Tuesday, May 11, 2010

The Noobie's Guide to Improving Yourself from Outside the Field

So you've just started getting into paintball. You like the sport. You have a team (or you're looking for one). You think about paintball all the time, and you can't wait til the next session. You're motivated. You're eager. I AM PAINTBALLER, HEAR ME ROAR!

Now you're looking for ways to improve yourself... or so I assume, since you're still here with me... and you're wondering what can you do with yourself during those dreary non-practice days to speed up your transformation from this...

... to this.

1. You Gotta Work it Work it.

Being fit helps you last during tournaments, especially if you're a core player and you're playing just about every game. A lot of people underestimate how tiring speedball can be, especially during tournaments. From experience, if you're tired, you generally get sloppy. Your brain slows down, you start playing loosely, and you make mistakes.

If you're going to be a top-notch paintballer, you need to be fit!

Basic cardio and strength is good. Jogging, swimming (proper laps, not splashing around), even cycling, they're all good. It's a lot easier to think and to move when you don't constantly feel like you're oxygen-deprived, and your heart's about to burst.

Ideally, a minimum of 30 minutes of cardio 2-3 times a week. Make sure you work up to a good heart rate. Toss in some good strength training. Pushups, situps, squats, at the very least. No pain, no gain sweetheart. Besides, think of how sexy you're going to look... and just in case you need extra motivation: Stamina in the field = Stamina in bed. Woohoo!

2. Practice Makes Perfect

Practise all your in-field movements, like snap-shooting, breakouts, and even simple things like changing hands. The more used to a movement you are, the more comfortable, easier and faster it will be (and the better you'll look). These can be done in the field, or in the comfort of your home. For obvious reasons, we don't recommend practicing snap-shooting in the office, unless you don't mind looking like a tie-wearing spastic teakettle.

3. Get Comfortable...

... with your marker. If you have one, you can start by just holding it (fully set-up with tank and hopper). No kidding. It pays to be comfortable with your marker. Move around with it, and get used to holding the marker. You should preferably be able to dance around in the field, and still hold your marker steady. Keep your face as close as possible to your bolt. You should be more or less huddled around the marker, with your elbows tucked in.

A more in-depth explanation about how to hold your marker can be found here.

You can also do reloading drills, where you keep the marker up with your trigger hand while your other hand pretends to reload. Sandie and I do this for a full minute on each side while watching TV. Alternate between your right and your left. At first it was excruciating - we felt like dying while watching the stopwatch crawl its way to a minute, but now we can alternate for 4-6 minutes non-stop.

What if you don't have a marker? Use free weights, or even a 1.5L bottle of water. The point is to build those muscles, it doesn't matter what you use!

4. Streeeeeeetch!

That's right. Bend over honey, and touch those toes! Stretching keeps you limber and flexible, useful when you're trying to do things like fold yourself as small possible to fit in the snake.

Stretching also increases your range of motion, decreasing your likelihood of getting injured, and increasing the strength of your movements. The best time for some serious stretching is after you've warmed up, but light stretches can be done anytime. Be sure to go easy and take things gradually.

Here are two decent stretching charts to get you started:

A few tips:
  • Do balanced stretching: Make sure to stretch both sides, left-right or front-back. For example, if you're stretching your abs/stomach, make sure to stretch your back too.
  • Smooth and slow is the way to go. Yeah, it rhymes. Jokes aside, don't jerk or bounce while stretching. It's easy to overstretch the muscle if you do.
  • If it hurts, definitely stop. You should feel a slight tension, and nothing more. Pushing til you feel pain won't make you a gymnast overnight (but it might injure you).

5. You Are What You Eat

Some people are blessed with fantastic metabolisms. I can only envy those who still look lean despite a daily diet that's more or less like... waffles and bacon for breakfast, pork chops for lunch and Burger King for dinner.

But daily indulgences aside, you should make sure you're adequately nourished pre-tournament. The golden words to preventing cramps are... potassium, magnesium, calcium. These minerals help to maintain normal muscle function, and deficiencies can result in cramps.

Here are samples of foods rich in...

Potassium: Bananas, lean meat, lean poultry, lean fish, avocados, kiwis, potatoes (the peel in particular), spinach, oranges, broccoli, mushrooms, cabbage, tomatoes, etc.

Magnesium: Spinach, broccoli, almonds, brazil nuts, cashew nuts, pine nuts, pumpkin seeds, bananas, other green veggies, etc.

Calcium: Milk (of course), cheese, tofu, almonds, soy beans, broccoli, cabbage/bok choy, etc.

These should be part of your daily diet. Preferably not fried or deep-fried. Grilled, roasted, or steamed are all good.

Besides eating the right things, you should be eating at the right times. Make sure you eat a good breakfast, not too large, a minimum of half an hour before you start moving vigorously. Also make sure you've got enough carbs before starting, but not too much sugar. Sugar spikes also come with sugar crashes.

Healthy eating is a habit. You don't have to completely give up beer, fried chicken and pizzas, but keep it as a treat, rather than as part of your daily diet.

6. Know the Rules

Never hurts. If it's a slow day in the office, take a bit of time to read up on the rules, especially if you're playing a major tournament or league. A little dreary reading is way better than getting pulled out off the break or getting a 1-for-1 or 2-for-1 for abso-fricking-lutely stupid mistakes like not touching your barrel to the starting gate (ask me how I found this one out).

Never assume the rules are the same from tournament to tournament, most tournaments have their own rulebooks and the you never know when the nitty gritties could make or break your game.

