Types of People Who Play Paintball

Paintballers come from all types of backgrounds

Paintball is a world-wide game played by countless people from countless backgrounds. I have seen children as young as six and older people on social security playing the game. With such a broad variety of people, there’s no way to define the types of people that play. There are, though, a few general categories that majority (meaning more than half) of the paintball players I have met fall into. See if you fall into any of these general categories or if you are unique.

Young Teenager Under Parental Support

There are is sizeable group of pre-driving age teenagers who are actively involved in paintball. Many got their first taste at a friend’s birthday party or got a gun for Christmas and then have progressed in the sport. The emphasis on parental support is because, without a drivers license, most are dropped off by their parents and then spend long periods at the field. There are groups of this age that regularly spend days playing at a field and are fully supported in their endeavors by their parents. Some parents, fortunately, are enabling because they see how paintball benefits their child and they even will come and play, on occasion. Other parents, though, see it is a way to dump their kid for a day or evening and tend to let them hang out at a paintball field knowing that the owners will keep an eye on things. Players at this age tend to form teams and compete in junior-level tournaments.
Those that are really bit by the paintball gun will turn into the next category.

Young Adult

Young adults that play paintball are usually 18-30, employed and have no children. With the single lifestyle and the full time employment they generally have a little disposable income which they use to support their paintball interests.
These are the players that get heavily involved in the game and join competitive teams and travel to tournaments. Often players of this type will have a core group of paintball friends that also are friends outside of paintball – the majority of their social network may be linked to their interest in the sport. As they age, get more time consuming jobs or start having kids they tend to decrease, and eventually end, their involvement in the sport. You can commonly find these people on forums under the title, “getting out of paintball gearbag sale” in the classifieds. The competitive speedball teams almost all fall under this category.

Tag-Alongs

These are the friends that are brought along by those in other categories. These people generally rotate as the paintball aficionado routinely brings someone to the field with them. Some friends may come multiple times while others will only come once. The paintballer, though, will always come to the field with at least one person who is a relative neophyte in the sport.

Supportive Wife/Girlfriend

Very few women, proportionately, play paintball. One of the most common varieties is the wife or girlfriend of an avid paintballer who wants to spend time with their significant other.
Since their male counterpart is often on the paintball field, they tend to come and play, too. Some of the women in this category will eventually move to another category as they catch the paintball bug for themselves, but many will only come as long as their husband or boyfriend is involved in the sport.

Ex-Military

Men in the military have a natural propensity for paintball. While paintball strategy is significantly different from military strategy, the camaraderie and the chance to spend time in the outdoors is very reminiscent of many people’s military experience. Ex-military may fall into another category, but they don’t always. Many are slightly older than the young adults and have families and, once they leave the service, this is their weekly or bi-monthly approach to reconnecting with their military background. The ex-military paintballers almost always gravitate towards the woodsball field and favor mil-sim guns.

Back for More with the Kids

The young adults that are heavily involved with paintball almost always leave the sport for a time for the reasons mentioned previously. As they get on with their lives, though, they never forget their passion for the game and are always open to a chance to come back. These are the types that organize the work paintball team-building activities and always host the bachelor parties at a paintball field. As their kids get old enough to play paintball, they start to get back into the sport as a way to spend time with their kids and they are reminded just how much fun it is. While they are not as competitive as many of the younger crowd, they are the glue that holds many teams, particularly woodsball teams, together.

Everyone Else

These few categories do, in my mind, represent the majority of paintball players. In no way, though, does this represent all paintball players as many come from very distinct backgrounds or have different approaches to the sport. No matter what your background, you can enjoy this action-packed pastime.