Paintball Referee Guide
A paintball referee? What do they really have to do, and what referee trainee is needed?
The sport of paintball is one for the extreme minded athlete. It obviously involves players firing paintballs with the intention of getting them out of the game using their paintball markers. With the fun comes a lot of potential hazards. This brings the need for a well trained paintball referee that can both aid injury prevention and also avoid liability risks to the facility. The rules of engagement mandate the use of safety equipment that meets or exceeds the standards of the paintball sport industry.
Safe operation of it is still with the players and the paintball ref will assure this, ejecting any dangerous player. The referees help many have a good time and go home to tell about it in the same condition they left. Referees are in the war zone too, though paintball referee jerseys are different that those of players that they are playing with. You will also have the same protective gear and set an example for its full use.
Among referees' priorities are making sure every player keeps their eye and face shielding on at all times throughout the play. They're designed to take impacts of 300 FPS (feet per second). This shields the players (and paintball referee) from vision loss, facial scars, and teeth damage too. Within the game boundaries the ref needs to be sure all players keep this protection on. Only once they enter the designated safe zones should they be allowed to remove it (under any circumstances).
The ref also has to watch for gun safety. Players must be in control of any loaded weapon. This prevents mistakes that could hurt them and others. When not in combat (and within the appropriate zone), barrel covers must be used to prevent a paintball from accidentally ejected. Barrel plugs can be pushed off by multiple shots allowing shots to exit, and should be avoided. The covers are much more visible for the referee to keep an eye on as well.
Rules of engagement for the players are the heart of the recreational action for the paintball referee. It's their job to impose them and make sure action remains fun/safe throughout. Very often they will include no blind firing (shooting at anything unseen) and any point blank (less than 20 feet) shots. These can both lead to a bad day for someone. In addition rules will often bar shooting more at a player that is already hit out of action, but also disallow dead man's waking (where a player pretends to be down to gain advantage in the field).
The National Professional Paintball League in an organization that trains referees in all that it takes to keep the sport fun, while also to the safest possible standards. Should you want to be a professional referee and do so at NPPL sanctioned events, you will have to become accredited by them through training that is available.