Here's the set-up. 1) Honest question: [a] Will someone please tell me what the skill is when moving under higher rates of fire? [b] Is there some talent or skill players develop to get through tighter lanes of paint? [c] Isn't the whole point of the 'lane' of paint that a player CAN'T get through it?
The answer to [b] first: yes and no. The skill is in learning how to get through a controlled gap (a lane of paint) and then successfully and routinely executing, not in how to magically dodge 13 bps (which isn't what happens most of the time). You might be surprised to learn how many ways there are. [c]: No, the whole point is to try and contain/control movement in order to gain a positional advantage and this concept is a team concept not an individual player concept. [a]: it isn't a single skill, it is a diverse group of abilities; it's vision, it's timing, it's coordinated action, it's often running & shooting, it's body awareness [where you are in relation to where peeps can kill you], it's planning and preparation, it's physical tools including raw speed. There are a couple others but hopefully you get the idea. It's a rather complex interplay of game playing elements that in combinations allows movement through a zone the opposition is trying to control.
Here's the big picture answer–and the reason why ROF is important to the game play. ROF is the principle modifier of Movement. A few years ago, during the transition to semi-auto field rentals from pumps, we were playing some after hours paintball with the soon to be obsolete (then) pumps. We were playing approx. 5 on 5 on the speedball field which was mostly barrels and crossed plywood. Before one game it occurred to us that the pumps weren't capable, on that field, of containing our movement particularly if the other team played as if we all had semi-autos. The predictable result was that we ran them off the field in seconds. The proximity created by the dimensions of the modern xball field require a counterbalancing ROF in order to retain the game's complexity. Even with the old 15 bps and sideline coaches good players are still able to move and run down their opponents. If, for example, you put the pro ROF at 8 bps on a standard field layout the result would, in short order, be a brutal game of train wreck points because the ROF wouldn't be able to control movement versus the skill level of the players. The fact that pro players are capable of moving when confronted by high ROF is one of the defining characteristics of the current game. From my point of view, the ideal ROF for purposes of game play is one or two notches below being able to control the movement of the best teams. (And incidentally the reason why graduated ROF doesn't bother me at all. It should give developing players an opportunity to exercise the correct skill set with the correct priorities placed on the various demands of the game.)
When movement becomes too easy it loses value. In the modern format ROF makes movement meaningful. And meaningful movement is what makes all the great moves great.