(Note: Some people prefer to call people who are new to airsoft, “newbies”. I personally think that term is a little derogatory. I am referring to them as “new players” because that is what they are. Making someone feel dignified and proud of being an airsofter from the start, is one of the best ways to make them a supporter of the game.)
I am sure that you know a few new (or potential) players. They are your friends, family, and acquaintances that don’t play airsoft or don’t have a working knowledge of how to be effective in a battle.
Introducing a new player to airsoft can be a difficult process. You, as the experienced player, already have some tactical abilities and have invested your time (and money) into the sport of airsoft. A new player, with their untacticalness and not-so-advanced weapons, may seem to be extra baggage when you get in a game.
But, they are the next wave of airsofters. They are the ones that can carry the sport to their friends and family and grow the airsoft community. It is vital that we, the responsible airsofters that care for the sport, help these potential airsofters learn the sport in a way that makes them keep coming back for more.
Here are 3 tips to introduce a new player to airsoft so they’ll have a good first experience. If they have a bad introduction to airsoft, you will have lost a potential player. Don’t let that happen.
1. Tell them what to expect
Try to give the new player an idea of what is going to happen in a game. Start with the good things. Tell them about the awesome game play they will have; and the team spirit that defines airsoft.
After you have given them a good foundation of what airsoft is, then move on to dispelling their fears of airsofting. One of the biggest fears is getting hit. Be honest with them. Tell them that BBs hurt but the pain is only temporary. Let them know that the important thing is for them to get back up, get back in the game, and start dishing out the punishment on the enemy team.
2. Give them knowledge
Show them how their weapon works and how far it can shoot accurately. Let them test fire it and get a feel for it.
Help them understand some basic tactics and commands so they can be more tactical. Explain why the tactics are important; and why they work.
Make sure they understand that they need to communicate with you. Keep hand signals and code words to the basics. Over complicating airsofing is one of the worst things you can do to a new player.
3. Give them support
Keep them on your team with people they trust so they’ll feel more at ease.
Give them tasks they can handle (i.e. “hold this point” or “follow me and watch for enemies sneaking up behind us”); and support them by encouragement and keeping them involved in the battle.
As they play, up the level of difficulty to give them a challenge (i.e. “go secure that bunker” or “outflank the enemy from the left”). Don’t give them a task that seems unimportant or doesn’t make sense to them (i.e. “stay back and hold the respawn area” or “stay here while the rest of us get the job done”) even if it makes sense to you. Remember, a new player needs to see the reason behind what they are doing to stay interested.
I hope that you can introduce many new players to the sport. It is vital that we grow and train the community so that airsoft continues to grow and be an honorable sport. Thank you for doing your part.