What to expect
The basics of paintball are simple: opposing teams shoot small balls of paint at each other, aiming to mark their opponents with a splat of paint. There are plenty of ways to play, whether you’re looking for a high-stakes version of tag, hide and seek, or capture the flag.
The details will all depend on the game you’re playing. It could last a few minutes or several hours and could work with two friends or 500 competitors.
It doesn’t have to be about the team games, even if they’re the most popular way to give it a go. You can also use paintballing to shoot at targets and practise your aim.
What you’ll learn
It doesn’t really matter whether you’re trying to capture a flag or hide from your opponents: you won’t get far without the help of your friends. Team games are all about working together and putting the team’s strategy before your own interests so that, together, you reach your goals.
Paintballing will put your communication skills to the test as you try to send a message through the chaos without alerting the other team. Even in a team game, accuracy will be important too. It can be challenging to keep a steady aim when you’re full of adrenaline, but it’ll help you (and your team) succeed.
Paintball started in the United States. Forestry workers made a paint-splatting device to mark trees for felling, then the idea caught on with cowboys who used the markers on livestock. The sport as we know it developed from there. It’s been established in the UK for more than 20 years, and Scouts have been getting stuck in since 2014.
- Don’t skip the warm up. Paintball’s a physical sport, so do some stretches and get your body moving to make sure you’re prepared.
- Grab some gloves. Not only will they keep your hands warm, they’ll help protect them from paint. They’re so important that some centres won’t let you play without them.
- Dress for the weather. You’ll probably be outside, so wear something that’ll keep you warm and dry – and that you can move in. If you’re playing team games, it’s especially important to wear clothes you don’t mind getting splattered with paint. Sensible footwear is a must – think old trainers or sturdy boots.
You must always:
Be safe outdoors:
- Check the weather forecast
Parental permission is required for members under 18 taking part:
- Parental permission is required for members under 18 taking part.
You can go to a centre or use an activity leader who is not part of Scouting:You must find a suitable provider who meets the following requirements:
The provider must have public liability insurance.
Paintballing’s a unique way to get active and have fun. Was paintballing easy or exhausting? What motivated people to keep going when they felt tired? Perhaps adrenaline carried them through or they remembered their team’s goals.
To be successful at paintballing, people had to work as a team. What sorts of things did teamwork involve? People might think about how different people had different roles, how they came up with a plan together, or how they communicated. Did anyone cover a friend’s back to keep them safe? What about creating distractions? Was it tricky to keep working together when things got intense and the adrenaline was pumping? High-pressure environments can make teamwork challenging, but they’re often when it’s most important. Can anyone else think of high-adrenaline situations where teamwork’s needed? People might think about putting a tent up in bad weather or even responding to an emergency.
It’s really easy to make paintballing work for your group because the details are up to you. Games can last anywhere from five minutes to several hours, and there are loads of ways to shake it up, including the type of game, the terrain, and the size of the playing area.
All Scout activities should be inclusive and accessible.
Why not arrange a shared activity (or even a tournament) with another group? It could be a great way to help people to get to know each other, for example, to introduce Scouts who are ready to move up to Explorers or to help Explorers and Network get to know each other.