Friday, September 2, 2011

Kaos Theory

(Btw, I started writing this on Friday so I am claiming this post was delivered "on time." Baca time, that is. See the time stamp.)

There's really nothing new here. I just like to give stuff names and I like kaos theory because there already is a chaos theory--duh--(that says, in part, that certain kinds of dynamic systems are determined by their initial conditions and are entirely predictable--at least in theory--but otherwise appear entirely, well, chaotic)--and that is very much what offensive paintball looks like too. (But it's not.)
Kaos theory relies on sensory overload to be successful. Everything you are taught about playing competitive paintball is turned on its head in the dynamic offensive game. You are supposed to play tight and limit risk. Control lanes and wait for opportunities that are frequently the result of eliminations. Moreover, making big and/or aggressive moves too early is often a recipe for getting blown up and putting your team in a hole. And even if the big move works it can leave a single player overextended and pinned down. So what gives?
Where most teams and/or players go wrong when they want to be an aggressive offensive powerhouse is ultimately they fail to commit. They chicken out. Like a wide receiver in football going over the middle they alligator arm the attempted pass--they get halfway through doing it right but suddenly seem to realize how wrong it could all go and try to pull back--and that's when it all goes wrong. Every time. Guaranteed. The first rule of offensive paintball is follow through because once you (and your teammates) make the move it's all or nothing.
My first team captain believed in offensive paintball--and so did we (it sure seemed exciting anyway)--but we sucked at it. As a team we had a few team rules. One rule was if you see a teammate making his move--you go too. In simplest form that's what offensive paintball is all about. It didn't work for us very well because we didn't know how to practice being a cohesive offense. Or even how to think about what it took to execute aggressive offense. Back in their respective heydays that's what teams like Aftershock and Image were all about. (Don't get me wrong. Even the most offensive of teams executed their offense under control but when they came at ya, they came in a wave.) Think too of early 7-man Dynasty.
A decade ago Dynasty revolutionized competitive paintball with their aggressive running & shooting style but they were just building on what had come before them. And it wasn't the running & gunning that made the difference--that revolutionized the competitive game--it was the speed. (The running & shooting helped make it possible though.)
On last thing before we nail kaos theory down. Vision. And communication. They perform complimentary functions. The issue with both is collecting, disseminating and interpreting information about what is happening on the field--now. Conventional paintball wisdom says that visual and communicated information facilitate action. That is, if you know enough about what's going on it allows you, as a player, to act.
Kaos Theory says we are gonna give you so much information so fast you can't even begin to process it fast enough to act effectively and as a result we is gonna run you down and blow you up. Think of a player making a bunker run. Even with sideline coaching it's almost impossible to stop because it happens too fast for the player being run down to receive that information and act to counter it without getting shot. Now multiply that effect by 5. Or 7. Or, back in the day, by 10. Now I know what you're gonna say: but, but , but--if a team is committed to defense and crossed up covering lanes offense is simply going to run to their death. Which may be correct in certain situations but that isn't a failure of the kaos theory concept, it's a failure to properly execute it.
Besides, I never said it was simple to do--just simple to understand. Watch a couple of Aftershock or Impact videos from NJ. When Impact attacked the show side of the X watch what happens and what the rest of the team does in response. That's offensive paintball. (In Impact's case their pressing the attack was usually conditional.) Watch a couple of Shock videos. You will see offensive paintball. Watch the end of the Shock-Damage match and you'll see Damage counter with their own brand of offensive execution in an effort to come back. It doesn't always work but when it does it's a thing of rare beauty.
If you're still uncertain or unconvinced try thinking of it like this. Imagine you have a bird's eye view of a game being played. It unfolds over 3 or 4 minutes with moves, matching or countering moves, working angles and players shooting paint. Eventually one team gets an advantage of either numbers or field position and begins to attempt to close out the game. Rewind the game back to the beginning but this time play it on fast forward. The same things happen, they just happen a lot faster. Kaos Theory says a team (or player) can neutralize a team's defenses simply by executing their offense so fast the other team is unable to process the dynamic changing field situation fast enough to stop them. Is offensive paintball an every point or game option? Probably not for most but only because effective execution at speed is almost as difficult as trying to stop it.


sdawg said...

Awesome, thanks.

Anonymous said...

Sort of related, playing snake there are a lot of towers or cans than have a downward shot on me when I'm either bumping up a knuckle or when I'm crawling alongside the beams, so instead of trying to crawl really low and hide from their shot, I've found that just hauling ass up the snake lets me avoid that shot, and I'm more consistent that way rather than trying to crawl low and hide form the shot. Plus it freaks the other team out and draws guns.

Anonymous said...

Wow, welcome to 2005. We've been playing streetball style paintball here in Cali for years. Which is basically what you're talking about. Maybe Baines helped introduce you to it, since his boys back with KAPP helped invent the style..

Anonymous said...

This is going to take a while to digest. Very interesting article. To the anon above me, sure you have done Everything in Cali years ago, put putting stuff on paper is completely different thing...

Baca said...

Anon #2
I like you, I really do. I enjoy a challenge. I'd like you more if you weren't a moron. I understand the public schools are failing but at some point you have to take responsibility for your own ignorance. Let's begin with "reading comprehension." Did you read--or have someone else read--the first sentence to you? And as I also said the antecendents pre-date KAPP and 2005 as well--but then you Cali guys know everything.
But then I didn't write this for you--why would I? Just all the rest of the world's poor unfortunate bastards who arent' lucky enough to be from Cali and already know everything.
Btw, the next time you and Dave hang out you might want to apologise for spelling his name wrong.

Anonymous said...

I wish I was from Cali...

But thank you again for writing this down, I have enjoyed reading all recent analyses of game tactics.
NJ finals were actually very educative to watch since with rain you could see all firing, its direction and volume. (in televised paintball should rain all the time...:) )

What seems to be problem this season is paint usage/shortage. How can "professional" players use all their paint?

How your team Damage prepares for possible long point and paint usage? Does your sideline warn players for shortage in paint they are carrying?


Mark said...

Easy Baca, they know not what they think they know. Or something like that. I found anon#2 insights quite entertaining, absurdly wrong, but entertaining none the less. As I'm sure your son would too.

Baca said...

We tend to over compensate by having everyone carry more paint than they may expect to use but situations also dictate the paint the players take on field.
For example we knew Jersey would be heavy paint consumption much of the time so our default position was carry as much as you can shoot. That basic "rule" was modified sometimes by a player's specific role for a given point. If, for example (again) I tell Chad he's taking the corner on his next point instead of being the lead he grabs 2 or 3 extra pods knowing he may need them. And vice versa. Keith may have been ready to go with 6 or 7 pods on his back and when I tell him his next breakout primary will be a long run to A3 he may pull a couple.
Current rules only allow external communication from the show side so we aren't able to tell players on field when their paint is running out from the pit side.

houdini said...

Love these posts - keep them coming... if only I can get my fellow players fit enough to pull off a strong offensive push off the break!!!!