Communication is Critical - Part 1/ 2
A player who masters communication skills on the field is very valuable; and a team that does it - is lethal.
This article contains content mostly taken from the Paintball Warrior Tactics book (Chapter 2, Paintball Warrior Skills, Communication is Critical).
This article is part one of a two-part series on the critical skills of communication in paintball.In Part 1, I explain the foundational communications skills you have to master personally. Then in Part 2 we will look at the more important "team" communication skills your team will need to work like a well oiled machine, destroying your opponents at will.
Communication is Critical - Part 1
There are three key individual skills you have to master.
- Verbal communication
- Hand signal communication
- Radio communication
In general you should prefer to use these communication methods in the order listed above.
Verbal communication is better than hand signals because it is quicker, conveys more information faster to more team members.
Hand signals are the ticket if you are using stealth and are undetected.
Radio communication should be reserved for special communication over long distances only or stealthy communication if everyone using a radio has a throat-mic and earpiece. Never use a radio to communicate in a firefight if everyone you need to talk to is within earshot. Instead, simply yell.
To correctly communicate verbally, there are three things to remember:
- If you want to be heard over the din of a paintball battle, from any distance more than six feet away, you must yell. Yell as loud as you can in most cases. Anyone on your team not immediately next to you is relying on you to yell (scream if you have to). They need the information you have.
- Be specific. This takes a bit of practice, but be sure you are communicating succinctly and clearly. Your teammates need you to be clear. Use codes when appropriate. See: “Communication Codes”
- Repeat everything. Repeating the information you have (and also repeating what others are yelling) helps all your teammates to form a mental picture of the situation.
To correctly communicate using a radio, there are a few things to remember:
- Speak in a normal conversational voice. Do not yell. Do not even raise your voice. Most radios will turn loud speech into a crackled distortion that is useless and ties up the airwaves.
- Use it sparingly. Unlike verbal communication, radio communication lacks context. It is harder for the listeners to form a visual picture from the radio communication because often they cannot see what you are referring to. Also, when any one person is using the radio, that means no one else can. This can be totally frustrating for someone trying to communicate a game critical piece of information, when someone else is giving a play-by-play account of a firefight he is having in the back left corner. Check with your squad leader about radio protocols and when it is appropriate to use the radio.
- If you are using a PTT (push to talk) button, make sure it is on a part of your gear that will not get accidentally pushed when you are crawling or kneeling. Throat mic’s with earpieces and remote PTT buttons are preferred radio gear for Paintball Warriors. They allow you much more freedom and are much stealthier. Be sure to mount your PTT button in a place on your gear where you will not accidentally push it during a fire-fight or while crawling or crouching.
HAND SIGNAL COMMUNICATION
To correctly use hand signals, remember to keep it simple:
- Make sure everyone on the squad knows the hand signals. It does not do any good if you have spent five hours memorizing every hand signal used by the US Navy Seals if nobody else on the team knows what the hell you are flailing your arms around for. You might as well be performing an interpretive dance.
- Keep it simple. For most squads, half a dozen hand signals are more than enough. Essential hand signals are covered below.
|Hand signal for “Freeze!” & Take cover slowly.|
|Hand signal for “I see…”|
|Hand signal for “I hear…”||
|Hand signal for “three”. Use fingers to identify numbers.|
|Hand signal for “enemies that way” (Fingers pointed with thumb pointed down)|
|Hand signal for “let’s go now” (sweeping arm with fingers pointed forward).|
in Part 2 we will look at the more important "team" communication skills your team will need to work like a well oiled machine, destroying your opponents at will.