How to Play Paintball – A Beginner’s Guide

Paintball… you’ve always wanted to try it. But what do I need? How do I get started? Do I just show up at the paintball field, or do I have to have certain equipment?

Truth is, paintball is a lot simpler (and more fun) than you’d ever imagine. It’s an amazing, fast-paced game that even beginners can play – no outside equipment needed.

Your local paintball field will rent you everything you need to get started, and will even put you on teams alongside other first-time paintballers. There’s no previous experience needed, and you can show up without ever having played or seen a single game.

What Do You Need to Play Paintball?

To play the game of paintball, you’ll need a mask (also called goggles), a gun, and an air tank. You can rent these things right on the field, although it’s highly suggested you go out and spend twenty or thirty dollars on your own paintball mask (for sanitary reasons alone). From there you buy a case of ammo – paintballs usually come 2000 to a box, and if you brought a friend with you the two of you can split a case for the day.

How Does a Day of Paintball Break Down?

In the morning, you’ll have an orientation, a safety speech, and then you’ll head out to the field. You’ll play anywhere from two to four games of paintball, on a few different playing fields. Then you’ll break for lunch.

After lunch, expect to play another four, six, or even eight games before the day is over. The number of games of paintball you get to play will depend on your group, how slow they are, and how long the games you played were.

What Types of Games Do Paintballers Play?

Standard paintball games are capture the flag, base defense, hostage, medic, and a few other good ones. Most times you’ll be trying to get to the opponents base, to bring their flag back to your own home base for the win. In the meantime, you’ll be shooting at the enemy team. They’ll be firing back at you, and if a paintball breaks anywhere on your body – or even your gun – you’re out of that game and must walk off the field with your gun held over your head.

Getting Shot – Does it Hurt?

Does it hurt to get shot by a paintball? Yes and no. At times, paintballs can really sting. They can even leave welts, but only if you’re getting shot at close range or doing something foolish (like charging blindly into enemy territory). As a beginner, you probably won’t take too many hard shots. And most paintball hits feel like thumps or taps on your body – they don’t even hurt at all.

How Should You Dress For the Paintball Field?

If you’re wondering what to wear to a paintball field, make sure it’s loose-fitting clothing. Wear layers too: if you get hot you can always take something off. The extra layers will help with paintball hits as well, and will keep you from getting shot up too bad.

Finally, wear protective gloves. These are not required on the paintball field, but they’re very important because getting shot in the hands hurts more than just about anywhere else. For ten or fifteen dollars you can buy a pair of protective paintball gloves with plastic armored backing; probably right there on the paintball field.

In the end, paintball is a ton of fun! You’ll be glad you went, and you’ll catch on very quickly. Grab a few friends, head out to the field, and enjoy the day. If you follow the tips above, you’ll have a good idea of what to expect.