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First Tournament: Do's and Dont's FAQ

First Tournament

Written by PSUGhost

I am a big fan of Young Guns tournaments. It is fun to watch all these first timers come out of the wood work to try their hand at the latest version of our sport. Unfortunately I see a lot of people who show up and their eyes glaze over and they look around in shock with draws dropped. So let me try to prep you for that first step into the tournament scene.

Plan: Know your game plan before you go. How are you getting there? Where is it? How much will it cost? The average tournament will cost about $150-200 for entrance fee and be about $60-70/case for paint. You can find differences but this at least gives you a place to start. What format is it? The standard around the country for smaller events is either 3-man or 5-man. So make sure you bring the right number of people for the event.

Night Before: NEVER EVER EVER tinker with your gear the night before. It is one of the ten commandments of tournaments. All your going to do is chance messing something up and it's tough to get USPS to 30 second air something to you. Plus I think the paintball gods just don't like it as something always ends up worse off the next day. Get plenty of sleep and get up 30 minutes earlier then you think you need to get up. Trust me, waking up at 4:30am can take as much as 30 minutes just to figure out how to put your car key in the ignition.

Arrival: When you arrive you need claim your staging area. Do this with your bags and gear, but always make sure someone is staying with your stuff. It is a shame but there are people out there who take advantage of tournament noobs by lifting gear. Next on the list is to register and fill out waivers. Do this as quickly as possible so that you can get your schedule and walk the fields.

Take the Long walk: If you didn't get the chance to make it to the event station the night before to walk the fields then it is a good move to do so now. Setting up your gear can wait, you need to know what your doing and just what to expect from the fields. Know where everyone is going and where everyone is shooting. It helps lessen confusion later on.

Captains Meeting: This is very important, you don't want to miss this. Game rules as well as any sudden changes to schedule, fields ect will be mentioned. Not knowing of a different rule is not going to save you on the field. Some fields have their own set of starting rules and things, as well as knowing what the starting call is. You look rather foolish making your break out when they call "ten seconds" (The standard start is for the Head Ref to call "3, 2, 1, Ten seconds" At this time the game can begin anytime within those following ten seconds when the Head Ref says "Go". This prevents people jumping the gun)

Don't be intimidated: If this is your first event you will see lots of people with cool and fast looking guns all wearing personalized jerseys and drinking bottles of Gatorade with their own picture on them. Don't be intimidated, I swear to you that one day long ago they were sitting under a tree looking at people with cool and fast guns and getting ready to get spanked. Yes they will prolly beat you, but they have a lot more experience then you do. Stick with it and you'll get better. Also talk to them, many of them are more then happy to help out younger players. Ask them if they will let you see their markers. Get your 30 seconds of glory holding a $2,000 Speed Demon. Get a picture taken with it so you can lie to all your friends.

Be early: Know what field your supposed to be at and be there early. Games can run behind or ahead and you don't want to get skipped over. Also watch what other teams do. Maybe a team will send someone tot he same place you were going to go and he gets keyed off the break 3 out of 3 guess is you should change your plan.

Paint: Your back players are going to shoot more then your front players. It is a given, but your fronts will get the added protection of that added paint. Is it fair that your back player should have to buy 2 cases while your fronts get away with 500 rounds? I think you'll find yourself without any back players after a while. So team paint is a must. The best way to do this is to have each person buy one case and then let everyone take from everything. As you need more paint make sure every chips in. Most 5 man teams go through about 5-7 cases per event. Depending if you make the finals or not.

The Game: You will find the game much more aggressive then you might be use to. People know if they don't make a move then their will lose the game and that hurts them in the long run, not like rec play where the games don't affect each other. Bunkerings happen much more often, and peoples nerves are on edge. So don't get upset if you get bunkered or you get a bonus ball walking off. Just understand that the person didn't really have it out for you, they are just trying to win.

Points: The average points system revolves around a 100 point max. 50 for hang, 20 for first person to pull the flag, 4 for each opponent eliminated, 2 for each of your team left alive. But you need to go to the captains meeting to find out.

Refs: The refs expect you to know the rules of the game. They will not talk to you, or tell you where the other guys are, or do anything other then start the game and give out penalty's. But they are nice, if you are not sure if your hit ask for a paint check, if you think you got someone tell the ref exactly here he is and where you think you got him. Also be courteous to them and thank them for doing their job. It goes to your advantage to have the refs like you.

Arguing Calls: If something happened that you don't think was right only the captain should go to the head ref. If you have the entire team swarm the guy I can already tell you the finals answer will be no. State the simple facts, and ask if there is any way to rectify the situation, usually the refs field call stands, but sometimes it changes.

Final Results: In short expect to get rolled. Paintball is a lot about paying your dues by playing a lot. Many of these teams have been together for a long time and have been playing even longer. Worry not, be glad with your performance and look to improve next time. It happened to all of us, I see way too many first timers walk away upset that they didn't win. Frankly they didn't have much of a chance to begin with.

Make friends: Paintball is like any other social event, you get to meet lots of people. Whenever I got to events now I can see friendly faces and friendly teams. It is that much more fun to walk onto the field threatening someone from any other team and to walk off laughing hysterically at how you ripped each other apart. No matter what the outcome.

Food: It usually helps to bring a packed lunch to events as the food tends to be expensive. Then again it is often tough to ignore the calling of that triple Decker cheeseburger with jumbo fries. Eat it if you wish, but my bet is it will end up on the field somewhere behind a bunker. I personally feel best with LOTs of water/PowerAde, and light snacks during the day. Granola bars, crackers, a cheese sandwich. But make that call as to how you are....

Bragging Rights: No one likes a bragger, even more so if they are a more defined team then yours. Everyone has a bad day and if you happen to beat that team of angels with your Wal Mart Talons don't flaunt it in their faces, They are higher up on the food chain and can make things very difficult, or at least you'll make an enemy and not a friend. Simply be content with your victory and scream it to the hill tops when you get home.

Heading Home: Before you go make sure to thank the refs, the organizers and the other teams. Reputation is everything. Pick up your trash (you'll prolly be given a trash bag when you check in) and pack up. Stay for the awards if you'd like or just go home for dinner. Over dinner try to figure out what you did right, what you did wrong and what you can do to improve....

....Then be ready for the next event to go tool fools.

See also:
Being Team Captain


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