Physical preparation is handled by practicing regularly and getting in/staying in physical condition.
Mental preparation, however is probably the most overlooked aspect of preparing for competitive paintball.
Being unprepared mentally for a match often leads to undue stress and can make your game less fun, not to mention cause you to lose.
Mental preparation includes visualization techniques of strategies you will use during the game as well as picturing yourself in the winner's circle.
Most importantly, mental preparation includes anything you can do to reduce stress and anxiety prior to your match.
Everything from packing your equipment before you go to studying the field prior to the actual match will help prepare you mentally for your event.
The best practice is to start packing your paintball equipment several days before you leave for the competition.
This will give you plenty of time to test it, tune it up and make sure everything's working properly.
It will also allow ample time to go through your checklist several times to make sure you didn't forget anything.
Packing you gear at the last minute is never smart! If there are entry fees, registration forms or waivers that can be completed at home and sent in the mail or done on the internet, take advantage of this.
Handling what you can before you get there will make for a smoother, less stressful beginning of your day at the event.
It may also save you time you can spend walking the field or taking care of any last minute equipment issues.
Start preparing yourself mentally immediately upon arriving at the competition.
Start becoming an 'observation sponge' as soon as you get out of your vehicle.
Every bit of information you can gather may help structure and further develop your working play strategy.
Things that are important to notice include weather (and field) conditions, time of day you will be playing, terrain the game will be played on and layout of the field, teams you will be opposing, and the match schedules of when you will be playing whom.
Once surveyed, make changes in your equipment and play strategy as you see fit.
Becoming observant about your surroundings and making adaptive changes ahead of time is a big part of being mentally prepared.
Avoiding surprises will prevent your team from being caught off guard and allow it to function the way you've practiced.
Before the game, take time to walk the playing field with your entire team so everyone can mentally prepare.
Take into account the size of the playing field and layout of bunkers or cover spots.
Notice specific areas of the terrain for hiding spots, open areas or bottle necks that may be incorporated into your strategy.
Take note of the temperature and the conditions of the field (if the field is muddy, rocky, etc.
) in case you need to make any adjustments to your equipment or playing style.
To prepare completely, look at an entire event rather than just a single match.
Look at the schedule of matches and try to see who's playing who.
Also, look for duplicate matches - to see if you'll be playing the same team more than once.
Notice the lengths of matches (short vs.
long games) and what time of day you'll be playing.
All of these items could have an impact on changing your strategy or style of play.
In the event you have to play a team you've previously played, knowing how they approached the first match and adjusting your tactics to counteract their previous strategy will be crucial.
Whenever possible, study the movements and tactics used by other teams during play.
This will not only help you adapt your strategies if you have to play against them, but may also give you new ideas to incorporate.
Finally, make sure you have a short team meeting before each match.
Take time to adjust your players positions and discuss new changes in your game plan.
This is also a great time to make any necessary adjustments to your paintball equipment.
Make sure each player knows his specific job on the field to avoid confusion.
A short meeting before your game will do wonders for not only making sure everyone's on the same page but also focusing the team's mindset on the task at hand.
Mental preparation is an important aspect in a team's checklist of getting ready for any match.
The best way to prepare mentally is to reduce stress and anxiety by being prepared.
Knowing what to expect before getting there is a great stress relief and an excellent way to avoid unexpected surprises.