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What to Bring

If you've never played before or you're just wondering what to bring with you, here is a list of items that will make you game day much more fun and relaxing.

  1. Extra cash. Usually $15 to $25 worth just in case you need to buy food or get extra ammo or air.
  2. Camouflage clothes. If you don't want to glow and be a huge target consider getting these.
  3. Underclothes. Layer your clothes. Paintballs can sting if you don't.
  4. Good rugged shoes. You'll be running in the woods.
  5. A protective cup. If you're male then really consider this. A paintball there can take children out of your future.
  6. A good sports bra. You really don't want a hit in this region without some protection.
  7. A change of clothes. After a day of playing in the dirt and grime it feels real nice to change before the drive home.
  8. A plastic bag. To carry all your dirty clothes at the end of the day.
  9. A towel. If you get paint in your hair or on your skin you'll really want this.
  10. Water or refreshing liquid. Paintball is strenuous. You'll need liquids or you can dehydrate. Avoid soda and no alcohol.
  11. A snack. Maybe some granola bars or something like that to get you to lunch.
  12. A Camera. I guarantee you'll want to pictures to go along with all the stories you'll have.

Paintball Statistics for the nervous

Courtesy of Durty Dan


Yearly Injuries Per 1,000 Sport Participants
NOTE: These stats were collected in the late eighties, but my sources in the insurance industry assure me that they are still applicable today. These injury statistics were collected through a collaboration of insurance companies and national medical associations. The injury was only tabulated if it required medical attention or caused the person inured to lose at least one day of work.

Archery 0.66 PAINTBALL GAMES 0.31 Baseball 27.67
Basketball 22.04 Bicycle Riding 11.30 Boating 0.92
Basketball 22.04 Bicycle Riding 11.30 Lacross 224.5
Bowling 0.50 Boxing 11.34 Fishing 1.37
Football 27.50 Golf 1.13 Gymnastics 7.13
Hockey 12.46 Ice Skating 2.79 Lacrosse 223.79
Rugby 23.14 Soccer 10.54 Snow Skiing 3.44
Snowmobiling 2.86 Swimming 1.30 Tennis 1.09
Volleyball 4.43 Water Skiing 1.90 Wrestling 27.37

As you can see, your chances of getting injured, playing other sports, is surprisingly high. The only sports that scored below 1 per 1000 injured were bowling and boating and paintball is still more safe that both!

Someone e-mail me and informed me that lately (early 2000) there have been sporadic media reports that eye injuries in paintball have increased.

This increase is not indicative of paintball becoming more dangerous -- as alarmists would have you believe. The PERCENTAGE of injuries has not changed, but if more people play the NUMBER of injuries would logically increase. Your odds of getting an eye injury in paintball are still as low as it has been since 1988.

In 1998, fourty thousand people lost their lives in automobile accidents (and that's been about the average for the past five years. To date not one person has been killed as a direct result of being hit with a paintball. You name any sport and I'm sure it won't be hard to find a fatality.

Number of Countries Where Played: (1998) 200

Growth Rate of Industry: 15-20% per year

Paintballs Produced Worldwide per year: 1,500,000,000

Estimated number of Players (estimated numbers are considered to be low -- due to the fact that there is no single body in paintball to report these numbers to):
USA (1999) 8,000,000
Canada 650,000
UK 500,000
Europe 1,000,000
Australia 300,000

Estimated No. of Sites (commercial and private)
USA: 2500
Canada: 300
UK: 400
Europe: 450
Australia 60

Player Statistics
Number of Individual Participants/Year:
1,500,000 (USA)
Number of Days Played/Year, Occasional Recreational Players 10-12
Estimated Percentage Female Players: 3 to 15% (USA)
Players Income: 29% over $50,000/year
Average Age of Players: 18-21 years (It is interesting to note that up until 1995 paintball was dominated by 30-45 year olds.)

For a printable version of this article click here.

Tips for beginners

by Sami Khan

What to watch out for as beginners? Beginners always make a few mistakes that everyone makes. I make them all the time. Here are a few helpful hints:

The very first rule is: never EVER take off your mask!!! I can't stress this enough. It is very detrimental to your vision's health. A paintball at 280 feet per second could pop your eye out of your head. Don't ever take your facial protection off, except in designated areas.

Make sure you understand your gun and its limitations, whether a rental or your own. Ask if you don't know.

Paintballs do not hurt when they hit. You won't even feel them till the day after. I have found that paintballs that hit you and don't break hurt a little more because they hit and bounce off. The time they are in contact with you is shorter and thus the force is greater (impulse equation from physics justifies this). When it does break it is in contact with you longer and is cushioned by your skin, fat, etc.

Wear darker clothes, don't wear white. White is just too bright, you will get killed.

Wear some type of boots or comfortable hiking/running shoes. I personally prefer football or soccer cleates. I think cleates work the best for me. They are comfortable, light, quick, and provide excellent traction in grass and mud. A lot of paintball players are using cleates these days.

Always be honest. If you get hit and see the splat on you, please raise your hand and exit the game. There is always another game to redeem yourself. I hate people who try to wipe their paint off and think they can get away with it. You only do that if you really suck. By the end of the day it will be obvious if you suck.

Don't ever call an advanced paintball player a cheater. They hate that and take their games really seriously. No matter what happens don't do this, you are asking for trouble. That is how seriously some people take their game. They are mostly very honest down to earth people. One time I did this and the guy wanted to fight me.

Don't be afraid to ask or learn. With the speed of technology these days it is hard for anyone to know everything about paintball.

Always appoint a team captain and follow his orders no matter what. This is the key. The team captain does not have to be the most experienced or the wildest or the most intelligent, but there has to be one captain. Follow orders even if you think you have a better plan. Don't go for self glory. I remember one time a young 9 year old played with us. The team captain told him to hide behind some tires and stay there forever until it got really bad or we won. It got really bad, our whole team was eliminated except for him. The other team had no clue about him and 3 of them came marching in to take the flag when he slowly jumped out and killed all of them. Obey your captain even if it does not conform to your method of play.

Keep your eyes open. I have seen so many players gain ground and then quickly get eliminated because they were not looking sideways. They go straight forward and then are attacked from other players from the sides and even behind them. This mistake is made so many times. It is a mistake even the most advanced players make. It's not easy to look around. Our brains always focus on one thing. Train yourself to look around as you run, hide, attack, and take cover.

Be alert and never focus too much on one thing. Don't keep shooting at the same guy behind the bunker over and over again. Move on and surprise him from the side or another angle.

Don't stay in the same spot too long. If you are in a fort don't keep shooting from the same side forever, its not productive. Go to the other end, go to the second level. Move away from the bunker walk out unprotected and hold people down. Don't stay put!

Never give up. Whether you run out of air, paint or energy... don't ever stop or quit, you are still useful. No one has to know that you are all out. Never call yourself dead if you are unsure. If you question whether or not a shot hit you and splatted call a paintcheck and have the referee check if you are dead yet.

Don't just call yourself out because you felt a hit. Wait for the referee to confirm.Always call paint checks on yourself if you are unsure.