#htmlcaption1 Woodsball Big Games Tournament Paintball Where Do You Fit In? More Paintball Tipps

Thursday, August 31, 2006

A New Look at the Speedball vs. Woodsball Debate!

By Bruce 'Charon' Johnston
originally published in the September 2006 issue of Action Pursuit Games

Within the paintball world the debate between speedball players and woodsball players over the virtues of their preferred type of play continues to burn. Both sides of the debate have become so entrenched in their beliefs that it seems this is a debate without resolution. One paintball team, the Tippinators, playing from Mersey Road Paintball in picturesque Nova Scotia, Canada has a unique perspective on the game from both sides of the debate.
Austin "Juno" Flaherty, Bruce "Charon" Johnston, Scott "Hired Gun" Knowles, and Bryan "McClare" McClare are the founding members of the popular Tippinators speedball team who frequently play tournament speedball on Saturdays and continue to play woodsball every Sunday. To the Tippinators paintball is paintball regardless of the field of play. The four hard core woodsballers who now find themselves in the middle of tourneyland, embody paintball's original concepts of fair play, honor, respect and having fun. This is the creed by which they live and play.

With roots firmly plated on both sides of the paintball fence the Tippinators can see from the perspective of both groups. As a member of the Tippinators, I think I have a unique perspective from both sides of the debate. I have discussed this issue with some of my teammates and have included their thoughts as well.

Austin Flaherty said,
Players look at people who play the opposite style of the game and say demeaning or unfounded things about the other style of play. For example woodsballers saying that speedball is just a bunch of guys shooting as much paint as possible (I've said it myself!) or Speedballers claiming that woodsballers need to get out of the past and into "the future" of paintball. Paintball is paintball, period.

Not all players have the same view of the game as Austin. If they did the debate would be over. Scott Knowles thinks that,
Yes the two games are different but both are still paintball. The things I hear and have seen are people perpetuating the argument by making comments about the price of markers, rates of fire, the weight and look of markers, cammo verses hyper colors and the kinds of fields the other plays on. The arguments on both sides make no sense. They are both different and special but they are both parts of the same game. It doesn't matter if you like chocolate or vanilla it is still ice cream.

Despite the differences there is a common thread that transcends the type of game you play. Bryan McClare has noticed one thing on both tourney Saturday's and woodsball Sunday's
The guys you want to get to know are the ones that are loud on the field and quiet off the field. They're intense in the game, and they'll help you improve your game afterwards. The proponents of each style of game continually extol the virtues of "their" game while fervently pointing out the flaws in the "other" game. The other Tippinators and I all agree that each type of play has it's own unique strengths and weaknesses.

Woodsball - Strengths
· Any person of any age or athletic ability can play
· Great place for new players to develop their skills at relatively low cost
· Relaxed atmosphere on the woodsball field. Ideal for forming new friendships
· A large variety of game types can be played on the same field
Speedball - Strengths
· The need for teamwork. To have any measure of success you must work as a team
· Fast pace, excitement and short duration of games make speedball ideal for television viewing thereby promoting paintball
· The advent of professional leagues give younger players a goal to which to strive
· Greater public notoriety of players makes acquiring sponsorship easier

Woodsball - Weaknesses
· Negative attitudes of some players toward speedball
· Lack of teamwork due to the informal nature of play
· Games can become too slow paced
· Newer players lacking skill due to inexperience

Speedball - Weaknesses
· Negative emotional outbursts and arguing by some players
· Disrespect shown to competitors and official by some players
· Cost of competitive level equipment
· Cost of paint due to large volumes shot during a game

Austin Flaherty encapsulated both side of the debate
Speedball is great because when tournaments are played it can be broadcast on TV to the general public, as it was on ESPN years ago, to promote the sport. Tournament ball is great; there are big teams, popular players, sponsorships and people can get into the statistics and such if they want.
Woodsball/Scenario Ball is much different, though it can also been known to draw crowds for charity events. The best part of woodsball is that there is something for everyone.

Bryan McClare agrees with Austin,
A lot of fields now have woods and speedball fields so the new guys get to see what speedball is like. Speedball is much more competitive, many tournaments, lots of practices, and a lot more recognition. Speedball is a fast paced, paintball flinging field where every second counts. Missing a chance to move a bunker could be missing a chance at the trophy. In the run of a day, it is not uncommon for players to go through 2000-4000 paintballs or more.

Woodsball seems to be more of a relaxed sport both on and off the field. Players on the field give it their all, both rookies and veterans, and after the game is over they are always excited about how the game went and talk to the other team about the previous battles. Woodsball also has something very unique to it - scenario games, where players form up a team and have a whole storyline and objectives to accomplish throughout the day. These can span over very large areas and just adds that little extra twist to the regular game. Woodsball also offers many other games such as elimination, capture the flag, escort the president, mutant, king of the hill, territory control, and many others.

Scott Knowles echoes his teammate's views
You must think more strategically playing woodsball and you definitely need better reflexes for speedball. In speedball you basically know that your opponents are in front of you while in woodsball you need eyes in the back of your head at times. You wont find a level playing field with inflated bunkers in the woods then again there aren't many trees on the speedball field. Both games are special and unique requiring different skill sets to excel.

The Tippinators love to play paintball, any kind of paintball. We can see the debate from both sides and can see first hand the misunderstanding and misconceptions that are fueling this long running debate. If the speedball versus woodsball debate must continue then at the very least we should learn to accept and acknowledge each game's differences and appreciate the special skills needed to play each type of game. Like Scott Knowles said "It doesn't matter if you like chocolate or vanilla it is still ice cream." It doesn't matter if you play speedball or woodsball it is still paintball.  

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