How to Start a Paintball Team
We regularly get emails asking how to start a paintball team or what do I need to start a paintball team. In this guild we will talk about starting a team, keeping it organized and getting sponsorship.
First off, consider joining a team. There are always teams seeking more players. If you've only been playing for a couple of years you can learn a lot from being on a team. Then, when it feels right, you can start your own. Just be sure not to burn bridges behind you or steal players from your old team.
Usually the biggest problem people have when starting a team is finding enough good people to really get something up and running. Or getting enough people to consistently show up for the events that get scheduled. Populate your team with more people than you need. Have alternates and/or backups.
You can find other potential team members by going to tournaments, open play events, at school or online at regional threads of popular forums(PBNation, PBReview).
Sort through who is trustworthy and capable.
1. Have their own equipment and maintain it well?
2. Follow through on promises(practice dates, meeting times, event dates, show up on time)?
3. Have transportation either by themselves or from parents? Having to pick someone up every time can become a problem. What if you're running late or aready have a full car?
4. Have the money to afford paying for themselves without borrowing money? There is nothing worse than someone owing you or other team mates money. Lending money to a teammate is a quick way to break up a team.
5. Have an attitude that you would be proud to represent and the team you've worked so hard to build? Can they control their emotions during heated tournament play? Are they swearing or acting like complete morons when something doesn't go their way?
Remember, a persons attitude and reliability can out weigh their playing ability. I'd take 10 guys who have a medium playing ability and are trustworthy over one guy who can play great but acts like a complete looser. Your sponsors will agree with that. Playing ability can be learned.
If you haven't done so already, come up with a team name. Vote on it as a team and agree to it. Just remember it sticks with you and you'll have to present it later to sponsors. Don't come up with an offensive name that involves violence or an inappropriate theme. I've previously written an article on help finding a cool team name.
Examine your team players for individual skills to determine who will play important rolls or be captain. Don't just appoint someone for a task because they are the oldest person or the best player. Choose who will be good at making phone calls to fields for registering or making contact with a potential sponsor. This person should have good organizational skills, communication skills and be committed to the team. A different person can be in charge of on field tactics or split up different jobs to each player.
A website is a great way to help a team get started. Post your scheduled events and practices(past and future) and add contact info for the team. Describe who you are, what kind of paintball you play and where you are from. Don't spam the website with crap about needing sponsors, it sounds just plain dumb and will get you no where. There are several free web hosts where you can go and build a free web site. Build it slow with two or three pages and add pages to it over time. Content is the most difficult thing to come up with so have everyone on the team contribute something. Do write ups about the events you played, keep adding things.
Find a local field that everyone on your team likes to play at. Designate it as your home field and link to it on your web site. Talk to owner and try to come up with an agreement on practice fees. Offer to have your team work there for a few hours one day a week if the field let's you practice there for a reduced field fee or a paint discount or BYOP at your practices. Don't expect too much immediately, but do a little more and ask for a little more every year.
Search for fields with affordable tournaments. Don't focus on the value of the prizes at events as much as you do the cost of entry fees and paint prices. If your team can play tournaments at an affordable trophy dash event more often that a higher priced event with big prizes, then do it. The more often you can play events, the better your team will get at a faster rate.
Make your mark at events you attend and brand yourselves. Create a team logo. Get a big vinyl team banner made with the logo and your website info. Leave plenty of space on it to add sponsors later. Shop as a team to buy matching jerseys, put your logo on them and have everyone choose a number. Get pictures as a team in action, as a group posing and individual pictures.
Start a team resume. Don't do it in one weekend, take time to build it with everyone contributing to it. Find examples of resumes and be original. Start submitting it to potential sponsors. We have a page dedicated to where you can apply - how to get paintball team sponsorships. Don't ever stop building your resume. Look at it and decide what you think would make your team stand out. Set that as your goal and work towards it.
There are always pro shops and paintball retailers offering paintball teams' discounts as a minor sponsorship. Get in on one of these and every year be sure to provide value to them beyond having their name on your banner and jerseys. Buy all your equipment there and get your friends to buy their equipment there. Every year that you represent them ask for a little more of a discount.
Do NOT under any circumstance ever talk negatively about any of the paintball businesses that are in your area(or any business). This is a surefire way to loose sponsorships and get a bad name for your team. If you didn't like a call at a tournament or the paint was bad at an event, just suck it up and live with it. Rationally and maturely present it at the time it happens if necessary, but then DROP IT. I can tell you that field owners DO NOT like to hear someone whining about anyone's paintball field. Make it a strict team policy to not bash anyone or any business.
Continually re-examine your team and the direction it's going. Make sure everyone on the team is working to better the team on the field as well as off the field. Continually assign tasks and help each other to keep things organized year after year. Set team goals, set individual goals and figure out what it takes to reach those goals.
Creating a team and maintaining it is easy if you have good people to support your purpose. When everyone contributes, getting sponsorships and keeping your team organized will happen like a well executed task. Choose your teammates wisely and you will succeed.
Posted by Redwood on 01/17/2007 ~ Updated 02/10/2011