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Tournaments? Are they for you?

So, youíve been to the local field, and seen those guys that hang out together, sport matching jerseys, and own fancy, expensive equipment? These typically are the tournament paintball players. To me, this is the natural evolution of the paintball player. You can only progress so far playing the local players at the field. Think about it. In the average recreational game, do you genuinely care if you win or loose? Sure, you may be out there to hang the flag, and shoot a few people. But when you loose, your emotions havenít risen, and your temper isnít flaring. A recreational game to me seems to be a bunch of individual games going on all at once. Maybe you brought a few friends with you, but is the entire team working to achieve victory with a common plan? Does your whole team communicate and use codes? And finally, Iím sure most of us wouldnít throw a tube of 10 dollars in paint to some dude weíve never met before. To keep that same stranger in the game would you be willing to shoot your entire harness, 40 bucks in paint, to keep the opposition from taking him down?

A tournament team is a unit that is always working towards the same goal, always adhering to a common plan. Tournament teams donít think twice about tossing a tube of paint to a teammate, or shooting their entire harness for what may seem like no purpose. Tournaments will help refine your technique. Playing better opponents will make you a better player. Youíll learn to become smaller, faster, smarter, and usually more accurate. But as I said earlier, yes, tournaments to me is the natural evolution for a paintball player, but they may not be for everyone. Letís face it, not everyone can be Michael Jordan! A tournament is in some ways, ďnatural selectionĒ. After awhile, those whose skills donít progress, or become stagnant, find that tournaments have lost an their appeal. I mean, who would want to get shot out 30 seconds after getting in their bunker time and time again. No one wants to waste money on a tournament to never win a game, or only win if the other team screws up. So, all of the sudden these tournaments lose their interest. This is known as ďburnoutĒ. Even ďprosĒ develop burnout. Their skills may not increase with that of their teammates, or maybe they just donít practice and loose their edge. But, you certainly donít see too many people who quit tournaments when they are on top of their game.

But donít get me wrong, if you arenít a tournament player, it does not mean you are not a good player. To me, it means that your skills will only reach a certain level. You might be better than the rest of your recreational peers, but your full potential will never be realized.