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Dusty's Route-Map to Becoming a Better Player .....


Owner of this website
Jul 5, 2001
TRAINING - A Route-Map to Success ….. By Jim Montgomery [Dusty].

I asked Jim [Dusty] to write an article on how best to train with the ultimate goal of producing a significant improvement in how you play.
I wasn't disappointed - he seems to have nailed every aspect of what you must do to secure that personal/team improvement.

His article is a blueprint for success and if you are truly serious about wanting to improve, then you need to read Jim's article below.
It really is a comprehensive assault on how to become a better player for yourself and for your team … ignore this at your peril, it's a must for all aspiring ballers.
He's been in this game for decades, and knows what he's talking about - he's well-respected in our industry and articulate, and certainly someone your guys should listen to.
Over to you Dusty:-


Firstly, this is not about paintballing techniques. It’s about training and how to do it better, more efficiently.
I’ve been coaching for nigh on 20 years now and in that time I’ve learned a lot about people. Some people learn by reading, some by doing, some by seeing and everyone learns differently. Thing about paintball though, you’ve kinda gotta do it…..
One thing is constant though, training sessions no matter what you’re training in, all suffer the same issues.
Wasting time at the wrong times, not focusing on fundamental techniques, doing too much of the fun stuff. No one wants to grind and suffer, of course they don’t but there are ways to make the grind and suffering at least a little bit more engaging. Everyone wants to be a hero and grab all the mugging runs even if they couldn’t hit a bus while running and shooting because they never bothered to practice.
Being specific to paintball, does any of the following sound familiar?
Same people setting up every time/Same people clearing up every time

Turning up late/leaving early/last minute no shows
Standing around chatting, talking sh*te.
Playing lots of games all day long or people avoiding drills
Some people running out of paint early
Markers, not working, loaders not working, no tools, no fluffy stick, no batteries?
Coffee/lunch breaks dragging out for an hour?
200 balls to chrono a marker, people shooting fence posts, netting, bushes, empty boxes?

The problem with paintball is that it’s a game. Don’t try to tell me otherwise, it’s a pastime not a sport. People play for fun, because they want to enjoy it, feel that buzz they get from playing games so it’s easy to forget that a training session is intended to make you a better player and a better team. If you become a better player you’ll enjoy it more because you’ll be winning. Winning is better than losing, it’s definitely more fun so why wouldn’t you want to do it more?
To win more you’ve got to train BETTER than the guys you’re playing against.
Structure your sessions, make them consistent and have set goals to achieve. This week for example start with individual skills. So, accuracy, snap shooting, running and gunning, movement, lane-shooting, diving, sliding, dodging.


Next week, team skills.

For example working as pairs and trios, against less or more opponents. 3v2,4v3, 4v2 but know what you’re trying to achieve. 4 should NEVER lose against 2, agreed? If this is actually happening, you’ve got to figure out why and fix it.
Every training session has to have a purpose, don’t just rock up and wing it. This is where you NEED a coach or at least one person trying to analyse the gaps in your team’s skill set. Identify what you’re lacking in and try to come up with ways to improve it.
A structured day can help your team. Have the same structure every time you turn up to train then everyone knows what they should be doing.

Punish people who are late without a valid reason, we’re all grown ups and should act and be treated as such. Someone turned up hungover and puking in the corner? Guess who’s clearing the paint boxes up. Someone late because they stopped for a fry up without bringing everyone elses? Guess who is doing extra hill sprints.
Someone is late because they were working that morning? Hey, they still made the effort to come. Someone’s late because they were up with a sick child through the night? Give that person a break, make them a coffee.
Someone leaving early to avoid cleaning up? Or because they’re working the night shift……
Team captains, step up. Deal with it accordingly. There will be a certain amount of people management required at times however that’s a story for another day…..
Set up – field. Who? Everyone.
Paint should be podded up and stored properly, carefully. Who? Everyone.

Markers chronoed. Who? Everyone. 20 balls max, you don’t need to waste a hopper. If the gun is sitting around 280, good enough for training.
Warm up – important for fitness, preventing injury and improving strength, endurance and flexibility. Key parts of playing paintball. Who? Everyone.
Run, press ups, jumping jacks, light stretching. 20 minutes.

