my own home gym shop. Do you reccomend any top brands, or places to buy equipment from? thanks

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  8. Jenn, I hope that you keep Austin focused in this sport. I know him, have played with him and against him. He is learning, as are you. I think that most of your information is, as Gene said, spot on. Good info. I hope that he does well and learns from his experience playing paintball. He already knows how to get in touch with me. I can help him, if he is willing to learn.

    1. Thanks John. I thought this would be a fun post for people who don’t know that paintball is a sport. It’s the most common reaction I get when I tell someone that Austin plays.

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