XBall 101


The modern game of paintball. Hello fans, readers and of course fellow ballers! Are you new to the game of XBall and looking to get a shortcut to XBall understanding and better game knowledge? Or are you a long time player that cant get past a skill plateau? Or are you just a one dimensional paintball player who is looking to learn more and bring their game to the next level? For all of you, I’ve decided to re-write the paintball tips and tricks section into “XBall 101″, the first handwritten set of rules and explanations to the mindset and formula that is playing upper division XBall. If your fresh off the recball field, or out of the woods, this will help you grasp the version of paintball your about to come into. Even if you’ve already played XBall since it came out almost a decade ago, you can still learn something here and there from these articles as well! I’m going to give you an inside look into how a typical d1 or pro player thinks about certain situations and how they handle them most effectively. If you think you already know everything I’m going to write, this probably isn’t for you, but relax for a few and read on, and you may find something that supports your own logic, or surprises you!

These articles will be coming out in an order that gives the reader a best understanding of them. This means I’ll cover basic things and easy concepts first, and move onto harder ones as I go, so you understand all the easy concepts before I build on them and elaborate. I will start with “The Basics” and move on after this article to actual positions and the best way to play them such as snake front, d front,

Snake insert, Mid, and Back playing.

There are a couple very important basics you should know right off the bat when your coming into XBall. Now I’m not talking about basics like how to hold a paintball gun, walk the trigger, shoot and reload, dive or slide, etc. I’m talking about things you should already be comfortable with in order to play the fast paced, continuing, sport like version of paintball that is XBall. XBall is paintball, only played for a certain amount of time, or now with new psp rules played to a certain number of points. (real XBall is like CXBL, AXBL rules, and old NXL rules. 1 hour of game time, 2 halves. as many points as you can score in that time). Current XBall is called “race 2 format” and is basically the lite version to keep games closer and more exciting, and eliminate all of the 20-0 hour long beatings. Anyway, in order to play the fast aggressive sport we play, and play it for 20 min. to a half hour long at our best, we should know how to spot and perfect these basics of the XBall format. Laning/Zoning, Dominating, being an “XBall player”, and the 3 A’s. No I’m not talking about that Thursday night club some of us go to for our drinking problems. I mean you must know your field awareness, body awareness and situational awareness.

1. The very first basic important to any paintball, but very important to XBall is firm gun form, and gun skills. In order to play XBall, because of all the jobs each player has, you don’t necessarily have to have the best gun skills or snap fighting ability. In order to perform your job well, and lane well, and stay consistent with doing it point after point, you will want to have solid gun form which will help you have more then a good point, but a good match, and keep more of your stamina for use during points. Make sure you always start off by comfortably shouldering your marker so that the tank is stuck in the niche created by your shoulder, collar bone, and neck all meeting. From here you should be able to see straight down the barrel with your outside eye without having to bend your head forward to meet the sight, or strain your neck. Your firing hands arm should be straight down, against the tank, at a 90 degree angle so it doesn’t get shot in the elbow. Your reg holding hand should be 45 degree angle toward the ground or less. Holding it straight out is called a “chicken wing” as that’s what it looks like, this blocks your peripheral vision from that whole side of the field, and slows down your ability to snap back into a bunker and dodge paint. The tighter you hold your gun, the less kick. So if you have good firm gun form, your break shooting and lanes will be more accurate, and you will be able to zone up on them comfortably for a lot longer.

2nd. Laning/Zoning. Every XBall field has a few crucial zones to think about. some players just pick random 5 bunkers, go to those spots and gun fight every target they see, even multiple targets at once! this is stupid, because its risky. every gun fight you get into is about 50/50 chance of dying out of your bunker, which is a mistake you wont want to make in the key spot or in a national event. instead of fighting all the time, simply lane spots further up the field then the front player, or lane before the widest person outside, so they don’t get completely wide, or to the tape bunkers, like corners and such. You probably know already of the down field lane from the back center bunker, were you shoot down field for either sides corner or front player. There is also down field lanes from each side of the field, such as a snake fill player shooting past his mirror. There are tape lanes like down the snake tape. and there are cross field lanes like ones from center field towers and such across to the other side (best when done from snake side shooting at d side, due to gaps between bunkers. shooting cross field at the snake gains you nothing if there front player is already in. You are not stopping his forward progression). Master these zones, and work on your laning, dominance and ability to commit to one side and trust your teammates on the other, and your games will surely become quicker, and you will win with more bodies alive. this I can assure you.

By Joe Barrett
Buffalo Bulls Paintball Team
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