Austen Brown of Texas Phalanx drops in to give a full recap on a beginner clinic he hosted at Frisco Paintball in Dallas, Texas. Get his take on how it went and learn his mission behind it -"Hey guys! Austen here with Texas Phalanx and Grow Paintball. On January 27th I held a beginners clinic at Frisco Paintball, which is an indoor reusable paintball facility here in Dallas, Texas. I decided to put this clinic together because the paintball community has given so much to me over the past 18 years and now it is time to give back. I did this completely free of charge besides the kids paying for their entry fees to the field. I think teaching kids the basics of playing paintball will make it more fun and help them understand the game better. I went over some basics such as the flight of the ball, how to use bunkers, rules of play, and taking fear out of getting tagged. Most kids think that a paintball is going to fly in a straight line just like in video games. I was able to explain to them that gravity still has an effect on the ball and you have to aim your gun slightly upward to make up for gravity depending on how far away their target was. Simply by having them stand shoulder-to-shoulder and shoot targets down range to see for themselves how it works. I was also able to show them drills on how to lead a moving target or adjust your body as your moving and shooting. This significantly improved their accuracy and confidence shooting a target and then into their games.
Another lesson was how to use the bunkers to their advantage. Teaching them how to lower their profile in their bunker so they are less exposed - which then helps reduce their chances of getting shot and also how to battle so they can be more effective while in their bunker. At Frisco Paintball we were using reusable paintballs. This meant that there was no paint left behind when they get hit. I explained to them that this is an honor system and you have to call yourself out any time you were hit in the body or equipment. My goal with this was to have them be more aware of their body and when they get hit. This will translate into regular paintball, preventing them from getting penalties if they choose to play competitively.
We have to make things simpler for beginner players and teach them that this is a game of tag and not a violent shooting game. Thus, reducing the amount of fear younger ones have of getting hurt by the paintballs. At the clinic they were using .50 caliber reusable paintballs that were lower velocity and softer. I think this is the proper way of introducing beginners to the sport so they can get used to the feeling and move up to .68 caliber when they are more developed. After getting these basics applied to their game, the results were significantly different from when they first played to the end of the night. If we did more clinics like this across the country I think more kids would enjoy playing the game and want to compete at higher levels as they grow up if they get proper coaching in the beginning. The idea is to retain the kids so they continue to play as they become teenagers and adults. That can be achieved by having more ambassadors of the sport. I believe every field should have their own ambassador. I hope this goes out to all other players and coaches and I encourage you to go to your local fields and put on these free clinics and become an ambassador. Let’s get the youth more involved in our sport so that we can grow paintball!"
- Austen Brown, TX Phalanx