Best advice I can give a new player (Parent)
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". :D
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:confused:
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.
well, i'm nigh on 20 now (couple months to go) living at home with my father, and have a younger brother (12) who wants to play.
the best advice i can give to parents, get involved with the scene or someone at least somewhat familiar with it before going out with your child.
going to a field on 'new players night' (most fields will have one at least once a month) will help. be sure to learn all you can.
other good advice, as stated above, avoid those who have all the latest gear, they are not as liable to be helpful as the guy in his late 20's who is sporting the beat up but well cared for gear. every time i go to a field, as an experienced player, i try to align myself with other players who share a similar mentality.
my parents never supported me taking part in any 'violent' sports, i wasn;t able to shoot archery until i bought my own bow, was never allowed to do martial arts unless i was the one paying for classes and when i wanted to play paintball, i was told flat out "NO".
i cannot stress how important it is to support your kid's interests in this case, they have to show a willingness to help out and be responsable, but they really do need to be supported in some fashion (taking one for the team)
blackrain, Thanks for the write-up, well put.
I am looking to introduce a friend’s kids into paintball, and I agree, if you do not trust the kid unsupervised with other people (a whole range of ages, not just other people their age) then they are not old enough to be on the field unsupervised.
Gun safety must be fully understood. Paintball guns are not true fire-arms, but they can be just as dangerous; if the child can not keep their finger off the trigger when the game is not in action then they should not have their finger near the trigger.
Blackrain well written I would only add that the gun safety is paramount this is the foundation everything will be based on. Parents also remember this is a sport and it is fun encourage this "sportsmanship" and not win at all costs. Parents Like was stated above humble your children help them buy what they need not necessarily what they want a good reliable tippman may not keep up with a Ion but the skills they learn with acceptable gear will pay dividends later. Last dont fall into the "I have to have this" trap let them master what they have first then if the wanted item can be shown to improve then let them purchase it. Get out there and play with them we need more old targ....err folks playing!
That write up rocked the house Blackrain!
I especially liked the part you put in about the grades!
Well made post!
A couple of additions.
A parent could go to a local pro shop and do some research. Most shops will take the time to educate a p[arent in hopes of future sales. Ask in depth questions about eye protection and paintball gun maintenance.
A parent can ask the local field owner for a "mentor/tutor" kind of person. Most field owners know an experienced player or 10 that would be willing to take a new player under his/her wing and get them properly introduced to the sport. Dont just drop them off trusting their judgement until you are comfortable. Most parents are encouraged to stay and watch, most fields will loan out rental goggles so they can go see what it is all about, and maybe even play themselves. As a parent, it would be benficial to go and try it for yourself, to have a better understanding of what it is like and the risks involved. There are too many parents just buying equipment and dumping the kids off so they have an afternoon by themselves, then wonder why they got hurt or in trouble. Many kids play in their own back lots or woods. Parents should be well aware of exactly where they are playing, how they get there, and if it is legal for them to be playing at that location. And if they are playing outlaw, they should have at least one adult just watching for saftey concerns, I.E. wearing masks and proper barrel locking devices being used at ALL times.
If you are a teenager wanting to play ball, do research, and involve your parents in the process. Educate them as to how SAFE it is, and explain to them how you will be responsible while playing. Work extra chores for paintball money, and respect their wishes on how and when to play.
If you have the time/will to do so, go play with them once or twice. My dad was skeptical of all the time I spend on these forums and paintballing, until he came with me. He had the time of his life, and now wants to come along again.
Let's hear somemore parent
Come on I know there are a few parents out there and players that can give advice.:D
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.
When I was a kid, years ago, I think the only mistakes I made getting into paintball was the lack of knowledge about the guns. If you are going to get a gun for your kid, make sure it is:
Dependable, meaning you wont spend an arm and a leg paying the local shop to fix it all summer. Tippmann model 98 is my vote, I've had one for 6-8 years and replaced the $12 seal kit once, nothing else done to fix it, and it works well everytime.
Resaleable, meaning that if your 12 year old decides that next month he/she wants to be a hockey player or whatever, the gun could get you some money in resale. How to avoid this? Don't buy a platic gun, at least not in my opinion. Metal always sells better. If you are worried about this, make them rent a few times first to see that they will stick with it.
Safe, meaning that most entry level markers also come in a kit for less than $100 more that includes a mask and a barrel condom/sleve.
Also, train your kid to keep their mask on when the referee says to, and the barrel condom/sleeve on when the ref says to. Biggest and most annoying mistake that young kids make at my local fields is taking their mask off when they aren't supposed to. Repeat this to them "keep your mask on, listen to the refs" as much as you would say "put on sunscreen" when they go to the beach. Dying of skin cancer is a ton less likely in my opinion than getting shot in the eye with a ball at 250 - 285 feet per second. It hurts and can kill, but if you LISTEN to the refs and experienced players, it NEVER will happen.
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