On-Field Training: Playing in the Rain
by Paul "P4" Katic
Former SD Aftermath, LA Ironmen Pro
No one can control the weather. Bad weather can hit at any time, especially for those of us living on the east coast. The rain clouds seem to hover over our heads just about everywhere we go. As with many other things, weather is uncontrollable. Preparation will help control and eliminate some of the major factors of rain affecting your paintball game play. Do you have questions about how pro players run so fast in the rain, and never seem to slip? In this article, we will go over what you can do to prepare yourself for rainy weather. Everything from what to wear, to how to slide.
Playing in the rain is very harsh. You can’t see a darn thing. Your trying to see the field in between a one-centimeter group of rain drops. Rain will build up on your goggles and limit your visibility juristically. If rain gets in contact with the inside of your goggle system, it causes a hazy film that you can barely see through. If that is the case then you might as well get out of the game go back to your pit and clean your goggle system. For this reason, it is important that you either wear a visor that attaches to your goggle system, hat or visor beanie. Basically anything that will cover the top of and keep water out of the inside of your goggle system will help your visibility by at least 50%. A goggle rag is an excellent investment. Not only does it wipe your goggles crystal clear, you can just wash it with your paintball gear and reuse it for months. Always keep your goggle rag in your pocket and wipe your lenses off right before the start of every game
Make sure you plan ahead and take care of your paintball gear. There is nothing worse than getting to the field in the morning when it’s all frosty out and having to put freezing cold wet gear on. Always make sure your gear is completely dry the night before you play. Personally, I like to wear underarmor, because it dries fast and doesn’t absorb water like a cotton shirt. Maintaining your equipment in the rain is also extremely important. After every game you play, you should take your barrel and hopper off and clean it and make sure everything is dry. Always avoid dragging your gun through a puddle of water/ mud. Paintballs/ Paintball markers are not designed to be submerged under water. Paintball guns are not designed like high tech Navy Seal guns. Some players like to tape the ports on the side of their barrel. Taping your barrel will help keep rain from entering your barrel thus theoretically making your marker more accurate. If you are going to tape your barrel, make sure you chronograph after taping it (note: Taping your barrel can increase your velocity anywhere from 10-25fps).
Good traction is extremely important in the rain, especially if you playing on turf or grass. It's like trying to walk on ice with shoes. Different shoes are designed for different terrains. A track player runs on hard packed dirt and has track cleats with small track spikes because if they used a shoe with big cleats, it wouldn’t dig into the dirt and give them as good traction. A soccer player runs on grass with shoes with bigger spikes on their shoes, because the grass gives more and rips out and the bigger spikes will grip even though the grass is giving out. Find out what terrain you are going to be playing on and acquire the right shoe for the terrain. Most tournament players are switching to athletic golf shoes when playing on turf, due to the fact that tournament circuits ban metal track spikes. Golf cleats grip very well, even in the rain because it has many little spikes coming out of each circular cleat. If you are playing on playing on woods fields, I would recommend a high top, football cleat because it’s very easy to sprain your ankle when walking/ running in the woods. Always put a new pair of socks on each day. Being comfortable helps you focus on your game, and less on distractions.
Strategies change in the rain. You will notice that teams will run further in the rain, because they know that paintball markers are less accurate in the rain so therefore there is less of a chance to get shot in the rain. During game play, one of the most important things you should know is that you can over slide your bunker by ten feet with ease. Make sure you know how early you need to slide in order to make your bunker without over extending myself. A secret of mine before I play a game in the rain, is to do a couple of test slides and mark where I am going to start sliding. Usually I make this mark with a little pile of paintballs. When the game starts, I know to run and slide exactly at my mark. That is how I make my bunker without over sliding it. Eliminating the risk of over sliding will instill very confidence in your game. As you eliminate these obstacles with preparation, all you have to worry about is playing your game. You won’t have to worry about over sliding your bunker or having bad traction on the field. Being confident in your equipment and yourself with boost your game play. Eliminating the risk of over sliding will instill confidence in your game.
Now the only thing left to do is get out there and try all these tips and tricks out yourself. Remember, playing in the rain can be dangerous. You can slip and fall, run into unknown objects, etc. If you are playing on a scenario field, you might want to slow down and not run around like crazy. It’s so hard to see through your goggles in the rain. You don’t want run into a tree and look like a fool in front of your buddies. Be prepared and know what you are getting yourself into when you’re about to play in the rain. Take the time to organize your gear bag. Do yourself a favor and throw a visor in your bag just incase it ever rains. Play hard, play smart and most importantly, be prepared!