Review: How To Dominate The Paintball Field Ebook (-4 Stars)

“7 Killer Tips To Paintball Success” as the subtitle says.  Going further, here’s the last paragraph of  the hype:

“Few paintball players EVER learn the proper methods that paintball professionals use. I have worked with numerous pro paintball players, and they all have one thing in common. They learned how to play the game the right way… AND YOU CAN TOO!”

I’ll give you a clue as to where this review is going by saying that whatever Pros were consulted for this book ought to be strung up by their private parts and used for target practice.

But let’s back up and find the justification for my harshness.

We’ll start with the fact that I’ve written a few paintball books myself and have worked very hard to be as accurate, meaningful and informative as possible.  I’ve also written the standard “Intro to Paintball” article for just about every print publication that’s come down the industry pike since 1986 and if I’ve learned anything along the way, it is that there is a right way and a wrong way to do this stuff.

Now let me tell you where I became familiar with this ‘book’.  It was on a paintball-oriented website that someone I know used to own.  Ownership was allowed to lapse and it’s pretty obvious that the website has been taken over by one of those click-farms that publish meaningless drivel that has a few keywords sprinkled throughout  so that it can draw the attention of search engines.  You know, things like “Learn Pro Paintballer Tricks” that ends up being something like “when I play paintball, I always try to take a shower after the game because my mom says I’m stinky”.  This bit of wisdom is, of course, surrounded by numerous affiliate ad programs – often for unrelated product categories.

These are nothing but SEO mining websites running content-mill crappola that at best is a waste of time and at worst imparts bad or incorrect information.

An ad for the book, published(?) and promoted by the ‘CO2 Paintball Guru’ was at the bottom of the page and, being a writer of paintball books, I decided to take a look.

Clicking brought me to an offer to obtain the book For Free (at the expensive of giving up my email address, no doubt to some company that will spam me from now until the end of time:  I unsubscribed almost immediately after getting the downloaded book but there was no policy statement from the publisher stating that they won’t resell my address.  There is a policy from the fulfillment company – AWeber – which just means AWeber won’t let the publisher spam me.  Unfortunately, they can’t do anything about what a third party does) so I subscribed (no notice that I’d be getting the book emailed to me btw) and was taken to the Guru’s website.

That’s supposedly chock full of informational content (and ads – in-content ads, so be careful what you click on).

I checked out a few articles and got what I expected, like this passage for ‘Paintball Beginners’

If you’ve ever wanted to participate in a gun fight, but did not want to suffer any serious injuries than paintball is for you.

shortly followed by this:

The most common paintball game played is called a deathmatch.

And I thought the most common game was capture the flag. Deathmatch? Blah blah political correctness blah blah but – come on?!

So then I tool a look at paintball’s history as related by the ‘guru’. All I can say is that there has got to be some kind of alternate-dimension vortex operating between my computer and this guy’s website, as his reality is most definitely not my reality –

While 1983 was a big year for the history of paintball because of its growing popularity and its official championships, paintball still had a long way to go. These championships get credit because they were the first championships on the stage for paintball as a sport, but they were also somewhat illegitimate.

First of all, most of the participants were farmers who played at a recreational level. The championships had 7 teams of 12, and 5 of those teams consisted of farming groups. Quite simply, not enough people knew about the sport yet, so the championships were not a very accurate representation of the the best that paintball has to offer. I would love to see one of today’s paintball professionals participate in the 1983 championships. There would be some serious ownage.

Secondly, the national championships were international. 1 of the 7 teams was a foreign group, from Europe, that were friends of Bob Gumsey. I am not suggesting that paintball should only be available to the United States. I support the inclusion of as many people as possible. But don’t call a tournament national if its an international tournament. Not cool. Not legit. But no worries paintball was only getting started.

Farmers are illegitimate paintball players because no one knew how to play the game yet? Well frickin DUH! It was the FIRST EVER tournament. (What the heck does this guy have against farmers? Doesn’t he like to eat?)

I sincerely hope that you are beginning to get a sense of the, ummm, illlogic, being employed here.

With my stomach roiling, I checked my email and discovered that the welcome message from the website had arrived and that it included a PDF of the 7 Tips book. I opened the file and began reading.

Took me all of ten minutes to get through the whole thing. (If I had had to pay for this ‘book’, I’d be seriously pissed off. As it is, I’m seriously pissed off.)

These ‘tips’ are promoted as being those things necessary to DOMINATING the paintball field. I’m pissed because I’d classify this whole thing as a come-on directed at clueless newbies who are being taken advantage of.

Any pro paintballer, indeed ANY player who has become involved in organized play for more than a few months will be able to tell you that there are three things newbies suffer from and must learn to get past in order for their game to improve: avoid tunnel vision, communicate and aggress.

After that – play against those more experienced than yourself and master your gun skills.

How To Dominate begins with addressing the first of those issues (not a bad start, I thought) by explaining what tunnel vision is.

Without really giving you any clues as to what it really is and how to train yourself out of it. Remember that most newbies are playing by themselves or with one other friend. You can’t talk about ‘flanking’ and ‘suppressive fire’ without explaining what those are.

Here’s a typical paragraph:

One of the basic strategies of paintball is to use a decoy and a flank. In this strategy, one player engages an opposing player, while another player flanks the opponent from another angle.

Tactics my friend, not strategy. Clueless individuals frequently mix these two and never realize that they are completely different animals. Strategy in paintball only comes into play at events and deals with your grand plan for the whole event. Tactics addresses individual moves, positioning, firing lanes, angles and etc.

Decoy? What the heck is a decoy? Are we setting rubber duckies up on the field? ‘Using a flank’. Is that like putting a (flank) steak on a black eye?

One player engages…while another player flanks. Yeah, ok, textbook. Except we still don’t know what a ‘flank’ is and we’re not entirely sure what ‘engage’ means. I suppose that an opponent would be seriously discommoded by a proposal of marriage on the field, but…

At the very least, our little book of tips is obviously not written for its target audience, the newbie.

Newbies – the way to avoid tunnel vision is to remember two things: the opposing player in front of you is the last player you need to worry about and, remember your driver’s ed class. Keep swiveling your head and constantly (CONSTANTLY!) survey the entire field. Look for shots to the left and right of your position, not for shots in front of you and, even when you are shooting at a target, KEEP SURVEYING THE ENTIRE FIELD.

(Pretty simple, huh? One paragraph of no-nonsense, simple and straightforward advice that relates to things newbies are already familiar with.

No, the rest of the book does not cover the other two cardinal newbie sins, other than seeming to suggest that you ought to be running straight down the field at all times. The other chapters include ‘laning’, getting a good tank (cause a nitrogen tank makes your gun more accurate – ANY gun, apparently, regardless of manufacturer suggestions), having a positive attitude and – who cares anymore?

I do, because the information presented by both the book and the website give a completely false impression of just about every aspect of the game. My publishing efforts have been directed towards trying to grow paintball, this one seems designed to turn clueless people off.

(Hey, let’s have a paintball tournament! Here’s the Guru’s tips for running an event – play capture the flag. That’s it. That’s the long and the short of it, and just one of many similar examples.)

I’d be laughing at this joke if it weren’t so potentially damaging to a new player’s introduction to the game.

I can just see some poor newbie arriving for his first game and saying to a ref “I’m not playing if you put me on a team of farmers”

MINUS 4 Stars on this one folks. Give it a wide pass – like avoiding NYC by way of London, ok?

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