Rocky Balboa is one of the most recognized icons of the cinematic sporting world. The “Italian Stallion” rose to the top of the fictional boxing world through dedication, hard work, and heart. Of course, he had the help of an unwavering trainer (Mick), a most-of-the-time alcoholic brother-in-law (Paulie), and his soft-spoken muse and love interest (Adrian).
Like Rocky, you need positive attributes and the help of a good cast of supporting paintball teammates to reach stardom on the field. We thought it would be entertaining (and helpful!) to provide the following paintball tips, borrowing analogies and references from the Rocky franchise. Consider the following four suggestions and someday you’ll be triumphantly raising your paintball gun to the heavens, giving your personal “Adrian” a shout out.
Paintball demands good stamina. Running is a great way to increase stamina. You don’t have to run with Apollo along the beach in short shorts and nearly-knee-high socks or address steep mountains in the former CCCP to get in shape, but a little bit of engagement in physical fitness can greatly improve your paintball game.
Paintball requires a decent amount of sprinting; so, it’s not a bad idea to start jogging a couple of times per week. Start slow, gradually increasing distance and speed. It may seem impossible now, but one day you’ll be able to tackle any paintball terrain as well as the steps of the Philadelphia Art Museum. Here is a helpful resource regarding beginning a running regimen.
A degree of bravado and confidence is needed in paintball, but it’s important to maintain a level of modesty. You have to understand paintball is a team sport; winning is contingent on the participation of integral components, you and your teammates working together towards victory. Sure, Rocky was fighting opponents by his lonesome in the ring, but as referenced in the intro, he couldn’t have reached such heights by himself. Remember in Rocky III, when Rocky got a bit cocky, taking the fight with Clubber Lang (Mr. T!) lightly? Rather than intensely preparing and listening to the advice of his trainer, Rocky prepared for the fight in a half-baked fashion, making promotional appearances, taking pictures with googly-eyed fans, and such. What happened? Clubber clobbered him. Afterward, Rocky regretted his former approach and realized he should have hung up his bravado in exchange for help from those he needed.
In short, realize paintball is a team sport. Facilitate good relationships with your team and listen to their advice. Rocky regularly took blows to the head, possibly causing damage to his noggin. Here is a “dummies” approach to being a good teammate – in case you’ve taken a paintball or two too many to the head.
How well do you know your team’s strengths and weaknesses? More importantly, how well do your opponents know those things about your team? Paintball demands the formulation of strategy. In the second installment of the franchise, Rocky’s trainer, Mick, developed a strategy for Rocky to implement into his second fight with Apollo Creed. Rocky was a natural “southpaw” or left-handed fighter for those who aren’t savvy with such lingo. Mick developed a strategy based on Apollo’s assumption that a majority of Rocky’s heavy blows would come from his left hand. In training sessions, Mick tied Rocky’s left arm to his body, eliminating the possibility of its use, thereby strengthening the precision and strength of his right hand. Rocky took a beating from Apollo in their second fight, yet Apollo was surprised by Rocky’s inclusion of heavy rights, facilitating the eventual win for the Stallion.
Get your teammates together and strategize before your next game. This can include realizing your own strengths and weaknesses as well as taking the traits of the other team (if the information is available) into account. Here is a resource page with plenty of links leading to paintball tips and assorted strategies.
If you have a day job or other responsibilities outside of your paintball team (unfortunately, you’re not alone), you probably don’t get a whole lot of opportunities to practice. Sure, being part of a team is extremely important, yet you can further hone your paintball skills on your own. Rocky would get up at the crack of dawn, down a few raw eggs and get out the door to begin his training before his formal training began. He was a committed man, one who most definitely had the “eye of the tiger.”
Find your own version of beating on frozen meat and running through the city streets, attracting the attention and company of young kids. Get out and practice, whether that means sharpening your sniper skills, playing a few games with a hodgepodge of players you don’t know, or reading up on new equipment and strategies. Yes, it’s a team sport but there’s a lot you can do to strengthen your individual contribution. Here is a link to paintball fields throughout the world. Get some practice time in!