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Cover & Movement in paintball


Are you ready for your first paintball game? Then get ready for the full extent of exitment you are about to experience!

In the opening move of a game of paintball, players run out from their flag station and try to get as far up field as possible before they dive behind cover. What separates the good players from the mediocre is whether or not they choose effective bunkers to get behind. Just giving protection from the opposition's shots is not enough. If you can't shoot effectively from behind the bunker you pick, your position is worthless. Remeber about it when you are playibg the great game of paintball!

How many times have you watched a teammate make a spectacular dash to a bunker, only to get pinned down behind it. Since every player on the other team has a shot at his bunker, he can't expose as much as the tip of his barrel without being splattered. He picked the wrong bunker and over extended his position, and now his contribution to winning this game has become yelling for you to "Get them off of me!" Not very effective paintball play.

Under extending, stopping at a position too far back from the opposition, is safer but also ineffective. You have to pick a bunker that puts you close enough to the opposition for your shots to have an affect on the game. You may not be getting eliminations, but your shots put pressure on them, force them to duck behind cover, keep them from advancing or retreating to better positions.

Throughout a game you must adjust your position, move from bunker to bunker, to stay effective. If you are about to become over extended, it's time to retreat. And when your current bunker no longer offers effective shots, it's time to advance.

Before You Move to new paintball position

Before moving from one position to another you must consider two factors: How exposed will I be while moving, and how effective will I be once I get there. These two aspects, the amount of exposure and the effectiveness of a position, have to balance out. Is the risk worth the advantage?

First you need to get an overview of the field. Determine which bunkers, if you could get to them, would give you the most effective angles of fire. Once you know where you want to go, look for ways to get there. Which opposing players will have a shot at you while you are moving? Are there lanes of cover you can move through? Figure out a step-by-step approach to get you from point A to point B before you move. Remeber this when you play paintball!

When You Move

The advantages of crawling have been discussed in depth in previous articles, so we won't repeat them here. Fact is, most players prefer running to crawling. They feel more confident running from one bunker to another because it minimizes the time or duration they are exposed as a target. The disadvantage of running is it increases the amount of exposure. When you run, your entire body exposed. And while you are running, usually more than one opponent can see you and get a shot at you.

If you have to run from bunker to bunker, move laterally. A sideways moving target is harder to hit than someone moving directly forward or backward. Additionally, your lateral movement often will encourage the opposing shooter to lean out from behind his cover as he traces you with his paintgun. This makes it easier for your teammates to eliminate him.

Timing a Move

The timing of an advance from one bunker to another happens in two stages: First you and/or your teammates have to distract or suppress opposing players who have a shot at you. You need to get their attention somewhere else, so they aren't sighted in and prepared to shoot as soon as you expose yourself. The suppression can be direct (shoot at them until they duck behind cover) or it can be indirect (draw their attention away from you, or away from the direction you will be moving).

The second stage of the advance is the movement. Be quick! Move fast! Stay low and go hard! Don't slow down until you are behind cover. You have to move without hesitation, but you also have to keep your awareness of the field.

Really good bunker players are able to run without losing sight of their target. Like a baseball player stealing a base, they take a quick glance over their shoulder. Experienced players also rely on their ears. Balls shot in your direction have a specific sound, and hearing the shots tells you a lot about range and direction.

Maintaining field awareness with your eyes and ears as you run determines how you will finish up the move. If you don't see a player aiming at you and don't hear shots coming in your direction, it means you can slide into cover ready to shoot. If you hear shots and see players aiming at you, that means you need to get all the way behind cover and hesitate before sticking your paintgun out.

Finishing the Move

The most versatile way to finish a bunker run is with a feet-first, baseball style slide. Laid out on your back with your legs extended toward the bunker, you can roll onto your left or right hip to shoot around sides. Or, by pushing up with your lower leg as you slide into cover, you can pop up on one knee to shoot over the bunker. If you are being shot at and need to get as tight against the bunker as possible, just bend both knees and curl your torso when you slide. Take care--bunkers are notorious for having sticks, rocks, and other obstacles in the area where you would slide.

The major disadvantage of head-first slides or dives is you have to take one hand off your paintgun to brace yourself. Aiming is slower, and you can't get up into a kneeling position as quickly.


Practicing the techniques in this and last month's article will make you a better player. You will be a harder target to hit, and you will be a more effective member of your team during a fire fight. Understanding the principles of cover and movement also will elevate your paintball strategy abilities. Walking a field and preparing a game plan for your team takes on a new perspective when you recognize crawl lanes, effective bunkers, and all the other aspects defensive and offensive positioning.

(c) 2003 Пейнтбол Клуб Егерь

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