Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Skills Evolve

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.


Steve said...

Just a coupla points: old skool crawling could NOT be done "anywhere on the field" and, as both an old school crawler and a snake player (from when snakes were a new thing), the skills are analogous, though it is much easier to crawl a snake than to crawl the woods. The only real difference is that it is much easier to deal with a snake crawler than a woods crawler, since you already know that the player in the snake is going to crawl it at some point and you also know where he is going to crawl.
In the woods, you had to work to find crawlers and their potential routes usually had more than one option.
Much easier to crawl the snake: the ground is flat, the path is known and the location(s) of opponents are known, all in advance.

On the shooting thing? most folks I'm familiar with from back in the day could get between 7 and 10 rounds per second out of their 'cockers and 'mags.

Missy Q said...

I agree that it's a stretch to compare snake crawling and old-skool crawling too closely. When you factor in coaching, and people screaming "Snake 2" at the top of their voices, it gets even less similar. However,I definitely think the guys that thought they were pulling 7-10 bps with their cockers and mags were kidding themselves. In fact I know they were kidding themselves. 4-6 BPS maybe, Lasoya could do 7 and he was the guy everyone called the fastest. It was my job to study this at the time, so I'm sure.
The first Angelks could do 14, but most people maxed out at 9/10 when actually shooting, which sounds low, but it was twice as fast as anything else.

Jay said...

Mmm waffles, and you thought we'd zone out...

Baca Loco said...

Second things first. No, they couldn't--and even if they could it wasn't comparable because there were differing mechanical systems involved. The point(s) being made is that trigger pulling has never been a skill despite the delusions of many a paintballer and that the focus of all the efforts to improve, soften, shorten, lighten, etc. the trigger pull on mechanically actuated markers was aimed at improving ROF--not claiming some magical skill.

Depending on the field one could indeed crawl anywhere particularly when the comparison is to the modern snake. Once again the point was simple; the physical act of crawling hasn't changed nor has the fundamental purpose of utilising the crawl in a game of paintball BUT the game environment has dramatically changed and that change dramatically altered how crawling is used today compared to back in the day. See post title.

Do you have a link to a photo of you in your Ghillie suit, Steve? C'mon, let's see it.

You got the gun thing correct--of course. As to the crawling business see reply to Steve. :)

Anonymous said...

I miss custom autocockers, pulling the trigger, crawling, snap shooting, and wacky woods fields!

raehl said...

I still remember exactly when and where I was shot at by an Angel the first time. It was a definite "WTF?" moment. It seemed like a paralyzing amount of paint being shot at you at the time.