HOW TO : GROW PAINTBALL
To grow paintball, go back to what attracted you to paintball in the first place. Finding that inspiration that peaked your interest is a good place to start in order to add more people to the community of paintball.
If you love conversation, bring up positive experiences about your paintball excursions and share stories of how happy it makes you to get involved in paintball. Talk about it to your family, friends, coworkers, and even new people you meet; get them interested. Help the time go by the next time you are getting your hair cut by talking about paintball at the barber shop or salon. Maybe even encourage the whole staff at that shop to do a “team building” outing and share your local paintball field’s business card with them or text them the paintball field’s website.
Go on your social media apps and share your paintball photos, and in the description, share a short story about how much fun you had in that picture. Interact on your social media by doing live feeds showing your friends what paintball field you’re at. Mount a camera on your marker and record your paintball experiences and upload those edited videos to your social media outlets. You can even take it to the next level by starting your own YouTube Channel or Facebook Watch Show and make creative paintball videos with quick tutorials on how to play paintball or why you love the game.
Start a podcast or webcast the next time you’re at a paintball event and interview players for your social media show and ask them to describe how much fun they’re having. Many paintball podcasts and radio shows already exist, too, so google that and give it a listen and share your favorite paintball shows online.
FORM A TEAM
Forming a paintball team, club, or organization is another way to grow paintball. Take it further by creating a team that would be unique to what already exists like forming an all-female team, or youth team and have a clear objective about its purpose. Organizations that focus on youth and teach important lessons about not being a bully, having good sportsmanship, encouraging friendship formations, etc., are all positive ways that increase paintball’s participation. Once these teams and organizations are formed, try to find ways to invite new players to join up. Set a day for your team to focus on being a mentor to one player and give advice to those new players that look like they need help. Have your team take turns volunteering at the local paintball field and help ref games, finding those players that need extra help and give them advice on what to do differently to make their experience more fun.
Invite friends to play paintball the next time you plan to go to the field. Let those new people borrow some of your extra gear and if you trust them, let them borrow your marker during field play. Or you can first introduce them to the Target Shooting Area (or Chronograph Area) and have them test out your marker, giving them a feel of what it’s like instead of giving them a rental-type gun to shoot.
Beyond just letting your friends borrow gear and giving them a taste of your favorite things to use, give them some paint to use, just a bag or even a half-bag, for that matter, and if you can afford to be a little generous, this gesture will go a long way. Give advice whenever possible, especially to those players that look a bit scared, or unsure of what to do and where to go next on the field. Encourage them by playing alongside them and giving them confidence to make the next move, giving them cover as they advance to the next bunker. Make it a memorable experience by giving them a chance to capture the flag and run it in to win the game.
Offer to host clinics at the field to your friends and see if the field would be interested in making it affordable with the hope that those same individuals will return. Teach them by explaining basic fundamentals like how to hold the marker, what the safe zone is behind the bunker, the concept of playing like a team, and how to run and shoot into the next bunker to get further down the field. Keep it simple initially and get them motivated to want to come back for more. Come up with clever ideas about how to teach new people how to play and form a league centered around new players only.
HOST A TOURNAMENT
Offer to host a small tournament to brand new players only, making arrangements with the paintball owner to give away some paintball stuff that would inspire them to use that equipment at a future paintball excursion. You would be surprised by the number of people that will share stories about how they won a paintball marker and was hooked ever since. Focusing on the new player, too, creates the desire for that person to want to use their newly acquired paintball prize, hopefully the following weekend.
If you’re a paintball field owner or employee, consider changing up the bunkers at your field often. Make the bunkers interesting enough, especially if you’re near a major road where those passing by the field will see and be curious enough to stop.
If you’re an experienced player, occasionally take the time to offer tips to newer players and look out for them. If they get into a close encounter, try to keep them safe in a way where it won’t scare them away from ever playing paintball again. For those of you that know former paintball players, encourage them to come back and see what paintball is like now. This will help grow the sport by getting the older people to come back and give paintball a chance again.
In order to grow anything, it has to be nourished. Feed those new players with good information and great story-telling, and make it fun in both your description and when you’re on the field with new players, too. The key is to focus on the positives of paintball and nurturing the growth of paintball well into the future.