Author Archives: Josh Foote

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The 1st After Action Report – The Friday Frag

Welcome to this weeks edition of The Friday Frag. The question that was left with you last time was “what you thought was the most valuable thing that should be discussed after playing the teams first event.” While there is no wrong answer to this question, the answer should be 9 out of 10 times about how the team members played the event together as a team. You may be saying to yourself, “of course the guys played as a team, we’re all on the same team afterall,” but that shouldn’t be the final answer. This is where you, as a Team Captain, need to take a step back and evaluate everyone. The evaluation process should be seen first and foremost as a way for the team to get better.

The team assessment should be approached in such a manner that you are not showing favoritism to one person or coming down extra hard on another for dropping a mission, loosing a prop or whatever the reason may be. As the Team Captain, everyone looks at you to see how you will react when something does not go the way you were hopping for it to. If the team sees you yelling and screaming at people, they will think that it is an accepted practice and will do it themselves to their teammates when something negative happens. Don’t forget that your team mates are not being paid to play with you, so unless you’re a masochist, being yelled at will get old real quick.

When you are addressing positive events, feel free to use the players name to reinforce them, however when you criticize a situation, never address the player in question by name, try to use statements such as “we could of done it this way” or “this happened to us.” The saying that the best-laid plans go to hell in the first 5 minutes of game on is a perfect summation for any paintball game. I have seen people plan contingency after contingency prior to the start of a game and throw all the plans out the window when team X does not complete what seemed to be an easy objective and the game plan has to be altered to reflect such. The less corners you can back yourself into will help you later on.

The format you should follow is to schedule a team meeting after the event, possibly the following weekend if the team’s schedule permits. You do not want the meeting to take place directly following an event, but at the same time you do not want to leave it go for to long as people are by nature revisionists. The reason for this is two fold. 1) You want the team to be able to take a step back from the event and think about how everything went, and 2) the emotion from the game should be subsided at that point and people can make better assessments of themselves and the team without being caught up in the moment and feel that they are being attacked.

A good project you can give to everyone prior to the meeting is to fill out a simple questionnaire about how they feel they preformed, what they could change, and what they feel could be changed for the group in total. Again, you should make sure that no one mentions any names, as you do not want to create a division within the team over something as futile as who caused the team to drop the mission or loose the prop. In the grand scheme of things, at this stage, it is not worth the drama. Later on when everyone is more accustomed to each other, the assessments can become more critical as the players should know that they are not being malicious but want to insure that everyone is playing to the best of their ability. Do not address people’s personal assessments with the group, that is something that should be done one on one to achieve the best outcome. Would you want to be criticized in front of everyone? It may sound corny, but you really should treat your teammates, as you would want to be treated. Mutual respect can go a long way and save you a lot of headaches later on.

When you are talking with the entire team, be sure to ask about how they feel the communication was between everyone. Could there of been something done differently? Was there a breakdown? Maybe how the field was labeled? Code names for objectives? Don’t be afraid to ask everyone for their opinions before the team takes the giant leap and purchases the $200+ dollar radios. By playing more events, you really will see what works and does not work. Some teams rely on radios for every movement they do whereas some teams refuse to use them. To be successful, you do not need radios; so do not feel that you need to purchase them. If the guys cannot afford the $200+ dollar radios, start with the Motorola 2 packs that you can find at the big box stores. If your team chooses to not go with radios, at least keep two, one for you and one for the sides commander to contact you on.

If everyone is honest with the team and themselves, there shouldn’t be any obstacles that can not be overcome by talking about them post game. Ask everyone’s opinions about what they feel the team should practice prior to the next event. You can set up a practice rec schedule where you work on different aspects while playing against live opponents. You can take it a step farther by having different team members run the practices. This will encourage ownership into the lesson and will make people appreciate how much work goes into organizing a practice, let alone a team. Dry practice runs are fine for starting, but if you truly want to master a new technique, you need to play against someone who will be shooting back at you and will force you to play as if your team was in the middle of a scenario game.

All games should be used as learning experiences, and like with everything else in life, you need to work at it to get better. Anyone who is remotely successful has become that due to hard work. If your team stays hungry and keeps the eye on the ultimate goal, you will achieve success.

