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Newbie Guide

Role of the Front Player

by on Sep.29, 2002, under Newbie Guide

Role of the Front Player

By Brad “Sup’ Airman” Turner

Playing the front is possibly the most physically demanding position in paintball. It requires lightning speed, cramming yourself into extremely painful positions, and facing a wall of paint almost every time you even peek out of your cover. This article is to outline the jobs and necessary skills of becoming a tournament level front player.

Break

Of the break, the front player must always push the envelope. In the 7 or 10 man competition, this may even require sacrificing one or two players off the break in hopes of acquiring a key bunker right up in enemy territory. Front players must be able to run super fast to get to their primary bunker, which should almost always be located on or near the 50 at least. As a rule of thumb, I suggest that these players never attempt to fire off the break. This only slows their trip to their primary bunker. Also, it helps if he/she has practiced running while crouching. This requires a lot of practice if you want to do it efficiently, but once it is mastered it is a great advantage. Also, another strategy is to keep large/standup bunkers in between you and the opposing team’s back players. When walking the field, predict where the opponents will send their back men. Based on that prediction, front players can bounce around in between bunkers so that they have cover during much of their movement.

Movement

This is very key to front players. Movement is what opens the opportunity for our next category, angles, but we will talk about that in a minute. Movement needs to happen when:

1. Opponents are occupied with something else (another move, reloading, etc.)

2. When an elimination opens an area of the field

3. All things clear up

When opponents’ attentions are divided, they respond more sluggishly to changes. If one of your teammates move up and the players who were originally focused on you look at them, then you need to move as quickly as possible. Even if it is only a millisecond’s hesitation, the other player is still forced to react to your move. He is no longer in control of the situation.

Sometimes, a lucky paintball will wing its way over and eliminate a player who is alone in a particular area of the field. If and when this happens, it is the job of the front player to notice that weakness and to exploit it. If one of their front players just went out and you move up to the opposite side of his old bunker, you most likely will have a side-shot at another of the opposition’s front men.

Then there are those times when things just calm down for a moment. A good, aggressive frontman will take advantage of this downtime and make an insane move. This is the type of move that blows games wide open. The other team is totally unexpecting and you hit them with their pants down. This starts a push in which the other team is already on the defensive.

Angles

This is where the glory of the front man comes in. Once a move has been made, the front man should immediately check his 3 and 9 o’clocks for sideshots. This is a 180-degree angle to the player and it is where most if not all of the other player is visible. Movement is what makes this possible. Angles are the quick eliminations. One player or the other will win this mini-battle very quickly because with angles, the use of cover to the player’s front becomes irrelevant. But if you are the one that made the move that began the confrontation, you have the advantage. You already know what you came to do, while as the opponent is forced to react to you.

Bunkering

This is the part of being a frontman that separates the men from the boys, the pro’s from the am’s, the average players from the legends, okay you get the picture. This action is a movement, an elimination, and opens angles all in one motion. This is also one of the more difficult maneuvers to master. There are so many things that can happen when you are out there, only experience can save you at certain times. Bunkering needs to happen when:

1. Game time is down

2. An opponent is in a potentially threatening position

3. When a lane is open that leaves you free to waltz in there and get the elimination uncontested

The first call for a bunkering move is when time is running low. No one likes those stalemates where no one is a clear winner. That is a call for bunkering. When your back or mid guy yells that there is a minute or so left in the game and not much is going on, pick the nearest guy and bunker him. I know this sounds almost crazy but it works. You don’t get any points for just sitting there on your butt while precious seconds tick off the clock. But you do get points for taking out opposing team members. So what do you have to lose?

Next, a mugging or bunker move needs to happen when the other team has just reached a potentially dangerous bunker. Tell your back man to hold him down and then take him out before he has time to settle in. If you don’t, he may have angles on one or more of your players and will eventually work his way to you.

This third point is much like the last point of the movement section, only it is you that are clearing the area out. If there is a person alone on an area of the field, get someone to keep his cover man in, then bunker him. That opens a lane to begin a push.

The key to bunkering is just to stop being a spectator from behind your cozy little inflatable bunker and going out to make a difference. Sometimes, it is better just to rush someone out of the blue and take them out. You will be surprised how many times a random bum-rush can take out even the most talented of players.

Requirements/Skills Needed

In order to be a front man, you need to be able to do a few things like:

 Squeeze yourself into amazingly tiny spaces

 Twist your body in strange ways so as to make the most use of your cover

 Play extremely tight

 Be able to make it to a bunker 40 yards away with up to 10 markers all aimed at you

 Make split-second decisions

 Fully rely on your teammates

 Not be scared to do anything that is required to win

Lots of the time, the front players are forced to take cover in a small crook of a snake, a tiny wedge, or other microscopic piece of cover. This is where you need to be able to tuck in every limb of your body and sometimes bend to conform with the shape of a bunker, or else face certain elimination.

Also, because us front players are right up next to the other team, we must play tighter than any other position of player. If you stick out a little more than necessary in the back, it is usually less consequential than if you stick out the exact same amount up front.

Speed is another asset required of the front man. He must be able to go long distances while minimizing his profile and exposure to the other team. Off the break, the other team is most likely to be sweet spotting up front bunkers because they are easier to hit accurately. This means that the front man must be able to slip into a bunker right next door to the enemy while remaining untouched.

Also, a lot of confidence in your teammates is necessary. You must be able to make the split second decisions and be able to count on your teammates to follow through and make your move successful. Then, if one of your back men tells you that you can make it to your secondary or next bunker, you must trust them enough to go without hesitation and without even giving it a second thought. A moment’s hesitation can be the difference between victory and defeat.

Conclusion

These are some of the basic things a tournament level front player has to deal with. Team captains, you can use this article in picking possible front player recruits for your team as well as improving your current front runners.

Brad “Sup’ Airman” Turner is a young tournament paintball player from Lexington, KY. He plays on team Plan B. You can e-mail him at : tboyz@iglou.com

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A Newbie’s Mistakes

by on Jul.27, 2002, under Newbie Guide

This is the biggest secret of the advanced player and the biggest mistake that a new player makes. It takes a while to learn and use, but is a great investment. Immediately after the starting horn sounds, players will run to the first piece of cover and hide behind it.

What is wrong with that? Everything! Inexperienced players “hide” behind cover. Experienced players “use” cover. Whether it is a set of old tires, some wooden crates or a fallen tree, “hiding” is not the proper way to use cover. Rather than “hide” behind cover, you should “use” cover to hide you. Inexperienced players jump right up and hide directly behind the cover. They are way to close.

Being this close limits your sight. If it is a wooden wall you will not be able to see over it without having to “pop up”. This will hurt you. You have to be able to see what is going on. You have to maintain eye contact with the field of play at all times, hiding this close takes away your ability to maintain eyesight with the entire field.

If you ease off the cover, lay back a little and “use” the cover, you will be much better off. Firstly, you will be just as covered as before, if not more covered. Secondly, you can maintain the view at all times, which is crucial.

The red lines are just an illustration but you get the point. Whether it is to see “over” or “around” objects, laying off the cover gives you a major advantage.

At first it may seem intimidating or awkward, but you will quickly learn to use this technique. The same goes for trees. Rather than run up to a tree and hug it with your shoulder.

Take about 5 steps back, get down on one knee and “use” the tree to cover you, while maintaining your potency. Remember, proper usage of cover makes all the difference in the world.

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