Do you guys remember when paintball was simple? When all you had to do was show up to the field and sling some paint in the opposite direction, then go home feeling accomplished because you had made a few new friends along the way? I guess for some of you it may still be that way, but for many I know its much more. Not only does paintball consume my life personally but it also takes up a lot of my mental and emotional energy. With every good thing there must be a balance.
As soon as you decide to take that step into the competitive world, and commit to a team or a league, there is a lot more time and work expected to be put into it. Not saying that playing competitively is a bad thing at all, the thing is it changes the expectations every time your on the field, and a lot of times even when your not.
Many people that want to get into playing tournaments think that getting on a team is the hard part.. When really, its finding the right team. Looking around in the local areas of paintball, [where I am at] there is little to no commitment put into teams playing together for even a full season. This is ridiculous when you really think of it, I mean cost can't be the issue when you compare it to playing NPPL, PSP and CXBL. But if it is, well those individuals probably shouldn't have signed on to begin with.
When looking to join the right team, you should always look for a good amount of structure. Example: Knowing when and where practices are, how the events will be paid for, what events you will be playing, what division you will be ranked, and who is on your roster. If any of those are missing, given it isn't in the off season, you may want to second guess where you stand when signing on.
Another huge factor in finding the prime team is the placement of power or authority. Every team needs a leader but at the same time every individual needs to be heard. There should always be one responsible for arranging things like tryouts, rosters, and schedules, AKA team captain. If you don't have one of those, you better get ready to do a whole lot more than you signed on for. Things like scrambling to find an extra player, or two last minute before game day to insure you still have 5 alive at the start of the whistle, making sure everyone knows the tournament dates, ect ect ect. It may not sound like a ton, but believe you me it adds up.
If none of the teams your looking at have these qualities, you can always take a shot at option B! Free agent! Basically, you could start out hoping from team to team filling in spots at events and practice whenever and where ever you want to in between. You then have no obligation to play with a certain team and can feel free to explore you options while gaining some first hand competitive skills. Yet still, the only down fall to this is teams who play together on a regular basis tend to do better than those who don't, so throwing in an unknown like that can sometimes be like forgetting to debone the fish.. It usually won't kill you all the way BUT it sure aint that darn comfortable. Team mates knowning how each other play is a deffinate upside to being a part of a structured team.
GirlPaintballer - Mama's boys need not apply!