This weeks question is: As the Team Captain, what do you feel your primary focus should be directed towards at this point?

Next week we will be discussing the issue of crafting the teams direction and the possibility of sponsorships.

Until next time,
Josh Foote

Playing Your First Event – The Friday Frag

Welcome to this weeks edition of The Friday Frag. In our last edition we left you with a question “what do you think the most important task is prior to game on?” If you haven’t guessed it from reading the article, that is Walking The Field!!! I can not stress enough how important it is to know the firing lanes, where bunkers are placed and everything else that involves you playing paintball all day. This is something that is not only limited to a particular form of paintball, as anyone who is serious about playing, will walk the field prior to game on.

With that being said, this edition is going to be focusing on playing the first event. Continue reading

Your First Paintball Event – The Friday Frag

Welcome to another edition of The Friday Frag. As you recall, I left last week with the question of which of the 5 W’s of Recruiting is most important. The answer to this is most importantly the Who. Out of all the 5 W’s, who you recruit will dictate if your team makes it past the 2-3 year mark or not. All successful teams recruit the like-minded individuals who share the same goals and beliefs that they do. However, do not get me wrong, the What/Where/When and Why are also important, but will always take a back seat to Who you are recruiting.

PhotobucketBefore attending any event, a team should practice at the very least a few times playing rec paintball. This is very important, as you do not want to show up to an event with no playing experience as a team. Most fields run mini scenario missions during the course of walk on play, and if they don’t, you can always ask the field manager/owner to run a few capture and retrieve or attack and defend style games to get some general practice in. Using these practices, you can work on your shooting skills, team communication and other similar things you may want to work on depending on your style of play and the type of event you are planning to attend.

Now the topic of attending your first event can be just as stressful as it is exciting for new team captains. You are running through your head all the what-ifs and what you still need to do prior to leaving for the field. We have all been there, but now these worries are on a wider scale, as the Team Captain is responsible for making sure everyone is taken care of from start to finish. This may consist of setting up car pools to making sure people do not forget batteries for their gear. (You name it; I can tell you a time when someone forgot it.)

But before we get ahead of ourselves, deciding what the first game to attend can be just as important as attending the event. A good rule of thumb for new teams is there should be no travel outside of 2 hours for the first year or so. We all want to attend the big games like D-Day, IoN and Living Legends, but there is a time and place for these events. You should check your local field’s schedule and see if there are any upcoming events. With Scenario paintball becoming popular again, most fields are hosting events every couple of months.

PhotobucketNow that you have decided on which game to attend, it’s time to register for the event. Some fields and producers offer incentives for teams to register all at once. These incentives can be anything from the captain/player playing for free, to a case of paint to even a free marker from a sponsor of the field. As a Team Captain, you should contact the field or producer to see if they are offering any incentives. It never hurts to ask remember, and you may be surprised what types of offers are out there for teams. Either way, it is much easier in the long run if you collect everyone’s money in advance.

When a team is getting ready to attend an event, it is the job of the Team Captain to make sure that all the loose ends are taken care. As we touched on earlier, this may be from setting up carpools, to printing out travel maps for everyone to collecting paint money prior to leaving. You should try to divvy out different tasks to your players, this helps insure that as Team Captain, you are not stretched to thin. But remember, it is up to you to make sure that any task that is given out is completed.

Upon arriving at the field, the first thing you should do is set up your staging area. If you’re staying overnight, set up your tents and campfire, collect firewood and everything else that may be needed for camping. If it is a one day event, all you need is to set up your easy up awning or whatever you are using to stage from. Once your staging area is ready to go, you should register and pick up your paint as early as possible. This will allow you more time to set up your marker, pod up and get a game plan established.

One of the most important things a Team Captain should have their players do is walk the field prior to the game. This is important, as you can get a better perspective of the playing field, and work out different angles that will work when fighting the opposing side during the game. By walking the field, you will also see what routes work and what ones will lead you into an costly ambush that could mean dropping a mission.

This weeks question is: What do you think the most important task is prior to game on?
Next week we will be discussing the issue of playing the team’s first event.

