Monday, May 11, 2009

Xball: Laning Off The Break 2

In part one of laning OTB we (and when I say we, I mean I) covered the core training concepts of first ball, fast ball and team ball. These form the foundation of your future ability to successfully lane off the break, Sunshine, so if you missed them go back and start over again. There's no point in skipping ahead. If your foundation is flawed it will effect everything you build on top of it.

This time around I'm crossing my fingers and hoping for the best (contrary to prior experience) and increasing the level of complexity while narrowing the margin for error. Scared, Sunshine? You're gonna need a high tolerance for frustration because it isn't going to get easier, it's getting harder. Listen up, Sunshine--no gun throwing, no heaving your goggles and definitely no crying so be ready to tell your teammates it's just sweat, maybe even a little blood, but not tears. (That goes for you too, girls.)

This time we're going to take a more in depth look at player positioning otb, stationary laning and living and lastly, maintaining an effective lane on the move. But first I want to take a moment to explain why these are the follow-up elements you should focus on. Part One focused primarily on the individual techniques involved and began touching on how that is incorporated in a team scheme. Part Two picks up where One left off and focuses on how to implement those techniques--and additional skills--within the first 5 seconds (or so) of the breakout. (A) Player positioning goes into more depth on how to set-up and take covered positions while laning otb. (B) Stationary laning is kind of a misnomer as what I mean is an extension of player positioning; the act of laning while moving into a covered position, typically the home bunker. And (C) maintaining an effective lane on the move refers to either a step out shooter, an edger or the first few steps for a player intent on actively running & shooting to their primary.

A. With a single home shooter this isn't usually an issue (though a quick look at the PSP Chicago layout might make you think twice.) With two shooters it is important that each laner knows the assignment and has planned in advance for how each will take up their position. As it is difficult to shoot effectively and retain as much cover as possible with two players in the same bunker the most common alternative is the stack. One player is low and tight, tucked up in the bunker while the second player is behind the first and centered so that the bunker provides the maximum angles of protection. The second player also tends to stand or crouch so there is an elevation difference as well between the two.

B. There are two issues here; shooting an effective lane and not interfering with the rest of the breakout. No planning or poor planning results in interrupted lanes, peeps running into each other, players shooting their teammates and so on. While that degree of chaos may not be the norm even something as seemingly minor as forcing the lane shooter to hesitate a second before aiming down the assigned lane almost always means no OTB kills that point. So there's two things at work here; getting on the lane as quickly as possible and sustaining that lane as the player takes cover (which frequently requires the player to move 10 - 15 feet or so.)

C. This is a variant of laning OTB for more advanced levels of play. (Realistically most teams are shooting most of their guns OTB but there is a huge gulf between simply shooting your marker and shooting to effect.) A step out shooter is shooting the same lane options (mostly) that the home shooter is. The object is to add a second gun OTB and delay the move of the step out shooter to the primary. The edger--using the base of the X to hide his intention--is focused on laning a home shooter who is expected to be focused on a wider lane. The player running & shooting isn't really a laner. In fact, he is the opposite, but the same skill set applies with respect to the speed and accuracy of acquiring the initial shooting lane.

How-To practice.
A. The best way is to go through the motions. Over and over. First, all players who will be home shooters laning off the break need to discuss how they will set-up in the home bunker. All the configurations to be used must be accounted for. Once the players know how they wish to set-up it's time to do it by repeatedly acting out coming off the board simulating the beginning of a point. Once you are satisfied the routine is set it's time to do some shooting. To keep paint usage low have teammates spot your lanes and go through the breakout motions shooting just the initial stream of paint. A dozen paintballs shot is plenty. (Adjust poor lane accuracy the same way you practice First Shot.)

B. As soon as the shooter combos are settled it's time to act out full team breaks off the board to assure that regardless of each player's action it all happens seamlessly. And, listen carefully, Sunshine, one successful simulated breakout isn't enough. Do it often enough so that y'all can do it in your sleep.

C. Now it's time for a little fun. You get to shoot paint. This drill can be done with 2 players, 4 players, 8 players or 10 players. The basic drill is one home shooter and one player running & shooting laterally. Again, it simulates the breakout. The shooter comes off the board shooting a lane. The runner comes off the opposite board running to a corner while shooting back at home to suppress the laner. With 8 players it's 4 on each end of the field; a runner to each corner and a home shooter both ways, snake and D-side. Players move thru the multi-player drill moving left to right so that everyone takes a turn at every phase of the drill. The 10-player variant adds two players at one end of the field to act as edgers making it that much more difficult to shoot an effective lane. This is an essential drill so learn to love it.

Lastly is the issue of commitment. Most laning fails because it isn't on target quickly enough. Add in the fact many players are more interested in staying alive than shooting an effective lane--mixed with poor or no preparation--and the commonplace result is players bailing out on their lanes almost before they've begun shooting them. End of the day all your skill and practice won't get the job done right if you will not commit to doing it right.

Next time (in a couple of weeks) I'll finish up on laning OTB by discussing how to find the lanes you want to shoot and how those lanes can change based on your breakouts (or making adjustments) when the opponent is having success.


houdini RIP said...

Nice... I'd ask for pretty pictures but I think you'd slap me!!!

Tor said...

Good stuff.. Could you start analysing the Millennium field setups for your readers in Euroland? The Bitburg field is up at Warpig.

anonachris said...

Good stuff, but way too boring. I demand more paintball politics, conspiracy theory, etc. What you think this blog is read by people that actually like to talk about -playing- paintball?(joke, sorta...heh)

anonachris said...

I think the root of my girlish disdain for this post, is I have nothing to express girlish disdain over. What am I going to say, "Sheesh, you don't know what you're talking about you should drill for laning like this..."

I'm a paintball player I demand something to bitch about and here you are providing useful, unassailable content. Maybe I'll just have to read PBN today.

SSRoman said...

We raise our hands when we get hit doing drills like this. Sometimes it's tough to tell if you hit someone or not (esp with hard and bouncy paint)

Baca Loco said...

SSR--good point. So do we although you've got to watch the lazy slackers like hawks because even in drills practice they don't want to admit getting hit.

Anonachris--the real problem with posts like this is I have to work.

chad said...

I'll be doing some edging next time I play.