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Germany's first kids paintball tournament!
Tuesday June 2, 2020

YOUTH IN TOURNAMENT SPORTS – KIDS PAINTBALL TOURNAMENT SOLMS

In the last issue we already reported to you on the margins of the DPL article about the work with young people in German tournament sports. The topic of kids paintball was also discussed there. Due to the great response from our readers, we have pursued the topic further and elicited further information from the tournament organizers of the Paintball Base Solms for a very interesting contribution.

On October 20, 2019, the first German Kids Paintball Championship tournament took place at the Paintball Bundesliga location, the Paintball Base in Solms. The strongest youth team in the region was sought. What was planned as an event prototype, so to speak, quickly turned out to be a really popular event. At the end, the tournament organizers welcomed no fewer than 10 junior teams. This number may sound small at first, but we are talking about paintball for children and young people between the ages of eight and seventeen, and that at tournament level.

For all those who have not yet dealt with the topic of kids paintball, we would like to explain the special features of this paintball variant here in advance. Until a few years ago, it was not even possible for people under the age of 18 to play paintball at all. This has meanwhile changed with the new Cal. 50 gear changed. The new equipment uses the much smaller 50 caliber and therefore has less bullet energy. With kids paintball, this is less than 0.5 joules and therefore the markers are considered toys by law and are not subject to any age restrictions. Anyone between the ages of eight and seventeen can register as a junior player. The entry age of eight years results from the size and accuracy of fit of the protective clothing and is also a lower age limit set by the organizer on his own responsibility. After all, this is still about paintball. Incidentally, girls and boys play together at Kids Paintball. As with adult players, there is no gender segregation in paintball.

Now back to the actual tournament…

Many of the youth teams that competed today came from one of the fields that have been promoting youth work in Germany for years. The Uffenheim paintball field, a team from Paintball Battlefields in Hildesheim and the Taunus paintball field took part. Even a kids' squad from the Bundesliga team Cologne Hurricanes was part of the wide-ranging field of participants. A team from France clearly had the longest journey. The junior team Onyx, from the paintball field in Veckring, made the extra long journey to be able to take part in this special event. For all kids who didn't have a team yet, there was also the opportunity to join a mixed squad on site. So there was really something for everyone and nobody was condemned to watch.

In terms of organization and gameplay, the kids' tournament is practically in no way inferior to the larger paintball tournaments. There is a regulated game plan, a standard set of rules and an overall table with the corresponding distribution of points to determine a winner. On the field, next to the players, are the marshals (referees), who ensure that the tournament runs smoothly and fairly. Of course, the officials at this tournament weren't quite as harsh when it came to handing out penalties as you might be used to from the Bundesliga, but the kids also had to play according to clear paintball tournament rules. The playing field was specially reduced for the kids tournament. The game was then played in the "Hang the Flag" format with a playing time of three minutes per match. This means you win as a team by getting the game flag to the opponent's starting base before game time runs out. Of course, marking the opponents in the game makes it easier and is the fun factor in terms of content when playing paintball. Nevertheless, they wanted to send a clear signal, especially here in the context of young people's sports, and chose a game format in which one could theoretically win without shooting. For tournament organizer Stephan Steiner and his team from Paintball Base Solms, this tournament was a long-planned heart project that could finally be fulfilled. Everyone involved in the on-site implementation was correspondingly motivated. While the kids slipped into their paintball pants and jerseys early in the morning, the fathers were queuing up at the paint counter to get the best paint for the offspring. – After all, you wanted to win. Many of the fathers are old tournament paintballers themselves and know what is important when preparing for a tournament. The support from the teams on the sidelines was correspondingly good. A great father-son (or daughter) experience that has rarely been seen in paintball.

When things finally got going after the obligatory team captains meeting, in which the marshals gave instructions one last time and explained the most important rules again, the kids could hardly be stopped. “Even with the adults, you rarely see such energy on the field early in the morning. Everyone was 100% motivated and played paintball like there was no tomorrow. Although some of the kids are still very young, you can already see very good teamwork and a lot of communication in the game,” said Stephan Steiner, Cologne Hurricane's veteran and tournament organizer. The experienced Bundesliga player also saw good approaches in terms of covering behavior and understanding of the game and predicted good prospects for the German paintball talent. In the end, the kids fought hard for every point, but new friendships were made, experiences were gained and, last but not least, a lot of laughs. All the kids had a lot of fun for a day and were able to really work out. In the end, the squads from Paintball Battlefields Hildesheim, the Cologne Hurricanes and Team Onyx from France carried away the three winner's trophies. Two Hildesheim teams were able to secure first and second place. Apparently a good address for youth work. The offspring of the Cologne Hurricanes found themselves right on the heels of the Hildesheim team in third place. But they had to share this place with the strong French, who were tied on points. But the other 6 teams shouldn't go away empty-handed either. All players received a medal for their participation. Proud to have been there, some even shed small tears of joy at the award ceremony, which the proud parents were able to dry quickly.

Siegertabelle Kids Paintball Turnier Solms

Our conclusion: This is exactly what is needed if we want to pass on paintball as a sport to the next generation. These youth tournaments are not only great fun for the little ones, they also offer parents the opportunity to experience a new hobby together with their children.

Incidentally, due to the positive response, the organizer has already announced another kids' tournament for the 2020 season. We are very excited to see what will happen in the paintball tournament offspring until then. Who are the stars of tomorrow and which teams and fields will still get a junior squad going? We will continue to keep you up to date.

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