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Tuesday, October 31, 2006

The Bounding Overwatch

The most important skill for every player and team to master …
By Bruce 'Charon' Johnston

originally published in issue 2:2 of RECON Magazine

You are trying to become the best paintballer at your field. You play every chance you get, read all the magazines and watch all the videos. No matter what you try there is one skill you must completely master before you can take your game to the next level. One skill more than any other will make you the master of woodsball or tourneyball - the "Bounding Overwatch".
The bounding overwatch, sometimes called leapfrogging, fire and movement, pepper-potting or fire team rushes is a basic military tactic used by every armed force in the world. "Bounding Overwatch" was first employed by the Canadian Corp during the battle of Vimy Ridge in France during World War I. The tactic proved to be extremely effective, and military forces across the globe were quick to take notice. Since WWI, virtually every country with an organized infantry has incorporated "bounding overwatch" their standard training regimen.

The principle of the bounding overwatch is very simple and very effective. One player watches and shoots while another player bounds forward for the elimination. The Bounding Overwatch can take three basic forms, Alternating Bounds, Successive Bounds and Self Overwatch. Each form has its relative strengths and weaknesses. To become a great team that can dominate the woodsball field, you and your teammates must know how to perform the various types of Bounding Overwatch and execute the appropriate one at a moment's notice.

Alternating Bounds
As the name suggests, players executing the "Alternating Bounds" tactic alternate between advancing and providing support fire. One player or group of players stops and shoots at the opposition, providing the overwatch. Players who are not involved in the current "overwatch" role bound forward and take up forward positions. Then, these players act as overwatch while their teammates in the rear move forward.
While moving, all players should try to spread out to change the angle of attack on the target and reduce the avenues of escape for the opposing team. The process repeats itself until the bounding players can move in to score the elimination. It is important that the bounding players do not move ahead to the point where the overwatch players can no longer cover them. Alternating Bounds is the most rapid and secure of the three forms of Bounding Overwatch.

Successive Bounds
Successive Bounds refers to a player or group of players that remains stationary to provide overwatch while the bounding players advance from bunker to bunker. Although Successive Bounds works very well in woodsball during a chance contact, it is most common in speedball. Typically, a back player will shoot continuously to keep an opponent behind a bunker, thereby giving his front player an opportunity to move in for the elimination. As with Alternating Bounds, it is important for the bounding players not to move beyond the range of the overwatch player. Also, unlike Alternating Bounds the bounding player must remain close to the line of fire from the overwatch player to best utilize the maximum amount of protection while moving. The overwatch player must - at all times - be aware of the position of the bounding player. The last thing you want to do is eliminate the player you are trying to protect.

Self Overwatch
The "Self Overwatch" is the least desirable and riskiest of all three, but sometimes you gotta do what you gotta do. As the name implies, you are performing both the bound and the overwatch yourself. You will shoot and then move to another bunker closer to the opposition, repeating the process until you are within striking range. There are numerous risks involved in trying to act as both the bounder and overwatch. When players Self Overwatch, they tend to develop tunnel vision and focus on nothing but the opposing player they are moving towards. Be mindful: An experienced defender will watch the paintballs as they pass over the bunker and determine where you are moving by the change in the angle of your shots. The Self Overwatch is not recommended except as a last ditch effort to get yourself out of trouble or as part of a larger plan.

Whether you play speedball or woodsball, moving up the field to score eliminations quickly and efficiently is key. The Bounding Overwatch is a skill that every player and team MUST master in order to be successful.

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