There’s a TON of stuff you’ll need to learn before you will become an experienced player. Most of it you’ll pick up over the course of multiple days of play. And there’s no way that you can learn this stuff by listening to someone else tell you about it – paintball is a game that you have to DO in order to master.
But we can give you a short list of the basic skills you’ll need to learn.
1. Paintball is just as much about watching as it is about doing. Think about taking an opportunity to go out to a field where you can watch some game. Pay attention to how players move, shoot, communicate and organize their strategy.
2. The three basic skills that everything else in paintball are based on are:
Information gathering means things like figuring out where opponents are, analyzing the terrain for advantageous positions, knowing how many more opponents are on the field, how much longer the game will last, etc.
In the beginning, your information gathering should not consist of anything more than keeping your head on a swivel. Remember to look all around your position on a regular basis (every couple of minutes or so) – including looking behind you. Get into the habit.
Communication means talking with your teammates AND listening to what the other team is doing. Players use codes and paintball jargon to communicate valuable information (there’s an opponent behind a tree, the other team is retreating, etc) and a lot of it will probably be jibberish in the beginning. Don’t worry about it – just talk in plain language and make sure you talk. (It seems counter-intuitive to recommend talking when you are trying to hide, but years have play have proven that not knowing what’s going on is far worse than possibly revealing your position.) Ask the players around you what they see, what they are doing, etc., and make sure to answer back when you are asked the same.
Aggression is the tough one. There is a fine balance between being “properly aggressive” and “stupidly aggressive”. You’ll know when you step over the line because you’ll get shot. During your first few games, the only way for you to learn this is to pay attention to and use the other two basics (intelligence, communication) and try to see what you can get away with. As your experience increases, you’ll learn how to better gage your chances and odds and will continue to make better and better moves.