You Get What You “Pay” for…

If there is one thing I have learned over the years, paintball players, specifically tournament paintball players, are cheap.  Oh, not in the traditional sense mind you, no I mean in the unrealistic cynical nihilistic ridiculous sense.  They’re so cheap, they won’t pay attention.

“Welcome to Paintball Cheapskates Anonymous.  Would anyone like to start?” “I’ll go. I’d like to say I’m not a PB Cheapskate.  I’m just here for the free coffee.”

I had a couple of interesting conversations over the last few trips to the field. One conversation was about team practice, and the last about team dynamics.  Now, none of the fine gentlemen I was speaking with are cheap mind you; both are upstanding young men.  But the essence of our conversation boiled down to what I feel was a perception of value.

No, this will not discuss the current state of tournament ball.  Instead, let’s talk about the context of cost vs value from the sophomoric cheapskate perspective of your standard PBplayer (genus Cheapskatis Paintaballi).

Advice is usually free but not all of it is worth something

First and foremost, let’s start with something that perplexes me… those paintball teams that show up for practice and then spend the first hour or two on physical fitness/cardio training.  What a complete and utter waste. If you are training seriously for paintball on a competitive level, please stop wasting valuable field time on cardio training. It COSTS you time and the VALUE of it is diminished. 

Why?

Simple – you should be handling that aspect of your training on your own time and not at the expense of limited field time training as a team.  Much like a race car, you should be “tuned up” to perform at your highest capability.  Race car drivers do not tune the car during the race.  No, the car is tuned and tweaked prior and the driver expects/knows it will perform as long as they do their job.  Team practice should be saved and allotted for working on team dynamics, highlighting strengths, and exposing weaknesses.  Not individual gas tanks.  If you show up at one of my practices having not put in the time to address the physical requirements of this game, I will recognize it, I will call you on it, and I will expect you to remedy it on YOUR OWN TIME.  Don’t waste my or your teammates time on the field coming up short.  It’s disrespectful.  Bring yourself straight so we can all focus on the important stuff. 

This does NOT pertain to “warm ups” – running a couple of laps and stretching is valuable as it is meant to avoid injury.  Hopefully I don’t have to explain the difference.

Okay – that’s out of the way – let’s get into it.

Not cheap but worth every penny.

There are many people who think that cost and value are the same thing.  They are not.

Let’s define.

  • Cost is the total amount spent on “the inputs” to create something such as labor, capital, materials, etc.  Simply put, it’s anything that adds to the producers’ expense to create the “something”.
  • Value is more difficult to measure.  It would be the benefit derived by the purchaser or user of the “something”. In other words, it is a perception by the customer. 

We should probably go ahead and define one other aspect of this equation as it pertains to our discussion, price:

  • Price is the amount charged by the producer/seller, in exchange for their “something”, which includes their cost and profit.

That’s about as simplistic as we can put it.  You economists out there, feel free to correct me. Not all of these definitions will come into play in this blog.  You’re welcome.  Now go read a book.

And this is where we get into the meat of the subject… recognizing value.

Having equipment that works and performs is incredibly valuable

As bona fide and proven cheapos, paintballers need to find value in efficiency.

I just physically felt all of your collective eyes roll…

Just listen for a minute.

Jumping to the first of the conversations I mentioned; a young man I’ve known a bit was out there with his team.  He was recounting me with his struggles to keep things moving in a positive direction.  Now, he spoke about motivation which, if you want my thoughts on keeping a team motivated, read these:

https://zenandtheartofpaintball.com/2018/09/17/whos-with-me/

https://zenandtheartofpaintball.com/2018/02/12/cerebral-zeal/

https://zenandtheartofpaintball.com/2017/04/21/only-you-can-prevent-forest-fires/

But his main concern was the financial aspects of competing nationally.

I once did a high-level breakdown of costs for divisional x-ball teams competing in the NXL. (I think I did this in 2017 for two friends who were working with Tom Cole at the time to understand the hurdles of divisional teams).  Based off prices back then, I took an average of several factors:

  • Entry fee
  • Paint cost for 2 two-day layout practices
  • Travel cost for team of 7 (based off 2017 Bureau of Transportation Statistics to the 5 event cities)
  • Lodging costs (based off an average 3 night stay minimum of 2 rooms)
  • Paint cost through prelims (4 matches with low, medium, and high consumption then averaged)

What I came up with for a Division 2 or Semi Pro team competing in a single NXL event was approximately $9,300-12,800.  For Division 3 and 4 those numbers weren’t much different landing between $9,000-$12,500 (almost identical really).  Remember, this is X-ball, not 5 man or race 2 and based off a team of 7…

That comes out to anywhere between $45k to $64k for a divisional team to compete in an entire season.  At least, it did back then.  I’m not saying these numbers are too antiquated to no longer be accurate but there are certainly ways to save.

All that to say is, what value would his team get out of the National circuit?  Not everyone can afford this type of financial commitment.  So, what did they hope to gain from the expense?  Could they compete and find VALUE in the more affordable regional events that offer similar experiences for a reduced PRICE?  Is it worth the team’s COST to prepare?

These are all questions teams must ask themselves.  Whenever this discussion is brought up, it sometimes enters the realm of Prizes (for the crackhead paintballers, not to be confused with the cheap paintballers).  This is a completely different conversation.  I will sum that up real quick: If you value a tournament because of the prizes, you’re a goob.  The chances of winning a paintball event are low… what happens if the prize packages do meet your requirement, you compete, and lose?  What value did you achieve/gain again? It was worth spending all that money because of the opportunity of potentially getting your investment back… Brilliant!

Moving on…

Finally, the other conversation was about a captains’ specific concern about one of his players.  The player in question was a very talented player, a force multiplier on the field.  But he was also a proven jackass… his personality was what I like to call “toxic”. The negative Nancy in question felt he knew everything, pointed fingers at other players for his own failures, and just plain rubbed people the wrong way.  Now, without going into the psychology of why that player is acting that way, and the psychology of how teammates should handle a debbie downer, let’s look at it from a COST vs VALUE perspective.

He’s not worth it.  The end.

Now – as recognizable cheap-o-matic machines, let me finish this month off with a really basic and simple principle all the el cheapo bargain basement pbplayer’s should embrace…

Low paint drills.

Take that bag or two of paint you have left over from a practice or rec day or what have you, take care of it (keep it in a dry, temp controlled area, and rotate/roll it around it every other day) and leverage this common asset to your advantage.  Any drill you run can be a low paint drill.  Whether it is snap shooting (one ball check in slowly emphasizing accuracy and body positioning in bunker), laning (first ball accuracy off the box on a static target), run and gun, (one ball, no ramping, changing speeds, while moving targeting a static target), gun transitioning on target, etc.  The list goes on!

All of this can maintain muscle memory, even if you are a dime-store cut rate player.

Is it making sense now?  Those who want it will do it.  Those who don’t will make an excuse.

Be water my friends

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