Until next time,
Josh Foote

How to build your paintball team – Friday Frag

Welcome to another edition of The Friday Frag. Last week I left everyone with the question regarding how many Captains there should be on a team. The answer to this should always be 1. The reasoning behind this is simple, when you have too many people making decisions, problems will arise. If the work load gets to be too much for one person, the Team Captain should look into bringing on a Co-Captain. The Co-Captain will take his direction from the Team Captain, and will eliminate any confusion you may come across from two different, but equal points of view.

Recruiting paintball team members

Recruiting paintball team members is critical for new teams

Now the topic of recruitment is something that is different with every team in how they go about doing it. What may work for one team may not work for another and vice versa. What I am going to write about should not be taken as the end all-be all guide to it. I will give you some suggestions from the different methods I have utilized or have seen other teams utilize when it came to bolstering their roster of players. There are some basic factors that should never vary when it comes to recruiting however.

These basic factors can be summed up with who/what/where/when and why are you recruiting? Regardless if you are a milsim or hybrid team, you should have all of these questions answered before you start looking to recruit players to your roster. Let’s brake down the 5 W’s of recruiting:

Who – Who are you recruiting? Are they like minded players that will fit the team’s format?

What – What type of players are you recruiting? Are they experienced or still doe-eyed at game on?

Where – Where are you recruiting from? Are you posting flyers at local fields or are you posting adds online?

When – When are you starting to recruit?

Why – Why are you recruiting?

Seems simple doesn’t it? However, you would be surprised at how many teams will recruit any person that shows interest and not put any thought into who they are recruiting. Those teams do not last long, as their loose recruitment policy increases the likelihood of the team bringing on a scumbag or cheater. (I consider both to be one in the same.) The teams that have survived the 2-3 year mark are the ones that have a strict recruitment policy in place that insures the longevity of their team.

To combat this, some teams post strict guidelines of what they are looking for. This can be simple as owning your own gear and having a job, to requiring you to purchase the brand of marker that the team has a sponsorship. Another method I have seen is for teams to hold try outs at their local home field. The purpose of these try outs, is for the team to evaluate the player on and off the field and see how they mesh with the team. For some teams it may be a day of rec play, but for others, they make ask you to come to 4-5 games before they make their decision.

One method I have seen teams employ is the quantity to get quality method. What these teams will do, is ask 10 people to come out and play a few games, and slowly but surely, they will start to weed themselves out, so out of the initial 10 players, you may get only 2 or 3 quality players. While similar to that of the try out method, it allows the player to interact more with the team off the field and away from the field.

In closing, I can not stress enough that the new recruits need to feel welcomed to the team. No one wants to join a group to become instantly an outsider. Take it slow when you look for players, there is no reward for showing up to an event with 100 players, especially if they all suck!

This weeks question is: Which of the 5 W’s do you feel is the most important?

Next week we will be discussing the issue of attending the team’s first event.

Until next time,

 

Josh Foote

Forming your first Paintball team – The Friday Frag

Welcome to this weeks addition of The Friday Frag. I left last weeks column (Starting with a solid foundation) with the question about how many people you feel is needed to form the “core group” for your new team. The answer to this is all dependent upon on what type of team you are looking to form. There really is no set group needed to form a team, so don’t feel you need x-amount of people; otherwise you can not start a team. Trust me when I say that should not be the case at all. I have seen some really good teams that were comprised of only two players. All teams have to start somewhere, need it be 2 friends from school, or a group of people from work. What is crucial is that you all get along and share the same mindset, the numbers will come.

When you are establishing your team, you should come up with a checklist of sorts to keep your new team on the right track. A sample checklist would consist of setting bylaws, forming a chain of command, divvying out duties to everyone and so on. This is important because when you are including everyone in the team formation process, they tend to feel that they have more of an ownership in the teams’ survival and will be less likely to leave if the team hit hard times down the road. (A side note, all teams hit the wall sooner or later, no team is perfect, every team has dealt with drama, because after all we are all human.)

Chicago Aftershock started small. Photo: PBX3

Paintball teams start small. Photo: Chicago Aftershock via PaintballX3.com

Now, the chain of command on a paintball team is one of the most important things to get out of the way in the early stages of the team formation period. In the beginning, you should only have 1 Team Captain and 1 XO or Co-Captain, as this cuts down on the confusion from newer members when looking for a answer to any questions they may have on different issues. (From what marker brand to use, to team uniform.) Some teams work well with more then 1 Team Captain, but from my experience with the issue, it is too much of a pain due to different people having different opinions, and this can lead to a division amongst your team. The KISS (Keep It Simple Stupid) method works best, as it will cut down on a lot of the major problems the team will run into.

