How to Play Speedball:  Paintball on Steroids

Speedball is a highly-popular form of paintball that takes place on a much smaller and faster scale. The field is shorter, usually symmetrical on both sides, and the number of players are limited.

How to Play Speedball

The awesome thing about speedball games is that they're always fast-paced and exciting. You start the game almost close enough to shoot the opposing team, and bunkers play a huge role in how the game progresses.

Play is more evenly matched, as bunkers are generally in the same position on either side of the field. Games are played in pairs: when the first game is over teams switch sides, so no team can claim the other had an unfair advantage.

In speedball, the bunkers are usually inflatable, allowing the field to change things up from week to week. Obstacles like tires are used as well; these can be rolled into all different configurations.

Keeping the field modifiable will keep the games fresh, especially if your particular field hosts amatuer or professional paintball leagues. By constantly changing the field, teams are forced to rely on good gameplay rather than the same tactics again and again.

The Advantages of Speedball vs. Traditional Paintball Fields

Because speedball fields are so small and rectangular, they can be placed side by side (usually with a netted corridor running between them as a safe zone). By saving space, indoor paintball arenas can survive with limited square footage while running multiple games at the same time.

Professional paintball players will play on indoor or speedball fields 90% of the time. This eliminates any advantage home players would have from knowing a particular field too well, or from the imbalance of non-symmetry when it comes to bunker and obstacle placement.

Everything said, speedball paintball is highly addictive. You can play a lot more games in a shorter period of time: each game doesn't last nearly as long, and travel time is reduced because you don't have to hike your way out to remote wooded areas.

This enables to you face more opponents in a day. You get to try more strategies, fire more paint, and learn some really great teamwork. The best paintball tactics involve working with your fellow teammates to cover each other, flank up, and eventually close in the positions of enemy opponents.

Speedball Tips, Tactics, and General Guidelines

Playing on speedball field is a lot different than playing a normal paintball game. To get started off on the right foot (and not painted up by six people at once), keep the following tips in mind:

  • Never Stay Out in the Open
  • The worst thing you can do as a speedball player is stand right out in the open part of the field. On a long field, you might see people doing this because they're just out of range. But on a speedball field? Nothing is out of range.

    Bunkers are the real estate of a speedball game. The more bunkers you and your team hold, the stronger your position will be. Get in a bunker as soon as the whistle blows, or behind an obstacle. Standing out in the open will get you eliminated in seconds.

  • Don't Stay in One Place Forever
  • Just because you hold a bunker doesn't mean you need to stay there. Advancing forward and taking new positions is a crucial part of being successful as a team; professional or amateur, no team wins by hanging back and staying where they ended up when the whistle first blew.

    By moving from bunker to bunker, you're also creating opportunity. If an opponent sees you move, he or she now has to worry about you firing at them from a new angle. And if they didn't see your advance? Now they're still covering an empty bunker, giving you the chance to shoot them out or even advance to flank and capture their position.

  • Talk to your Teammates
  • Professional paintball is becoming big enough that you can now catch it on TV. And if you've ever watched it, you'll know that each match is filled with players shouting and barking out commands.

    Communication is critical when playing speedball. Because the field is so small, you need to know exactly where your opponents are at all times. Calling out positions when you see them, or when an enemy advances into a new bunker, is one good way you can keep your team from being surpised and ambushed.

    You'll also need to call or signal to each other before making a move. When advancing to a new position, you'll always want a teammate laying down cover fire. This forces the enemy back behind his or her barricade, at least long enough for you to run safely to your target.

  • Advance Forward Only When The Time is Right
  • Opponent reloading? Not paying attention? Is he driven back behind an obstacle because one of your teammates is firing at him?

    Speedball Bunker Rush

    These are all perfect times to rush forward and take the next bunker or position. Opportunity is knocking.

    Any time an enemy team member is distracted or occupied with something other than you, that's when you want to make your move.

    Don't switch bunkers when it's not safe, or when an opponent is watching or shooting at you. These are mistakes that will always get you eliminated in a speedball game.

    Unless you're being driven from your position by an enemy who's flanking you, try to hold where you are until the right opportunity presents itself. Because eventually? It will.

  • Don't Get Too Fixated on Any One Part of the Field
  • In football, a good quarterback has great field vision. He sees what's going on with every player, and not just the one he's trying to throw to.

    The same thing goes for speedball. You need to see the entire paintball field, rather than just the corner or bunker you happen to be in.

    It's way too easy to focus on your neck of the woods, your neighborhood, and your target opponents. And as you sit there fixated on that one little firefight, someone runs up behind or next to you, eliminating you from an angle you never saw coming.

  • Never Count Yourself Out
  • In a speedball game, no odds are too small. While most games end with a group of players advancing on one lone position, it doesn't mean that position can't still defend its way to a victory.

    I've seen countless games in which the 'winning' team gets cocky, runs up on the last enemy player, and gets eliminated one by one. They rush the final position simultaneously, thinking the other player can't eliminate everyone at once.

    Don't make the mistake of abandoning your tactics simply because you have the numbers advantage. That last player could be a crack shot. Or there could be another player hidden behind a bunker you didn't know about, still in the game.

    Similarily, never count yourself out! The game's not over until you've been hit by a paintball, and even if you're the last person left there are still ways of winning the game.

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