Don't be scared of the snake
by Young Choi
|One big mo fo bunker|
There is only one bunker on the Air ball field that one could start at their thirty and end up on their opposition’s thirty all while wreaking havoc. That bunker is the snake. There is no other bunker that (if used correctly) a player can eliminate the whole opposition. The snake is the most intimidating bunker on the field. Many teams freak out when one of their members cries out “snake is hot!” There is just no way to tell where someone may pop up and snap you out if you do not have a teammate properly covering the snake.
Over the years I have seen the snake very poorly played. At times I wonder if people even know what it is used for. I’m what you would call a frustrated spectator. I hate watching teammates and friends play cuz sometimes they just drive me nuts when they do something stupid. And I get frustrated a lot unfortunately.
Well by the end of this article, hopefully my tips will give you a better idea on how to play the dreaded snake bunker to its max efficiency.
You will want to get the proper protective gear. Everyone should, but the snake runner more so. It is a good idea to have knee and elbow/forearm pads. That ground might look soft, but trust me when you start crawling around that ground can be worse than concrete. Redz Comfort Gear, Dye, and Proto make great protective gear.
|Be patient and play smart|
Now don’t be one of these guys that run into the snake and die stupid by trying to come out into a stream of paintballs and dying stupid. I have seen one too many times where a snake runner will dive into the snake, crawl up, and for some stupid reason or another decide that they can snap-shoot into a kamikaze tirade of paintballs. The key is to live in the snake and take your shots when the opportunity arises. While in the snake, you have the whole length of it to make an educated guess as to who is shooting at you and from which angle. You can do this by listening to the pitch and angle of paintballs bouncing off of the bunker. You can also do this by hearing your opposition’s voices.
|Find your mark and get that armband|
To be effective in the snake and make your shots count, one key is to mark your snap-shot during your field walk. You can use any point of reference. It could be a certain pole that is holding up the netting, a stitch in the bunker seam, a banner that is hung up, a tree, I’m sure you all got my point. During the field walk, get in there and figure out where your marks will be so that you don’t have to stick your head out to look for where you will be aiming during the game. If you are all set and pre-aimed at a target without visually seeing it during play, all the more for you to be able to come up and snap out and get back in with an armband trophy.
|Protect your snake-runner|
The other key is to stay alive. Move up and down the snake as much as possible. Distract your opposition and force more of them to cover you. The more of the opposition that spends their time looking at you the better for your teammates. Don’t come out if paint is being dumped on you. If you notice that more than one gun is on you then just lay there and keep your ears open for an opportunity. The moral here, draw as many guns upon you as you can to distract the opposition as much as possible. But do so smartly. Communication with your back guy is very important. If a back is playing behind a snake-runner that back is in man-protect mode. The back’s main job is to make sure that the lane is taken and that the mirror can’t come out to shoot. The back player’s other duties are to communicate with his snake-runner and to tell him/her when it is safe to advance up the snake. And back guy, don’t let your snake-runner get bunkered. Communication and a steady stream of paint on anything that can endanger the snake-runner is the job of the back player that is man-protecting the snake-runner.
|It's a long way to the end|
The snake-runner and back player should constantly drill and practice together. On the team these two players should always play the snake side. It doesn’t do any good to have two players that don’t play the snake side play in it during a tournament. During drills you should have the mid-insert player play the snake also. There may be times that the primary snake-runner will not make it into the bunker. The back player will also have to be able to play the snake. There may come a field setup where the back player (mid-insert player also) will have to get in the snake to close the game out.
Well that’s all for now. Post your questions or comments and I’ll try to stay on top of things.