When you are first forming your team, you have to be mindful that no one wants to join a new team to become a private and be yelled at. However, in the same mindset, you can not have everyone who is joining the team become an officer of some sort. The expression that best fits this description is “Too many Chiefs and not enough Indians.” This goes back with forming the chain of command, to many times I have seen a new team that was 75% “officers” of some sort with the rest of the bottom ranks being comprised of the new players. In situations such as this, it is best to tread lightly when you are bringing new members on, as it will quickly get old for the people on the bottom.

After the chain of command has been established, you will need to get started with divvying out duties to the people on the team. Not only will this take all the work off of your shoulders, but will help give the people a purpose for being on the team. These jobs can range from setting up practices, to contacting fields about upcoming events to creating a website. You being the team captain can not do it all. (I have tried and it quickly grows old!) When you are giving out roles to your core group, be sure to take note of their talents. One player may be good with computers, so having him make your website would be a no brainer. The same should go with everything else, one member maybe good with math, so having him handle the money for events would be wise.

This weeks question is: How many captains do you think there should be on a new team?

Next week we will be discussing the issue of recruitment.

Until next time.
Josh Foote

Scenario Paintball: The Friday Frag

Welcome to a new paintball series entitled “The Friday Frag” hosted by Josh Foote.

The Friday Frag is going to deal with building a successful team and all the ups and downs that comes with it. I can tell you from experience that there will be times when you just want to throw your hands up and walk away from it all. In my blog I am going to cover all the aspects that are needed to build a successful team from the ground up. From picking your core players and designating jobs and titles, to dealing with the politics of paintball, to making the hard decision to “cut the fat” even if it is friends you have known for years. I will be blunt, but that should be expected from someone who was born and raised in the great State of New Jersey.

Paintball teams require a core group of players

What is it you may ask? Well, it is going to be a little of everything from the perspective of a jaded scenario paintball player. In my playing career I have seen it all from all sides of the industry. I have written articles ranging from scenario tactics to sponsorship tips for magazines, been a Tech/Company Representative for one of the industries largest companies at 4000+ player events, helped test and develop gear that players are using today and so on.

For those that do not know who I am, my name is Josh Foote and I am the Captain of the Delta Paintball Team and the owner of Delta Paintball, Inc. A little background about my playing career is: I have generaled and been in the command staff for some of the largest scenario games in the United States, I have won numerous MVP awards, captained MVT and MoFo winners. In addition I have been the Captain of the Delta Paintball Team for the last 10 years, in that time frame we were seen as being at the forefront of scenario paintballs reemergence in 2006. The team has enjoyed actual sponsors from the paintball industries top companies and has traveled across the United States playing the sport we love. Along the way we have played with some great players and teams, but with that we have also played with some scumbags.

Starting with a solid foundation

All of the successful “pro” teams have been built on a solid foundation that is commonly referred to as being the “core group.” As with everything in life, people come and go as their interests dictate, however that core group is always there. I can not stress that like minded individuals is crucial to establishing the solid foundation needed for any team to achieve success. You as a team captain or team member should always take a step back and view your team from that of an outsider and see if you can see the core group of players that I am referring to.

I have always stated that the shelf life of any team is usually 2-3 years. In that time frame, the team will either form an identity on and off the field, or the members will slowly gravitate towards those teams that share the same goals or identity that they are looking for. This can be something as simple as a player wishing to be on a “Milsim” team that solely runs missions at events or one looking for more of the party atmosphere where paintball comes second to the Friday night bash.

Every week I am going to leave you with a question to think about, there is no right or wrong answer with these; it is geared towards allowing you to take that step back and look at your team and possibly ask questions that you may never thought to ask yourself. Please feel free to contact me if you have any questions or requests for topics for me to touch on regarding building a “pro” scenario team.

This weeks question is: How many players do you think should be needed to form the “core group.”

Next week we will start the process by establishing the core group.

Until next time.

 -Josh Foote