How To Play Paintball – A Beginners Guide

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For first time paintballers a day of paintball can be rather intimidating, the fast paced, adrenaline filled combat simulation is exhilarating and somewhat daunting as you gear up, enter  your selected game zones and prepare for war.

Although Paintball is regulated by safety rules and regulations the stakes feel higher as you know you’re about to have a day you’re unlikely to forget.

To increase your chances of entering the game zones as a rookie and leaving as a Rambo we have put together the ultimate guide to not only participating effectively in the day but leave as a fully fledged paintball commando and guarantee you coming back for more.

So whether you’re a bachelor playing for his last day of freedom, or you’re looking for the best way to spend your 10th birthday, Paintball is an adventure for the whole family to enjoy with the playing age beginning at eight upwards.

How To Start Playing Paintball

  1. Find an appropriate place to play
  2. Learn the rules
  3. Gear up – paintball marker, mask and clothing
  4. Plan your strategy, keep moving
  5. Be stealthy
  6. Pay attention
  7. Have fun!

Gear Up

Paintball Marker – It may seem obvious but you will need a paintball gun or marker. There are a wide variety of paintball guns to choose from so don’t get bogged down trying to figure out what type to use.

At first it may be best to rent one and try out different models until you find one you like. You can get some good recommendations of paintball guns here.

Mask – Once you have picked out your marker, you will need to choose a mask. This is an absolute safety requirement. Paintballs travel at high velocities and can easily take an eye out. As with your marker, you can rent one until you find one you like.

Always wear your paintball goggles, your uniform should be worn with dignity and pride and is to be worn at all times when you are outside of the base camp. Full head helmets are provided with 360-degree protection to ensure you play in comfort and protection.

Clothing – If you get hit a close range with a paintball it will hurt! To protect yourself at least a long sleeve t shirt and a sweat shirt for protection. For pants, a pear of sweat pants underneath a pair baggy jeans should be adequate.

Don’t Be Afraid

Paintball is a simulation combat game, not actual combat, and getting hit by a paintball hurts way less than you may expect.

Not to say you won’t have a few battle bruise to brag about to your friends but nothing that stings for more than a few seconds and is just as quickly forgotten.

It’s important to use the butterflies in your stomach to your advantage and don’t let the fear of getting hit ruin your day, you’ll be fully equipped with the best gear and equipment in the paintball industry guaranteeing your protection but not guaranteeing the win.

Part of the experience of paintball is learning to embrace the fear and live in the moment, learning to throw caution to wind as you risk everything, pain, defeat and pride all in the hopes of victory.

How To Start Playing Paintball

Communication is Key

Communicate at all times with your teammates – this is an essential tactic needed to ensure victory on the battlefield, to provide yourself and your mates with all round protection.

Its important to discuss a game plan to ensure you are all on the same page and no man gets shot due to miscommunication and plan planning. You are a team, so you need to work alongside together to secure a win.

Its best to do as much strategizing off than field as the battle field isn’t exactly an ideal place to chat to your teammates, so if you have to communicate , communicate quietly as to not jeopardize your position or game plan.

Be Vigilant

Be prepared for anything, don’t get caught out in the middle of an epic battle and run out of paintballs or paintball grenades this will hamper your fun and jeopardise the victory of your team.

Always stock up during the breaks between games and make use of battle packs to carry extra ammo. – Continually survey your surroundings while moving around the game zone.

You should be making a mental map of the area and make a note of where the enemy is or where they might move to during the duration of the game.

Stay Positive and Have Fun

Maintain a positive outlook. This can be easier said than done when under enemy fire and feeling the pressure. However, a positive mindset is important when you are playing paintball, even when the odds are against you.

A good outlook can boost the team morale and your own spirits. Don’t forget to follow the golden paintball rules and have lots of fun.

Beginners Guide To Paintball


Like everything in life it’s better if everyone plays fair and follows the rules. It’s important not to bend the rules to your advantage. Don’t pretend to be hit when you have not been or to pretend you haven’t been when you have. This is one of paintballs biggest offenses.

Coverage & Stealth

One of the many skills required for a successful day of paintball is patients, one needs to learn to take coverage in what may seem like odd and even inconvenient hiding places in order to keep safe and out of the firing line.

A player that doesn’t see his opponent won’t beat his opponent, so don’t stay to covered that you’re hinder your own view – most paintball newbies hide themselves so well that they miss all the action and set themselves up for a potential ambush.

So stay covered, be stealthy , be vigilant and shoot wisely.

Be Wise When Firing

There is nothing worse than being caught in the middle of battle to realize you’ve run out of ammo, in order to ensure you don’t get trigger happy here are three reason to fire your Paintball Marker in battle.

  1. Your opponent is in view and you know that you are able to tag them from that range.
  2. Fire as a deterrent to help a team member move into a safer position.
  3. To test that your Marker is working efficiently before the start of the game.

Don’t waste time firing at distances that are to far or to sheltered, be quick, be quiet, be patient and wait till you’re position is one that guarantees results. The game is all about stealth, strategies and plan execution.

Being a paintball beginner doesn’t hinder your ability to be badass or victorious. Most mistakes come from being afraid, but you should remember that it’s just a paint and its just a game and there will be another one.

So embrace the game, experience the thrill. You have a marker, you have gas and you have paint. Feel dangerous, be daring, be bold adventure awaits.

I hope this guide was helpful for learning how to play paintball. If you want to comment or recommend gear or a tip I didn’t include, please use my contact form to get in touch.

Have fun and be safe out there!

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Richard Remick

Richard is the founder and the chief editor of Outside Pursuits. Passionate about the great outdoors, Richard spends much of his time in Colorado enjoying skiing, snowboarding, mountain biking, cycling, hiking, and camping. When at home in Florida, he is most often found in the water. He loves water sports such as paddle boarding, kayaking, snorkeling, and scuba diving. He is a certified scuba diver. Because of his wealth of knowledge and experience, Richard has been invited to contribute articles to many outdoor-focused websites, such as Florida Rambler, and has been profiled on travel websites such as JohnnyJet.
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