There I was, sitting under a tree during a 24 hour scenario. I had actually plopped down, in somewhat of an out of the way place, but making no big effort to camo in. I had posted up along a popular trail however, just in case I caught a wandering soul unaware. I took a minute to down a juice box and as I sucked the last of the sugar off the bottom, movement caught my eye to the far deep left of my peripheral vision. Immediately, I drew a bead and let him come in closer. He was solo. Beautiful. What I didn’t expect was for him to step slightly off trail and head straight for me. I settled my breathing, feeling the adrenaline dump into my system knowing that my tango was on target to step on me. He got down to the 10 yard mark…the 7…the 5…and finally, as he stepped into the 3 yard mark, oblivious to me, I popped one from the hip square on his chest. And we had a brief conversation. He said he absolutely did not see me or perceive me in any way. I shared with him a few observations.
Moving Too Fast
When you move too fast, two things happen. First, your awareness goes down. Typically, a fast mover has their head down, looking at the ground immediately in front of them. At all times, move with your marker at a low-ready position with your head up, scanning your zones. Second, when moving too fast you attract visual attention. This should be a no-brainer but honestly, I can’t count how many times I’ve seen people ratted out just because they reached up and adjusted their mask too quickly. If you have to move, particularly when you are camouflaged in waiting, do it slowly, very slowly.
Moving Too Sloppy
We are a society of the 7 second attention span. Studies show that if a website, commercial or video doesn’t grab you in the first 7 to 14 seconds, you’ll move on. If things sit still for much more than that, our attention wanders to something else. When sitting in wait or when moving in a high-ready stalk, limit your movements to the bare necessities. Get used to letting mosquitoes bite you. Get used to sweat dripping in your eye. Build up your tolerance. It’s a huge mental game. And most people aren’t willing to go the distance to play it. Limit your movements. Get efficient.
Moving Too Much Like You’re Wandering Aimlessly At The Mall With A Double Scoop Waffle Cone In Your Hand
This one has been drilled into me and I can’t emphasize it enough. Put on your tactical paintball sniper mindset. Get your game on. I like to call it “stacking the real”. You ARE in danger. You ARE the only thing that stands between harm and your teammates. Make it even more real. When I’m out there, I’m the only thing standing between harm and my three daughters. You wanna see the game get going? Take it to that level. The more you can convince your mind of the reality of your training, the more your mind will direct your body to respond. In the words of the cruel but deadly tactician, Ghengis Khan: “As you train, so shall you fight.” Stack the real!
I’ve seen tons of people dressed like a “paintball sniper”. I’ve seen tons of people put on the camouflage and wander the trails of the woodsball field thinking they’re invisible but moving like orangutans. I’ve seen very few people with the discipline to do what it takes to really play a tactical paintball sniper game.