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Monday, August 24, 2009

3 Drills to Improve Speedball Skills

Nova Scotia Team Uses Drills To Transition From Woodsball to Tournament Play
By: Chris "Paint Monkey" Wingate

originally published in the November 2009 issue of Action Pursuit Games

You may have heard of the Tippinators. They are a team based in Nova Scotia, and they made the transition from woodsball to tournament-play formats. Famous for being diplomats of sportsmanship and their loyalty to Tippmann markers, this crew is a perfect example that hard work and training are more important to success than rate of fire. Since any one can spary the field, we spoke with the team’s captain, Bruce "Charon" Johnston, to find out how the "Tipps" train to improve their speedball skill and asked him to share a few drills. Here are some questions we asked:"
Action Pursuit Games - November 2009
WHAT WAS THE BIGGEST CHALLENGE IN MAKING THE TRANSITION FROM WOODSBALL TO SPEEDBALL
Well, right from the start, the biggest challenge we had was getting accustomed to the amount of paint in the air. Going from semi auto woodsball to having 75 balls coming your way, every second of play took a little getting used to!

WHAT WERE THE FIRST AREAS THAT YOU WORKED ON?
We worked on keeping the guns rolling, communicating, moving quickly, and shooting with the off hand. There’s been a huge response to the team’s motto, "Shake hands, play hard, have fun, make new friends, and remember that it is just a game." But, even with our light-hearted attitude we train to win. A typical training session incorporates two hours of in gym, dry land training and three hours of on field live fire practice.

TELL ME ABOUT FIELD LIVE-FIRE PRACTICE
Field live-fire practice starts with laps, warm ups, stretching and one man run and gun to primary shooting boxed using both hands. We then move to five man break out shooting boxes, jousting, 5 on 5 scrims, 5 on 4 scrims, 5 on 3 scrims and area specific drills (getting in the snake, pushing dorito side, filling for eliminated players etc.) We also discuss what skills need more work and do drills on those specific areas, finishing with another round of 5 on 5.

HOW DO YOU MAINTAIN TOP PHYSICAL CONDIDTION
Competitive paintball is no longer the territory of weekend warriors. To maintain peak physical condition you have to hit the gym. The Tipps gym sessions start with laps, warm ups, and stretching.

"Warm up and stretching are vital to our team. It gives us a chance to get together as a group and pump each other up. But more importantly the warm up/stretch prevents injury, gets the blood flowing, and the mind and the body ready to play. Once the stretch is done we huddle, I give a few words of motivation to the guys, and we do our cheer and then hit the field. Playing without a warm up is a great way to hinder your performance and increase the risk of injury," says Johnston.

"Then we do what I call a 'point'. This includes a gym lap, fun runs (wind sprints the length of the gym - fun runs sound so much better), two man break outs moving up the gym using the fun run pylons as markers (everyone goes twice, once on each side), and another lap to finish.

"After 10 points we play ultimate Frisbee, or basketball for half an hour, and then do a circuit of 8 stations each of plyometric exercises with a lap between each."

WHAT ARE TOP THREE DRILLS TO IMPROVE SPEEDBALL SKILLS?
Work the following: the basics, shooting and moving. Here are three drills to get you started:
1. Place a box at the 50, from the start shoot one ball at the box, if you miss touch up and try again. Repeat with the left hand.
2. Box at 50 and box in the head of the snake at the far end. Repeat drill one. Once you hit the box you can break to the corner gunning at the snake box. Repeat with left hand.
3. Box at 50, box in the head of the snake at the far end, box on the 50-tape line, box at the other team start point. Repeat drill 2. When you get to the corner, shoot down the line until you hit the box, wrap inside and shoot the box at the other team’s start point. Repeat with left hand.
Note: Once you release from the start never stop shooting.

"These basic drills cover accuracy, shooting a lane, running and gunning, and wrapping. Specific 'do this here' drills are tough without knowing the field layout," says Johnston.

HOW DO PLAYING DIFFERENT STYLES HELP YOUR GAME?
The Tippinators pride themselves on being able to play any style of paintball. Charon said, "The biggest edge we have brought from the woodsball field is vision. In woodsball you can have a target pop up anywhere around you; playing woodsball has kept us from developing tunnel vision on the speedball field. The advantage we have brought back to the woods is aggression. With so much less paint coming at us playing woodsball, we are free to successfully make aggressive moves up the field."

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