What's the best way to get a team ready to play tournament paintball, specifically D5 CFPS?
For those who don't know the CFPS is the largest tourney series in Florida and they use APPA which means that D5 players are, for the most part, beginners or players with nominal tournament experience.
The foundation of all competitive paintball is developing individual skills, imparting the rudiments of strategy and team play and preparing your team mentally for the experience.
Typically with the first tournament or two you needn't be overly concerned with the team's mental state as they will be excited and nervous, both of which are good. The best thing for them at this stage is to let them know what happens during the actual play of the tournament and provide them with a routine to follow during their down time. Taking care of the basics like potting up, getting their air fills, cleaning up hits, replacing batteries etc. all the simple routine stuff that is part of the process. Habituate their routine to keep them on an even keel and from making the minor mistakes their lack of experience and excitement normally engender.
Individual skill development is pretty straightforward (stuff like laning, snap shooting, accuracy, running & gunning, etc.) and largely a function of time, commitment and practice but there is one area you might want to focus on that is a common weakness at this stage of player development. It is what I call body awareness and what is usually called playing tight. The point is less experienced players tend to be sloppier in their play and broader, less controlled in their movement. Focusing on lots of of 1-on-1s in different bunker types and running both snap-shooting and gunfighting drills are good but perhaps the best drill is to set-up the same as your 1-on-1s with two added features. Include a target for each player to shoot at that requires the player to wrap his bunker and also have a second shooter from a crossfield position shooting paint at the inside edge of the player's bunker. The drill incorporates the same snap-shooting and/or gunfighting elements but adds the necessity to gain edge control in order to quickly wrap and shoot at the target all the while also being aware of the off angle paint incoming that could clip a leg, knee, shoulder or pack if the player isn't careful. It is an excellent drill for players of virtually all skill levels as the degree of difficulty can be adjusted to fit the level of player.
Here the tendency is to try and do too much too quickly so keep it simple; basic wire control on offense and the simple defensive (or close-out) counters like spread the field are sufficient for now and allow you to discuss more complex situations as they arise. Of more or equal importance is laying the foundation for your players filling roles, what that means and how they successfully accomplish that goal. Your 1s are your primary attackers, your 2s (inserts) are there to support & assist your 1s and your 3 provides cover, communication and adds his gun to your close out push or cuts off the field. Again, keep it simple but make sure everyone is doing their job when they are playing.
And lastly with a young or newbie team stay positive and encouraging.