A long, boring title for a possibly long & boring post. You've been warned. Proceed at your peril. Nope. It was but I've changed it. That's because I'm cutting this post into at least four separate posts; Skills Evolve, Deconstructing Skill, Measuring Skill & Skill is Not Enough. I got a decent way into this post and realized all you slackers with attention deficit disorder were gonna short out and slip into a coma or go on a thrill killing spree and I don't want that on my conscience so the rest of y'all are stuck with multiple postings.
Let's begin with crawling. (Gotta crawl before you can walk, right?) Old Skool crawling was a fundamental skill for maneuvering unseen on a very large (by today's standards) wooded field. In the modern competition game crawling (actual crawling) has largely been reduced to snake play. In playing the modern snake a snake player's position may or may not be known--other than the player is in the snake. In this comparison the physical act of crawling remains the same--as does the purpose--acquisition of an advantageous position from which to eliminate the opposition. The change is in the environment. Of course it's not a small or minor change. Where the Old Skool crawler could use the skill nearly anywhere on the field the modern snake player is limited to the snake. And where the Old Skool crawler required stealth to succeed the snake player needs to be fast & fearless. Chances are the Old Skool crawler and the modern snake player would neither enjoy or be very good at swapping roles.
Now let's consider the trigger pull. Some of you lament the loss of this skill. (I am so tempted to put quotation marks around skill when we talk trigger pull but I won't in deference to your girlish sensibilities.) Some of you still think it's a skill ('cus it's the only one you got.) But seriously. No. Really. I'll stop. Back in the day, in the era of mechanical triggers, you had had all sorts of different means of actuation and a cottage industry in trigger mods all trying to make the pulls soft and short enough so that newbies didn't break their fingers trying to play paintball. For one thing almost nobody touted their skill at pulling a trigger. Their interest was more practical. And for another thing--I hate to break it to you skills guys--if there is no baseline any claim to a skill is, you know, silly. And once the guns were electropneumatics actuated by a software interface players who couldn't get 5 or 6 balls a second out of a blade frame cocker are suddenly pulling 15 or 16. It's amazing how good so many of you got all of a sudden. Now, while you're still hyperventilating answer this question: What was the benefit of the trigger pulling skill? What's the first thing that comes to mind? No, not waffles--or was that just me? Putting more paint in the air. Increasing your ROF. Because more paint equals more control.
At this stage of competitive paintball's development skills are evolving. (And going extinct.)
Tomorrow, yes, tomorrow! look for Deconstructing Skill.