Tuesday, December 2, 2008

First in the world!!!! Paintball in Singapore!!!!!

First in the world...that's how I call it. Paintballers from across the world. Let me introduce to you the world first paintball course for any beginners, newbies, noobies (whatever you call people who just started playing paintball) "Basic Tournament Orientation (BTO)". So what is this BTO? What is so special about the BTO? How is the BTO important to paintball in Singapore? Okay...here's the full picture of the BTO.

I am writing this and sharing the BTO...so that people from across the world will have a feel of how difficult is it for us (Singaporeans) to play paintball in Singapore. So you should be glad that you are driving 3 hours to the nearest paintball field for your usual practice on a sunny weekend. Its tougher out here...

The BTO as the name imply is also an orientation course for beginners to know about the importance of paintball safety. There is a regulation that is set by the local authorities and that is for all paintball centres in Singapore to have center dividing barrier when conducting any paintball games. This regulation is to ensure safety so that players do not get into physical contact with one another while playing the game. For the 2 years that I have played paintball....I have never gotten into any form of physical contact with any of my opponent except to shake their hands after a game to compliment them on the win or as a display of good sportsmanship. So it is almost impossible for any player to get into contact with your opponent while playing paintball...not unless you are playing elimination by touch (we saw that recently...hmmm, 3 kills, amazing). Thus, the rule of having a center dividing barrier to prevent physical contact does not justify its stand (to some extend...).

So in order to convince the authority that paintball is a safe sport (in fact, according to statistics, playing paintball is safer than playing golf or tennis, blar blar...I know some people will dispute this fact on the number of people playing paintball versus the number of golfers in the world....so based on distribution, this statistic is inaccurate...blar blar blar...I have heard this before, so lets move on), we will need to devise a way to determine who are the better players and who are the "not so good" players. Now, see this...(are you with me....?) most of the people have not heard of the word speedball...they have played paintball before...yes, but when it comes to playing speedball, it is usually their first time. So how then can we differentiate players who have gone through 5 sessions of paintball versus the guy who have just picked up a paintball marker because his neighbour introduced him to the game this morning. No way!!...are we able to differentiate that...but we can identify a player who understand more about paintball safety as compared to a total noobie...For example, putting on the barrel socks after the game and not removing the mask before he moves out and into the safety zone. Thus, the BTO is in fact an orientation to allow players to understand about paintball safety. TRUE?

And if a player understand safety...he is thus a better player (well in terms of safety), so he will be more aware of not coming into physical contact with his opponents (although this doesnt really happen during games). So a group of us...with the assistance from the people in Paintball Association (Singapore), PBAS, came up with the BTO! Viola! A test to determine if a player is "educated" in the game of speedball, well at least the rules of speedball and paintball safety...

The BTO is a test to determine if a player is competent to play without the center divider. And if he passed the test, he is then registered with PBAS as a registered player and thus to be allow to play without the center divider and play in paintball tournament in Singapore, in this case, Singapore's only paintball tournament, the Singapore Paintball Novice Series (SPNS). The BTO is comprised of 2 parts: 1) Theory 2) Practical. The theory part of the BTO is actually an hour lecture informing participants about the rules and regulation of speedball, the do's and don't's. E.g. What do you do when you are hit? Self check, hands on the head, walk out off the field through the shortest path to the deadbox. No talking behind the deadbox...and the list goes on. The practical part of the BTO (which is the more exciting part) is two game time experience in which we will test on situation awareness of the players, their ability to comprehend competition rules and their awareness on paintball safety. For this part of the BTO, there is a 20 points demerit system. If a player accumulates up to 20 demerit points, he fails the test and thus is not allow to play without the center line. An example of an immediate failure is when a player removes his masks after the call for "GAME OVER"...its game over for him too. For the records, we have failed one participant of the BTO so far...

We have recently made a revision to the BTO. To make it more challenging and for us to single out people who are totally unfamilar with the rules, we have changed the 1 hour lecture to a 50 multiple choice question written test. The test is set with 3 objectives in mind: Safety, Rules and Regulations and Situational Awareness. This has proven to be effective as we are able to identify participants who have zero knowledge about the game but is keen to take up paintball thus the ability to segregate players' competency.

Once you have passed the BTO, you are a registered tournament player in Singapore. Tough yeah?

You must be thinking....this is stupid...yes, I totally agree with you. I do...no doubt. But this is the closest we can get to playing paintball without a centre divider. Is this BTO effective? Oh yeah...field owners who are reading this...how many times have you shouted "PUT on the barrel socks!!!" or " Put that #$%^& mask ON!!!!" until you read about the BTO on this blog? And if you are keen to start this at your field for noobies who are keen to take up tournament paintball, trust me this is the way to go...to ensure safety. Can we do without the BTO? Perhaps....when paintball is an Olympic event and enough public awareness of the game. Yes. we can be like the rest of the other countries....But why not get your field, or country or association to follow what we are doing? Sounds stupid yes....but at least safety is ensure to some extend.

So to play speedball in Singapore....you need to get yourself BTO-ed. We have so far more than 150 BTO-ed players in Singapore...and counting...so its not that bad afterall.