Paintball is a fast paced action packed battle where even a fraction of a second can be the difference between living or dying. The adrenalin begins to pump and everything seems like it’s moving at a million miles an hour. When you’re running, gunning, jumping and diving it’s easy to lose your composure and fall into bad habits.



One of the fundamental skills in paintball is the ability to keep

your marker up and ready to fire at all times. It’s a very simple principle, but when put into practice becomes a very difficult task. Often a player who frequently lowers their marker has no recollection of it ever happening. The heat of the battle takes over, primal instinct kicks in and everything goes out the window. Even the very best paintballers have problems maintaining a level barrel at all times.


The primary reason for maintaining a level barrel is to eliminate the time it takes for you to bring the marker to your shoulder, level the barrel at the target and fire. When all this is added up it takes most people about half a second to react, then the paintball itself takes slightly above 1 second to travel the length of the field. That’s over 1.5 seconds between your reaction and the paintball hitting a target at the end of the field.


Keeping your marker level not only helps you with reaction time and speed but it helps to train your brain and mould you into a better player. When your marker is up and in front of your face at all times it naturally teaches you to keep your head up at all times. You begin to see the game of paintball in a different light. Everything you see you can instantly shoot at. Your marker movement becomes a part of your overall movement. Your eyes and your marker become one. You can fire, move and fire again instantly. Running and gunning just happens. You naturally begin to play much tighter than before and you can dominate your opponent through superior speed and movement.



The best thing you can do to help drill the marker-up principle into your head is to just simply train that way. Focus purely on always keeping your marker level, whether you’re running, loading, peeking, mugging or jumping, just keep that marker dead straight and aim it exactly where your eyes are looking. Every time you train you’re not there to look pretty or shoot fools, you’re there to practice and learn. Perfect practice makes perfect. By not practicing perfect technique when training you are potentially developing bad habits, which could be very hard to break in the long run.




The key ideas to focus on are:

  1. Keep the marker between your eyes, and always move it where you’re looking.
  2. When loading focus on the barrel remaining level, don’t dip your barrel or lower your marker entirely.
  3. When you’re breaking out keep the marker up and your head up. It’s important to know where the other team is going and this will help you learn how to run and gun effectively.
  4. Train your peripheral vision. You know where potential threats are going to come from, so don’t get tunnel vision. Focus your peripheral and pay attention to it.
  5. Be aware of your elbows and try to maintain the smallest profile you can. The opponent should only see half your mask and your marker.
  6. When you switch shooting sides, switch hands. Shoot left handed out the left side of a bunker and right handed out the right side of a bunker. DO NOT lower your marker while switching sides.
  7. Communicate. You’re going to be seeing a lot more, communicating that to your team is important.


All of this can be practiced at training or at home in front of the TV. Even just thinking about it whenever your mind wanders to paintball helps to mentally prepare you.


Happy Hunting,

 ~ Mark Eatock