Friday, May 29, 2009

Xball: Gunning & Running

Aight, Sunshine, it's that time again. (What time is that, you ask?) The time when I take all your hopes and dreams and dash them on the rocks of hard work and practice. Unlike Allen Iverson you need all you can get.

But before we get started I'm gonna tell you a story. (See, I can be nice, too.) Many moons ago I was a gym rat, working out 5 days a week, powerlifting and for the simple pleasure of it. One of the things the regulars always enjoyed was the response of most new guys coming in and being given a rudimentary workout. Usually, after a half hour or forty-five minutes they were exhausted and kind of proud of themselves for enduring such a brutal workout. It was with great satisfaction that we then got to tell them that for at least the first three months their workouts were designed to prepare them for real workouts.
There are two points to that story. One, chances are you ain't nearly as good as you think you are because you have a largely untrained conception of what "good" is. And, Two, learning the fundamentals is what prepares you to become a player, not what makes you a player.

Did you notice anything odd about the title of this post? That isn't a mistake. If you are not proficient at the gunning part of running & gunning you might as well be a soccer player. This week's How-To focuses on the basics of learning to Gun & Run.
Functionally you need to be able to run laterally (side to side) and upfield (end to end) in both directions. This means you also need to be able to run & shoot with either hand and also be proficient at switching hands while running.
The basis for all those elements is the shooting platform; how you hold your gun. The fundamental doesn't change just because you are moving (and your gun may swing through a wider range than normal.) Many of the how-to videos cover this (and generally do so with reasonable precision) so all I will say at this point is that the two keys are a fixed base and a dominant guide hand. A fixed base is a firmly planted tank approx. in the area where the collar bone meets the shoulder. And a dominant guide hand should be the hand on the grip frame (or thereabouts.) So it isn't enough to be able to pull a trigger with either hand.

The next step is beginning to develop accuracy while moving. (This is where gun & run comes into effect.) It does no good to be lightning quick if you can't hit what you are shooting at. There are a couple of tricks that should prove helpful. Slow and steady. Always make sure your paint is on target as you attempt to move faster and faster. As soon as you lose accuracy, slow down. Only go as fast as you can accurately shoot. The speed will come in time. You can also try the heel and toe technique. Short steps planting the heel first--but softly--and let the lead foot plant gently. It is standard combat shooter technique which may prove useful for some players as they gain running & gunning proficiency.

Running & Gunning can also be further broken down in OTB, in game movement and making a bunkering run.
Ponder that awhile, Sunshine, and next time we'll go over a few of the drills that will help you at least look like you know what you're doing.


Mike said...

I really like these Xball Skills posts.

Keep 'em coming. :)

sdawg said...

I have a question for you. How does one practice all these skills when most paintball fields are only open on weekends? For the majority of other sports, you can go out and practice almost anytime any day of the week.

Baca Loco said...

That does make it harder and there aren't any easy answers. But all of the answers usually boil down to relationships. The more you build, the better off you will be. Either as a team or as a player make the effort to get to know the owners of your local fields and volunteer to make yourself useful. That's usually Step 1. As you develop those relationships and (hopefully) demonstrate you are reliable and responsible more opportunities may come your way--like being able to use a field during non-business hours, for instance. Or after the closing up for the day Saturday but before the sun goes down. Back in the day we would ref while the site was open and practice after everyone else was gone.

SSRoman said...

we talking about practice. nota nota game, we talking about practice.