Retreat to go forwards?

Retreat to go forwards? Defense is the best form of attack? What got you here won’t get you there?

While Dave struggles with the opening line for this article, lets cut to the meat of this article – do you think in terms of position? Does your team know when they have the positional advantage, to exploit it, or when they need to re-position?

If you are just letting the game of paintball (any format) you are playing unfold in front of you, then you need to fix up and look sharp. You are playing for advantage. At all times. That advantage can be the G count, the points lead in XBall, for position, or any other advantage you can bring to bear (mental advantages exist too – especially over a season or a multi-point match). It is position that has got me flustered today as, especially in woodsball, this is where I see a big gap of improvement that teams can take advantage of.

Case in point is the Outlanders – these guys won the UKWM Team of the Year award in 2018 and to be frank their results have been a lot worse than they look. They look pretty good when you see them play, sure they have a few rough edges but they are a lot of the way there.

One thing they don’t seem to get yet is how to work with position. At round 5 I saw this go two ways, an early death left them clumped together on the newly upgraded corner field. They knew they were down a body but no one took charge* to re-position their team to attack with 4 bodies.

*If you’ve read some of my earlier articles you’ll know I refer to the playmaker role, someone who moves the chess pieces of your team based on how the game is unfolding. This doesn’t have to be one person, it can be any person at any time and the key to this is someone stepping to the fore and starting it.

Equally, the Outlanders also made a HUGE bite in the finals – breaking to the near tape 50 and living – a move that NO OTHER team had attempted, let alone succeeded in 38 games of play. So great, you made the 50… what happens now. First of all, Mr Ings – you can celebrate after the game – now you need to breathe, get your gun up and work some kills out smartly. Staying alive is IMPORTANT as you are now being watched by a couple of the opposition. Don’t believe me, watch the paint coming past you from different angles – on the end of that paint are different players looking your way. A cheap death only benefits the opposition.

Now the Outlanders have some space to push position elsewhere on the field, why not creep into the middle and bait out some of those guys gunning at the 50. Watch Mr Ings and you’ll get a feel for what heat he is coming under, keep him calm, alive and get your creep on.
Working on position is for every team, in every game. And if you have experience this is definitely an area you need to trust your gut. Darron Doherty is an experienced player by any measure and he spent a good while in a game at round 5 asking Gazza if he should go to the far tape. It doesn’t stop there, Marcus did the same at round 4 playing against Nemesis. In the time they spent thinking, and talking about re-positioning, they could have gone to the other tape and checked it out, then come back again. Trust your gut.

Hopefully that makes sense – paintball is a glorified game of chess in any format – and being someone that reacts quickly or drives the game as it unfolds is a needed quality. Not sure how to apply this? Have an out of body experience, float up 50m and try and look down on the field as you play the game – where are you, where is your team, where are the opposition? Where do you need to be?

Watch out for more rhetorical questions in the off season


David Simpson