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Playing Back

Playing Back

Written by PSUGhost

 So your fronts are running down the field tearing stuff up. Your mids are locking down lanes and filling in for the fronts as they make their runs. That leaves you in the back of the field. Little old you. Your nothing more then a immobile turret packed with 9+ cases of paint and enough air to cover the earth 3 times over right? WRONG.

Many people have the mistaken opinion that back players have two jobs. Shoot more paint then humanly possible and have a loud enough mouth to make any cheerleader jealous. While these are a few of the basics of a back players job, they are the most generic and probably most inaccurate way to explain the back of the field. So let's look at their role.

The Positions: There are two main positions you can play in the back field. The more demanding of the two is back center. This guy is the communication HUB of the field and the one who needs to make sure the left side of the field knows what the right side is doing. Too many times one side will be completely clear and the other side has no idea. Your job is to also control the firing lanes. You see someone being a little too nosey into your side of the field, you close down the lane and get one of the other players to cover that guy. Also as players stop shooting to move or to reload you need to fill that shooting lane. Being able to shoot with both hands is a MUST!!
The second position is Tape. These guys lock down lanes and do the real paint spraying and communicating with their fronts. It's important that the fronts and backs have a good on field relationship so that they can read each other.

On field Commander: Face it, you can see a lot more then anyone else on the field. From the start of the game your gun is up and your eyes are alert. You gotta keep track of where everyone went on your side of the field. Then feed this information to your fronts and mids as their faces hit the mud. You also need to let people know when to move and when to hold onto their butts. Your front player is your remote control death machine.

Traffic Guard: A good back player knows how to prevent movement on his field. He knows where people are likely to try and move and puts enough paint in the air that should someone be stupid enough to even try the move they will have a few hundred reminders on the side of their heads. Watch a few games and walk the fields. Know where the largest and most common moves will be made and watch them. Keep a steady stream of paint there. Human nature tells us that shooting at nothing is a waste, but when you just see a flash of red go through your stream and it materializes to be a player with his hand up, it's all worth it.

Front Hunter: The front players are more then likely your top threats. Their back players, chances are, won't be able to hit you or it won't break at that distance. But fronts is another story. Here is where experience really comes in. Watching a player you need to be able to judge what type of player they are. If they come out of one side, will they do it again? Use any clues you can to get a step ahead of him. Then put a line right where he is due to come out and cap him in the face. It really helps to be a good snap shot too as chances are they will be some of the best snap shots on the team.

Keying: This is described more in depth in another article. But if you can make them lose a body before the game even really starts then you have a huge advantage. When the game starts simply focus on one thing. Getting the most paint in the air as possible at the most likely location for a move. Don't aim for the person, you will never hit them. Simply aim for where they will be going and don't shift your aim. Chances are if you have enough going, you'll get them as they go.

When to send? A lot of back players are not willing to send their fronts on runs. They don't want to be wrong and cost the team a player. So how do you know when to send a runner to go do someone? Look for clues. If someone ahs been coming out of the right side for the past ten snaps chances are he is looking right. Tuck him in, get him to focus on you more then what's going on around him...Then scream for your left front to rock his world.

Closing with a PA system: It's true that fronts need to be some of the loudest players on the field. With the amount of paint they shoot they need to speak over their guns. But they should also be the most experienced players. Remember that the field moves from the front to the back. So as the game gets toward closing time it's the backs who need to be the ones that can pull off that 3 on 1 that will win it for you. Or the guy who you know can bunker someone and come out clean EVERY time. If your in the back field don't be afraid to move up when the game gets closer to closing time, and NEVER think that cause you play back field you don't need to know how to play anything other then a stand up. You'd be surprised the number of times you see a back player face first in a snake.

Why Shoot? A lot of newer players don't understand the concept of why back players have to shoot so much and it's easy to see their confusion. It all comes down to distances and speeds (among other things), for a front to hit a running player at 20 feet it takes only a fraction of a second. But for you to hit that same player across the field it can take a full second, and by then he's already long on his way in. Also you can see more of the field and focus on a lot more, for that you need to make sure no one wants to move. Trust me, paintballs flying past you at 22 Balls per second is enough to make me sit tight and call in a little help, or wait till his fingers get tired. Also remember, the more balls in the air, the more likely a successful hit.

Going into the mind and position of a back player is a dangerous place to go. It's the final resting place of some of the best players. Not because they got too old to make 50's off the break, but because they can read a game like a book, and know a player like his own teammate in only a second. To fully understand the back of the field would take an entire lifetime, so just work on it slowly.
Trust you back player, and when the camera's on you for that outrageous 4 person run through. Remember who made sure they all had their heads between their legs while you left hot spots on their backs.

See also:
Off the break: Back

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