By Chris Berg
††††††††††† When people ask me what I think are the most important things in paintball. I tell them snapshooting, teamwork, communication, angles, and (to some peoples surprise) movement. By this I simply mean going from one bunker to another.
Their next question is usually. Why movement? My answer starts with a question, which is: have you ever seen someone bunker another player and thought that bunkering someone might be fun? Well you have to be able to move and not be afraid of moving in able to do this. On the opposite side of things have you ever seen someone get lit up by about five other players at any pint in a game and thought how much that must hurt? Well first lets look at why this happened, chances are it because thatís where he as sitting since the break, and never bothered to move, or he was to scared to and he paid the consequence for it. Now this isnít always true (especially in the pros and higher levels of competition) but for people just starting the game it is usually the reason. So this should give you some idea of what can happen during a game depending on if you move or sit in one spot the whole game. Now Iíll try to explain how you know when the best time to move is, where is best place go, and best way to get there with minimal chance of getting hit.
So weíll start with how you know its time to move. As you may have guessed there are some obvious times when you should move, for example at the beginning of a game, its just so obvious but yet Iíve seen people hide behind the starting net and get bunkered at the end of a game and provided you can say that you stayed in for a long time but what is the merit in that if you didnít do anything. Now a less obvious time to move is when there is no one shooting at you. Now youíre asking, ďWhy then, they donít know where I am and that means they canít hit me.Ē My answer to this is that if they donít know where you are chances are its because they canít see you even when youíre looking out of your bunker, and that means you canít see them either (this isnít always true, so if you can see one of their players and he doesnít see you take a couple carefully aimed shots at him/her). Another good time to move is towards the end of the game when the other team only has one player left. If you have at least two players you should be able to both move up the field at the same time while shooting at him and keeping him behind his bunker. Also if you and one of your opponents are in a snapshooting war (he/she snapshots at you and you duck behind you bunker so as not to get hit, then snapshot back at them and they duck behind ect.) and none of his/her teammates seems to notice, then the next time you make them go behind their bunker take off towards the next farthest bunker up the field. If your quick enough and you peed out ever so slightly you will probably see them still shooting at the bunker you just came from. Remember that there are more times when you should move than I have stated here and remember that experience is the best teacher.
Now as to the best place to move to, which should be a little easier to figure out. Before the game you should know where you want to go but if you canít get there right away get as close to it as you can (a good idea is to go to a bunker that is in line with the one you want to go to). Now usually if you wait a little bit and look at the situation you will be able to find a way to get there, or the person that was blocking you off from the bunker will start shooting somewhere else or just stop shooting (This method applies to any time you canít reach your intended bunker, not just off the break). Now most of the time when you move youíll be moving to get a better angle on someone (youíll hear it a lot from people and that includes me, a big part of paintball is angles) and while you donít need to be a geometry wiz to figure out the best angle on someone, you have to know what is meant be the term angle. Basically in paintball when someone talks about angles they mean the direction at which you are shooting at someone. If you have a bad angle the person can sit almost anywhere in their bunker without a chance of getting hit, but if you have a good angle you will greatly reduce the area behind his bunker where he can sit without getting hit.
Bad angle. Better angle.
Now obviously you want to get the best angle you can to get the best possibilities of him/her getting hit. If you are getting shot at by numerous people and you find a way to leave your bunker to get somewhere else (by however means whether its your teammates helping you or you shooting up a storm) a good place to go is to the snake or if there is no snake on that particular field then move to the biggest bunker you can get to because then you have many more places you can come out from instead of just one spot (if you do beware of people trying to bunker you). If you are just moving because no one is shooting at you itís a good idea to just listen for a little while to see if you can tell where people are shooting from and then move in a direction slightly off to the side of there (not straight on because its not a good angle).
††††††††††† Now comes the part that can be quite difficult, getting there. First off the way you get from one bunker to another during a game is called a route pattern. In your route pattern you want to make sure that you have a very small or non-existent possibility of getting hit, but you also want to make sure you can get there quickly. For example if you want to get from one side of the field to another you donít want to run straight across as you will most likely get hit (Figure1 at bottom of page). You also donít want to have to go all the way to the back of the field because it would take too long (Figure 2 at bottom). You have to find a happy medium so that you reduce your chances of getting hit as much as possible while making sure you can get there quickly (Figure 3 at bottom). For example if you stay back from a bunker about 10ft it will provide you with cover for longer (and make a longer shot for your opponents) than it would if you would go right behind it with only couple of feet separating you from it, and it wonít take much longer (Figure 4 at bottom). Finally when running up the tape stay near the netting or out of bounds area (obviously donít touch the netting or go out of bounds) this does two things for you. First it makes a longer shot for your opponents so that you can see the paint for a longer period of time, which can be the difference between getting hit and dodging it. Second the bunkers you go past will allow more cover as I described above (for visualization see Figure 5 at bottom).
††††††††††† With all of these things the best way to become better at them is to play and watch other games and notice how everyone moves. Remember, though, that everyone has different styles of play so what works for one person might not work for you but you can sure give it a try.
If you have any comments, questions, or suggestions for this article you can contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org, and I will try to be as helpful as I can.