Take a 2 minute water break.
Part one of your day.
Explain whatever drill you’re about to do and why. This is going to be an example.
First ball accuracy. Why? If the first one isn’t on target, the rest behind it won’t be either. Everyone has to shoot their first ball at some point in the game so you’ve got to put it in the right place. No point just randomly firing paint hoping to hit someone.

Start with a jerry can sized target halfway up the field. One ball from start/breakout position, hit, move to next target, miss, go to the back of the line and do 10 press ups then try again. No f*cking about at this stage, just get to it. Chat while you’re waiting in line but when it’s your turn, get to it.
If you’ve hit the target you can either have a similar sized target further away or a smaller target at the same distance. Repeat with 3 different distances/decreasing sized targets. You need to run it both sides too, so this can be done simultaneously. Get as many people doing something at the same time as possible.

Benefits, it uses very little paint, offers up a bit of competition between players, forces you to concentrate and will improve your first ball accuracy after enough practice. Run this so each player is hitting each target 10 times then get ready to put it into practice.
Put it into practice. Split your team in half, one half are runners, one half are shooters. Pick a bunker the runners have to make, make the

shooters hit them before they get there. Make sure everyone has a go at shooting left and right, and everyone gets a go at running left and right. Again you can run this both sides simultaneously so do that and rotate. Get as many people working and moving as you can at once. Efficient use of your limited field time.
If you make the shot, no press ups, if not 10 press ups. Same for runners, if they make the bunker, no press ups, if not guess what? Press ups are great for paintball, the more tired your arms are the harder the later drills become J
That’s one drill for you, so we have the point of it, how to practice it, seeing it in use and knowing where you need to improve. It’s important to know both sides of the coin. Runners need to know what back players find difficult, all knowledge is good. Back players need to know how to make life difficult for runners.
Now let’s look back a bit, what did we cover from the list of individual skills without having to work too hard to plan it?
Here’s the list with parts we covered underlined.


Accuracy, Snap Shooting, Running and Gunning, Movement, Lane-Shooting, Diving, Sliding, Dodging.
Make your drills multi use. If you can cover more than one skill that’s good, it means you’ll be repeating it later. The harder you work, the luckier you get!!
All drills should follow this format of practice, put to use.

So moving on, another drill, another practice run, repeat as necessary. Say running and gunning, create a practice drill which allows you to practice the skill, set a measureable target (are you hitting it, yes/no) and put a process in place to improve either way. So, running and shooting against a target, if you’re hitting it, move it further, make it smaller, hit it more. If you’re not hitting it, why not? Analyse technique, fix the problem, repeat the drill. Repeat that process until improvement shows.

Again, look at what skills you are covering, accuracy, movement, running and shooting, all the while building fitness and stamina.
Let’s say everyone is awesome and brilliant and we are all happy with the level of skill we have attained using both hands, how do we make things more difficult? Try shooting at the person doing the drill. Racing against someone else doing the same drill. Shooting at someone else doing the same drill who’s shooting back at you. There’s always a way to ramp it up.
Take a quick air and paint break, 10 minutes, strictly 10 minutes max to air up, clean up, pod up, grab a drink.

Play a quick game to keep you motivated but try to use what you’ve practiced that morning.
When you’ve got to that time you normally take a break make it sharpish. Sort your kit first, then eat and rest.
Air up, pod up, clean up, rest, eat and drink. 30 minutes max.

Now you’ve sat down and cooled down, another 10 minute warm up and stretch.
Pick your next drill and follow the format above. Practice, put into use. Repeat this until you’re low on paint or motivation but leave enough paint for a few games at the end of the session.
Now, I know I said you’re not there to play games but that’s no fun. Finish off with a couple of games by all means, even if it’s only 1v1 or 2v2. If you can play full on 5v5 that’s great, crack on but don’t leave anyone out. Make it a pod and a hopper, or hopper only.

Make sure EVERYONE gets to have a bit of fun at the end of the day.
This is another point of TEAM training. You play as a team, you pay as a team. Spread your paint out, split the cost evenly. It’s not fair to expect back players to pay for 2 boxes and front guys to get away with 500 balls all day. Front guys will tell you they shouldn’t have to pay for paint they ain’t shooting but if that’s they shouldn’t be on your squad and we are back to people management which is another topic altogether.

Clean up together, leave your training area the way you’d like to find it and the site owner will be more than grateful and more likely to be accommodating to you in future.
And yes, I’m available to run coaching sessions but no you really won’t like them and you really won’t like me by the time I’m done. They’d make you better though…….
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