The inspiration for this article comes from some field experiences having stepped once again into the role of field referee recently. Over the years there is little I have not done in paintball with everything from clinics for young people, organizing and implementing events and yes, even reffing games. Want to own a truly successful paintball field? There are so many aspects that lead to a successful field operation. Part of the key, the recipe for success completely hinges on customer service. If a customer appears at the field and that operation meets all the criteria on everything from pricing, field layout to customer service, the likelihood of a repeat customer increases ten fold. Obviously the most important task for the field referee is not only safety but to insure that the people you are overseeing have a fantastic time. That same customer will tell a friend and so on and so on resulting in the snow ball effect.
The true ambassador/customer service representative for any field is in fact your field referee. That individual that leads groups on to the field to get a game going. The individual that keeps an eye out for safety, starts games and ends them with the sound of a whistle and helps keep people organized and the day running smoothly. If you are able to get someone into this role who has real expertise in the area of paintball AND is a people person, you just hit gold!
I do believe that the hiring of good referee staff is crucial to real success. Someone who truly understands the role and its importance certainly helps a business build. The following are a set of points that I personally do when reffing walk on or general recreational players.
- Be very clear and concise when going over the rules to include 1. Mask on at all times 2. Barrel Sleeves on in the staging area 3. 10 foot mercy rule 4. Chronographing markers to 280 fps 5. No blind firing 6. If hit raise the marker in the air and let everyone know as loudly as possible 7. How to do paint checks and making sure the paint breaks on their person before calling out 8. I also go over a standard rental marker and how to re cock the mechanism and where the safety switch is located and additional notes on how to read an HPA reg
- Keep the day moving, allow people 5-10 minutes to re load and gas up before leading the group back out on the field. The more paintballs that are spent, the more are purchased which equals $$$
- Interact with the group, listen to them, see what they want to do and pay close attention to their wants and needs
- Arm your field official with a pile of microfiber cloths (I generally have 6 or so handy), again if you are able to keep people on the field longer, all the better. Rather than see a group head all the way back to the staging area to clean up, take a microfiber and wipe off their mask or have them do it. This saves time and people are grateful you saved them what sometimes can amount to a long walk to the staging area.
- Remember to constantly remind the walk ons to check their regs and give them a fill if they are approaching 1500 on the HPA tank as a minimum, many are new to the game and will need reminding
- Make strong decisive calls and stick by them, leave controversy or dispute until after the match. Maintain control at all times, real problem players can be removed. In serious circumstances, call the game over and then focus on dealing with the problem swiftly, in some circumstances involve the field owner for the final call.
- Call people out that are hit and then go above and beyond to help eliminated customers off of the area in play without being hit even more if possible (yes be prepared to get shot in this process) This rule also applies to expeditious paint checks
- Constantly scan and be aware of your surroundings not only making calls on the field but instructing eliminated players to put their barrel sleeve on and to keep the mask on their face until clear of the playing area.
Following some of these simple rules above … if implemented correctly certainly will help in any daily field operation. The key to success is to have people in place that know their role and do it well so be selective and try to get the right person in place … in the long run it will pay off.
If your a paintball referee and on the front lines helping our sport grow, sound off about the good things you do at your field below!