I will drop in a few points for parents.
I was the parent of two boys who played paintball for a couple of years in their mid-teens. I made a lot of mistakes, spent way too much money and let my kids get in situations where they were abused by more experienced players.
The comments above about gun safety and eye protection are right on. Spend money on a great mask from the start, and make sure it's a good one for your kid. Go with your kids to the field and stay the day, at least until they have gotten some ideas about how to take care of themselves. You can play, too - it's a hoot.
Here are my don'ts:
Don't let your kids enter a tournament until they've played regularly for a couple of years and practiced on tournament style fields. Not even if the tournament organizers tell you it's fine and use words like "novice". The culture of teenagers playing paintball tourneys is vicious and your kids run a good chance of being ridiculed and tormented by twibby, agg metrosexuals who take delight in doing so.
Don't get into a pattern of buying a new gun for your kid everytime they get unhappy with the game. Don't start with a really expensive gun but also don't get a gun in a plastic display card from a wall display in Kmart either, you'll be unhappy with it very quickly. Start with a good blowback and a co2 tank, and when the kids have gotten some experience and want to do tourney stuff you can get them an entry level electro. My recommendations would be to start with a Tippmann A5, and then go to an electro costing less than $500 later (maybe an ION, but look around and ask questions on this forum). When you upgrade you'll need an agitated loader, compressed air bottles and maybe scuba tanks, at least $1000 for the upgrade, and it WILL NOT make your kid a good player. The kids need to develop their game enough to be competitive before going to tournaments, not think better guns will make them better players. More than 50% of being a good player has nothing to do with shooting others. If they absolutely insist on higher rate of fire get an RT kit put on their A5. It's not necessary, though. Remember that faster shooting guns can use more paint. Don't buy more than one box per player per day. It's expensive.
Don't start your kids with tournament style players, I recommend finding a place that has a good rec player program as well as tourney stuff. Check out how they run their games and make sure that they are separating out the two groups, and that the rec players group contains younger kids. See if they are providing at least two refs to manage this group. It's a good thing if the refs are older than the kids - they should be there to enforce the safety rules AND teach the game.
Find a paintball store where you are treated well, and not pressured to constantly buy more and better equipment. One of the big ones here is staffed by kids who are competitive players selling on commission and they don't like to take time to do minor repairs and explain stuff to noobs. (They're arrogant little bastids) I stopped going there and found a place that values customer service. By the way, according to a lot of stores you're a noob (Newbie) until you've spent a thousand dollars at their store. Then they will be a little nicer - but you'll really still be a newb. If you're sure what you want, think about buying from Ebay for better prices, but check feedback.
A good rule of thumb is that a player is pretty clueless for the first 5 - 10 days they play, and after 20 or so they are getting to where they are understanding what is going on around them, and not making really dumb mistakes. Starting to play by going with others who have experience is a really good idea. It will speed up the learning curve.
Get a tool box and bring orings, batteries, screws, and basic tools and parts with you to the field. If you think you can, take your gun apart and put it back together on the kitchen table so you know how. Buy a second co2 tank and bring it. If you only have one gun and it breaks, you're done playing for the day unless you can fix the gun or you are willing to spend money renting old equipment from the field. Renting sucks - be able to fix your own stuff.
All in all, treat paintball like a team sport and try to play with people who are there to have fun. It's like any other sport, the really competitive folks can be very unpleasant.
Have a great time. I started with my kids and I still play long after they've quit. Try it yourself - you don't have to be athletic or in good shape to have fun.
Scourge of the Spaceways
Last edited by Wharf Rat; 02-23-2007 at 10:18 AM.