This is something that is over looked by many. So Parents here I go.
I'd like to start off by saying that paintball is a safe sport. It's a lot safer than others.
As a parent myself of a child that Plays football, Wrestles,Soccer and anything else he can get into,worries me. So I feel your pain when your child asks can he/she play paintball. I also know the worries of sports.
I am often asked by kids how they can get their parents to let them play.
First thing parents see is a "GUN". No matter what you call it,it is still a gun. "GUN SAFETY" is the first most important thing!
So How bad does your child really want to play? Is He/She ready to sit thru a local gun safety class? Are they diciplined enough? If your answer is "no or I don't know" then stop right here and forget they ever asked. Don't even finish reading this post.
Reason being,cause you don't know your child well enough,that they may take the paintball gun out when you aren't around and shoot up the neighborhood or a passer by.
About my child and gun safety.
Well he was taught young. At 6yrs(under my supervision) he shot his first AK-47,AR-15,and SKS(with my assistance). At 2 yrs he shot his first paintball gun. He is now 17 yrs and still well diciplined with Guns and safety. Yes I can trust him at home when he is by himself.
So that clears the air about guns and my son.
So if your child is willing to do the gun safety thing,then he's willing to take the next step. You should commit to the same.
1- The gun safety class is out of the way.
2- You too have joined the class to make yourself feel better.
Now it's time to play. You really have to back your child on this. Sometimes it means playing with them. The sesitivity guard has to be dropped once in a while.
Research the local field and prices. Ask fellow workers if they play or ever played. Make sure your child gets in a beginners group. That is the most important. You don't want their first day to be their last cause some person decided to use them as cannon fodder.
The internet is also a valuable tool. You come to great places like this and read great post like this
I also see alot of single MOMs show up with their kids. They are lost and afraid for their child.
That's when seasoned players should step up to help. Reasure them their child will be safe. Take one for the team and help the kid out.Any field owner worth their weight in salt should be able to help aswell.
Avoid the people that dress in all the "Pro Stuff" with high priced paintball guns,cause usually 99% are full of crap. They recommend the most expensive stuff. Personally a marker from walmart ie a Tippmann or Spyder will due. Head grear/eye protection, JT or other quality protective gear. You don't want to pinch a penny when it comes to eye protection. This is where your money should be well spent. They shouldn't even be at this level till they have shown you the commitment they really want to play.
But Wait their is more."Do not buy the child any gear,marker or paintballs" Use the field rental stuff. Kids change their minds very fast. So don't loose out either. Make them earn the money to play ie wash your car,cut the grass,give them hard chores.
The last thing I would suggest is make them educate you on paintball as well. I would suggest them having a Power Point presentation ready for Friday night. Make them show you how safe it is and what gear is out their. They do teach power point in school. Make them show you what they have learned while researching paintball. You don't want to see high end,make them show you the facts about paintball.
Last but not least if they don't get good grades "NO PASS NO PLAY".
I require my son to hold an A/B average in all subjects or I bench him. Nothing like being at home studying when you should be playing in the big Home Coming game.Oops
Parents your child needs to know that you back he/she in this venture. Show some support and "Take one for the team" and play with them.
Alright guys and gals who are parents,please add to this. I know I have missed a few things. I know not all my ideas will be agreed upon,but I didn't write this for debate. I wrote it for parents who are not familiar with paintball. So add constructive reading to this.
21 Oct 06
As mentioned in post below. Research with local paintball stores. Look at it this way. If an owner recommends a high dollar starter kit,or says this is the best it's what he needs, then leave. That shop is only after your money. The most expensive item you should pay for is EYE PROTECTION. If the shop owner recommends a nice starter package probably ranging $250.00 to $350.00 (that includes everything) then they are worth talking to. It's what I call bait for a later date,but he is looking out for your wallet and wants you as a future customer. He may even offer a limited time repair for free. May accept the marker as a trade in on upgrade marker. May even sell you a nice USED starter package. It may be a starter marker that has been thru a few customers,but it is well maintained. If he is willing to take the time with you and explain the levels of price,then stick with him/her. If there are teenagers running the shop,think twice.Me personally I would never buy from a place that the owner left in the hands of a teenager. Unless alot of maturity is shown.That's me though. I usually like to play stupid and walk into a shop that I have never been into and test them as saying I'm a new player. See how they handle me. What they offer me. How fast they are trying to empty my wallet. If not,then we talk about how long I've really been playing and I buy from them. That's just me and my ways. So hope this helps a little too.