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One Man Left

Playing paintball when you are the last one on the field

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Paintball is a team game. Like in any sport, great players will lead their teams and provide direction, but no team consists of just one player. Even if you have the best basketball player in the world on a team with bad players, the team will lose against a complete team of merely average players. Paintball is really no expection.

Paintball, though, is a little different than other sports in that the number of people playing on the field at any one time is subject to change. As players are eliminated the strategy for both sides switches and the focus of the game changes.

The result of this continual elimination of players is that in every game of elimination (or any of the many variations), there will be a point when there is only one player left on the team. That doesn’t mean that the game is over as a single player can do some amazing things. Generally, though, if there are significant differences in numbers (three or more players on the opposing team against the one remaining player) the odds are pretty stacked against the solo player. The one overcoming the many, though, is common enough in paintball that you shouldn’t give up but play smart and the last player left may, in fact, be able to still salvage a victory for your team. If you are the last player left, here is some strategy that you can apply to maximize your chances at success.

Field Positioning

As the last player on the field you need to use every last bit of the field to your advantage. If you are playing woodsball on a large field, you can maximize your chances by having as much of the field behind you as possible. On a smaller speedball field you really need to work the sides while not pinning yourself into a corner.

In all cases, the key is to have somewhere to go. When you are behind a bunker or a tree, know where you can move when the opposing team comes at you. Ideally you should have several options to move and you should be ready to move as quickly as possible.

Wait and Take

The general strategy that maximizes your chance at success is to be patient and wait for the other team to come to you so that you can use your cover to the extent possible. Hunker down behind your cover of choice and pay close attention to what the other team is doing. As they come towards you, wait for an opportunity and take whatever they give you. If two players are coming up together and you have a chance at both of them, take the shots. If you only have a good chance at one player, take your best shot. If you don’t know where the other team is, you are really in a bad place. Your best hope at this point is to find your position and wait for them and hope they walk towards you in an ideal way. If they do, react as if you had known all along where they were coming. If they don’t, do the best you can.

Shoot and Retreat

The last thing you ever want to do is get pinned down in a firefight with the opposing team. The more time you spend shooting at one player the more time the other players have to reposition and get an angle on you. Your goal, then, is to shoot sooner rather than later and then to retreat and reposition before they can flank you. The more field you have, the better chance you have as you may repeat this action multiple times. On a smaller speedball field work your way up one side of the field and then don’t be afraid to go back down the other afterward. The more times you have to fire and then move the more chances you have to eliminate the other players. This is the time when accuracy really pays off.

If All is Lost, Just Run

Hopefully you have the little siren in the back of your mind that tells you that all is basically lost. If you have this siren and it goes off, it is time to run and take a mad dash through the opposing players. The overwhelming majority of the time you will be unsuccessful, but every once in a while, you will succeed and have a story to tell. This approach is only good when you have nowhere to go and have no expectation of continuing the shoot and retreat strategy.

Does it Work?

The one versus many strategy is not a guaranteed victory. In fact, you will still lose when you are in this situation much more often than you will win simply because the deck is stacked against you. That doesn’t mean, though, that it doesn’t regularly work. Depending on the competition, the field and the number of people you are facing, this strategy may work 10-20% of the time. Now this may not sound like great odds, but a 10-20% chance of success is a whole lot better than a 100% chance of failure if you just throw in the towel and give up.
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