And... that's it. If you've got any other pearls of wisdom to add, do let me know!

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Rocknrollas win their second medal in a row!

Check out the Rocknrollas on the field in the recent 2nd leg of the Malaysian Paintball Official Circuit! The team went home with a silver medal at the end of the tournament.

A million thanks to team Macdev Ronin for training us up to where we are, and special congratulations to them on their first Champion's medal!

Also, special thanks to Desmond Foo (ResidentEvilChef) for capturing us on his Evil Gogcam.

The official results of the 2nd Leg of the MPOC are:

1st Macdev Ronin
2nd Demonz Red
3rd X-Fox
4th Perth City Trauma

1st Red Sevens
2nd CMX
3rd Urban X
4th Eastsiderzz

1st Overkill
2nd CMX Bucaneers
3rd Ultimate Speed
4th ZOO

1st KSK Flash
2nd Rock & Rolla
3rd Redhawks
4th Mystic Assassin 2

What's Happened So Far in 2010

It's 4 months into 2010, and the Rocknrollas have had a great start to the year. Here's a quick recap of what we've been up to.

JANUARY: Rocknrollas win their first medal (2nd runner up) in the 1st leg of the MPOC 2010!

MARCH: Rocknrollas get their first corporate sponsor - FusionExcel! Every member of the team receives a quantum pendant and quantum flask. Thank you, FusionExcel!

APRIL: The Rocknrollas are featured in MyEG Extra Time with ESPN Star Sports!

APRIL: Rocknrollas continue their streak with a silver medal for the 2nd leg of the MPOC 2010!

In addition, the Rocknrollas now have a spiffy team logo, with matching banner, and team profile.

Photos by the renowned Desmond Foo (www.residentevilchef.com)

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Acknowledgements - WCA 09

The Rocknrollas would like to say a huge thank you to the MacDev Ronins, for deigning to train with us rookies, for guiding and supporting us, and for giving us the opportunity to learn from one of the best teams in Malaysia.

We'd also like to thank our sponsor Azodin Paintball for the opportunity to train with the Azodin Kaos markers prior to the WCA. They were fantastic in the field, especially with our own hoppers and tanks.

Another word of thanks for our other sponsor Napshot Paintball, for the support and encouragement given during the WCA, as well as the excellent technical support during emergencies.

Thank you to Shamsher Opherden, aka Terry, for being a fantastic coach!

Thank you to Paintball TAG at Bukit Kiara Equestrian & Country Resort, for being a great field to train in and for having the WCA field up early.

Also grateful to all the other people who supported us, who came to help us out and to take pictures of us, as well as the other teams we played against in the WCA, for playing a great game.

Finally, thank you to PALS Events, for organizing the World Cup Asia - Asia's Largest International Paintball Tournament!

Well done, Rocknrollas. Top 5 in WCA 2009!

Now that we've more or less had a few days to recover, it's time to update this thing.

The Rocknrollas placed 5th in Division 4 in the World Cup Asia 2009!

Despite running around somewhat like headless chickens in our first few games, the team managed to pull it together by the fourth or fifth game. We'd initially scored a few draws due to technicalities - one team didn't take the flag, and we managed to hold off another team until the time ran out - but things weren't looking very bright with one loss and two draws. It wasn't til the fourth game that everyone got their panties on straight, and started whooping some ass.

At the end of the first day, with 3 wins, 2 losses, and 2 draws, we were the 10th out of 19 teams, which qualified us for the second round on Sunday.

Now this is where things started getting interesting. The remaining 16 teams were split into 4 groups of 4 teams, and each group played round robin, which means each team had 3 games to play. We won two games, and lost one, pushing us up into the quarterfinals.

The team was pumped. We'd gone into the World Cup Asia with absolutely no expectations, and some hope, but here we were in the quarterfinals! THE QUARTERFINALS! It's like... damn.

We'd had a few minor incidents - one team member lost his cool and started screaming at the refs because he got pulled out for a bunker that fell over (BUNKER DOWN!), which resulted in a 1 for 1, another team member dove into a bunker and gashed his hand on a large rock in the mud, and I personally got pulled for a false start because my barrel wasn't touching the starting gate - but the team pulled through in the end.

One member of the team in particular shone from outside the field, helping the team to pull things together, filling pods, getting paint, wiping us down, cheering us from the sidelines, and deliberately sitting out of games to make sure the strongest team possible was on the field.

There's no way to tell what would have happened if that person hadn't done so. Maybe we'd have done better, maybe not, but I'm grateful nonetheless. Both for the sacrifice made for the sake of the team, and because I love this person to bits anyway.

We lost 2 games out of 3 in the quarterfinals. I'll never forget watching my team crowd around the scoreboard, only to slump and walk slowly and quietly away. There was a heavy silence around our gear table, but it only lasted until I added up the points and realized that we'd actually managed to get 5th place.

Now, 5th place is not a podium finish, but it's helluva lot better than last in the group. Considering the team had initially placed closer to the tail end of things in previous tournaments and we weren't expecting much, this was a major achievement for us.

There were a few people who said things like, "Geez, it's just D4, if you can't win D4, don't bother with D1", but I say screw them. Rome wasn't built in a day, neither can a D1 team. Anyone who says they knew they were destined for greatness the minute they picked up a marker is either a fantastic liar, in denial, or savagely delusional.

The team's been practicing hard, and they did their best. They supported each other, pushed each other on, and kept each other in check, depending on what was needed at the time. They worked like a team. They had fun. And that to me, is what really counts.

I'm proud of you, Rocknrollas.