Today we are proud to present the second part of our NPPL interview with board members and pro paintball players Frank Connell, Alex Fraige, Rich Telford, Bart Yacimec and Chuck Hendsch. In case you missed it, check out NPPL Interview Part 1. Read on for more information regarding Shawn Walker, Sand Bagging, the NPPL ID Card System, Semi Auto vs Ramping and more.
ProPaintball: How will you be able to prevent sand bagging?
Frank Connell: It is going to take a lot of hard work on my part to check every ID that comes through the NPPL system and verify that they are the rank they say they are. We have all the NPPL data from last year as well as previous years, so we’ve got a lot of player information. The NPPL did handle all of their own ID cards from 2003 until 2008 without any problem, so we’re very confident our players will be happy with our new program.
ProPaintball: How did Shawn Walker come back into the picture?
Chuck Hendsch: I’m not sure what you mean by back in the picture. Shawn owns Camp Pendleton Paintball Park and manages the tournament complex at Jungle Island where several of the NPPL pro teams practice, plus he also runs the RPL. The NPPL has always supported fields and local/regional tournament circuits. Shawn is working hard to bring back tournament paintball in Southern California and we appreciate his support and will look at sanctioning events at his parks in the future. We have a 7-man event scheduled at Jungle Island on March 27th where teams and refs can get valuable field practice experience at this event to prepare themselves for the upcoming HB tournament. The NPPL is also offering a free 7-man entry as the top prize.
ProPaintball: How does Shawn Walker’s 5-man & 3-man league fit into the NPPL 7-man series?
Chuck Hendsch: Shawn is hosting a 7-man event this month to get teams ready for our 7-man division. The NPPL also runs D4 and D5 5-man divisions, so obviously any RPL 5-man team can use Shawn’s league as a good way of preparing for an NPPL 5-man event and vice versa.
ProPaintball: On that note, why is the NPPL Super-7 series hosting 5-man alongside 7-man?
Rich Telford: Because it’s easier for teams that are just getting started to get a 5-man team together and then move up to 7-man. That’s what I did. I played 5-man then 10-man and I don’t think that I could have started off playing 10-man because it is too technical.
ProPaintball: Has the NPPL considered going back to its roots and acting as a sanctioning organization in the short term future?
Chuck Hendsch: Absolutely. The league has always been a sanctioning body for tournaments worldwide. We will continue this path as the governing body for paintball. We are trend setters when it comes to rules, formats, schedules, policies and raising the bar. We are also working on a new Ref Training Program designed to get quality refs trained at all levels.
ProPaintball: With most major leagues worldwide moving towards a capped rate of fire (be it ramping or semi-auto) to combat cheating guns & “bounce”, why has the NPPL decided to stay with the uncapped, semi-auto concept?
Alex Fraige: Personally, I like semi-auto because it adds another skill to the game. I talked about it at length on the webcast, but I believe that running and shooting in semi-auto mode is more difficult than doing it in a ramping mode, and I like that added dimension. There’s been lots of talk about the issue because capping the rate of fire is an easy way to solve the issue with illegal modes, however the majority of us (as well as other players we talk to) prefer semi auto. We had a big call early in the year with a number of manufacturers to discuss ways to deal with the illegal modes and came away with a number of good ideas which we’ll start to introduce this season. One of the most effective ways is using high speed cameras to watch the number of trigger pulls and the number of balls shot. Then there’s no doubt if a gun is adding in shots. It’s a tough thing to deal with, but we are definitely working on it. We’ve also changed some of the rules related to bouncing guns, so teams will now get a warning before any penalty.
ProPaintball: Has the NPPL conducted a survey of divisional players to gauge what they, the paying customer, are interested in?
Frank Connell: I have received numerous emails with input and questions regarding the NPPL and feel that the input I got was helpful in some of the decisions the board of directors had to make this year.