Playing the Snake : Paintball Tips

Welcome to the snake tips and strategies article.

This article will talk about how to play the snake on the paintball field and understand it.  A lot of this content will relate to speedball specifically, however, a snake is often found on various recball fields.

The Snake is a very unique bunker on the paintball field, and understanding how to play it can sometimes be a challenge.


Key Snake Concepts

  1. Walking the Field And Knowing Your Shots
  2. Having a Plan
  3. Knowing How To Get Into The Snake
  4. Communication
  5. Staying Alive, Avoiding Gun Battles
  6. Patience
  7. Knowing When To Be Aggressive VS Playing Smart
  8. Practice, Practice, and More Practice


Walking the Field and Snake

The most important part of playing the snake, especially in tournament paintball, is knowing and understanding the field layout and the snake bunker.

Look at the snake, learn the angles and the shots.  Know exactly where you need to pop up from, and where to have your gun pointed to come up shooting at a specific position.  Getting the jump on a player from the snake is very important because once they see you and put you in, it can be hard to find the position to get angles from safely without gunfighting.

Also look for Blind shots.

Blind shots are specific shots on a bunker from a position that blocks you out.  An example may be shooting over a bunker such as middle field Dorito into a corner or back center.  The idea is that you and the other player cannot see each other, but you can still shoot or lob shots at a bunker.  Knowing and recognizing blind shots is a great skill and will make you a better paintball player.

Using a similar concept, know where some bunkers block out positions that can shoot at you.  By doing this you can block out certain positions or players instead of a gunfight with them, and come out shooting either at them, or another bunker safely hidden from that other player.

While walking the field, also look for bunkers in the field that can shoot or lane players bumping into the snake. These are important to know beforehand, to help understand how to safely make your move.


Have a Plan

By walking the field or even just looking at it, you should have a general understanding of the layout.

Some things to analyze would be difficulty getting to the snake off the break, bunkers with a lane between the snake feeder (a bunker before the snake) and the snake, and how hard it would be to lane a runner.  Often teams will try to lane a player going to the snake off the break because the snake can be such a damaging position early game, possibly allowing a player safely past the 50 if no one is on the tape.

As far as running to a bunker or snake off the break, understand and look for the fastest route to get behind cover or to block shooters/laners as quickly as possible.

Running a short straight route to the snake will often be longer and leave you in the open compared to running shallower, slightly more direct towards the tape, and arcing out to the snake.  Depending on the layout, this can help get you through of those lanes OTB (off the break) as fast as possible. you can read more at the Paintball Movement Tips article.


Depending on your layout and what you want to try, some options include:

  1. Running to the snake off the break
  2. Running and Gunning or sprinting to a primary or snake feeder bunker and bumping to the snake
  3. Bumping from the corner after wrapping (Shooting the tape side and wrapping around the bunker to shoot inside)
  4. Delaying to lane then sprinting to the snake or a primary bunker
  5. Running and Gunning to the snake (usually pretty difficult)


Playing The Snake

Understand how to play the snake.  You can play it smart, aggressive, or both.  All field layouts are different and play much different as well.  As stated above you really need to learn the field to know how to play it.



Once in the Snake, you should have a general plan for what you’re going to do.  Everything about how to play a specific area of the field, such as the snake, heavily depends on the field layout as mentioned above.  Therefore this section will just overview some basic ideas and tactics, as well as portray an understanding of how to use the snake bunker to your advantage.  Just remember there are many different types of snake designs for layouts.


First Step

A good general idea is to get to the first knuckle (horizontal bunker) and check the tape.  If your there off the break it would be a good idea to have your gun up shooting to shoot a corner or snake runner over sliding or popping out.  be careful because good corner players will come out shooting as they enter their bunker. If your entering the snake during the game, be more cautious checking the tape, but you should have an understanding of where players are.  Again, run with your head up so you can see where people are and are shooting.


Move Up The Snake Right Away If You Can

One tactic at this point, if you get in the snake and the tape s clear, is to get as far down the snake as possible as fast as possible.  This can be pretty common on long connected snakes like the ladder ( Ex. –.–.–.–.–.– ). Since the tape is clear for possibly a short time, you have a clear move to improve your angles on the field.  Since the general speedball idea is to get better angles on your opponents and flatten their guns out, this usually is in your favor. Also many players across the field are not expecting a snake player at or past the 50 early on in the game, especially if they haven’t seen him.  If you can get these great angles before the “Snake 1″ call has been relayed to those far players, you have the potential to do some serious damage.



In general, one of the most important concepts in paintball is communication.  This is especially true for snake players since a lot of the time your completely blind.  Communicate with your back players and listen! Your corner player is someone you need to depend on and communicate with throughout the game.  If he tells you to move, shoot inside, shoot the tape, or bunker someone, do it. He can see not only the tape but can wrap and see a large portion of the field.  Listen for names or calls where your opponents are too. As stated above in the walking the field section, It is a very smart idea to know the field and your shots.  If you hear someone just moved to the 40 Dorito and you know the exact shot, you can come up shooting at the player and quickly get the kill.

Don’t focus too much on the tape, look inside for your shots.  This is where your angles are. If you have a corner player, this is especially true, let him protect you and watch the inside or bump to the next knuckle.


Don’t Be Predictable

Never come up in the same place twice in a row.  This is a good way to get shot, since your blind and coming over the top is usually the worst way to enter a gun battle.  If someone starts shooting at you and you get down, move up or down a few feet (unless you bump or check the tape) and come up shooting.  your new position will throw him off and you’ll probably be able to post up on him.


Avoid Gun Battles

Your job is to stay alive and damage the other team, so don’t try to gun fight from an inferior body position.

Gun battling is an easy way to get shot, and your chance of getting shot is often around 50%.  Being low to the ground, its a lot more difficult to snap shoot as your usually playing tighter and closer to the ground.  Your body position is much worse to a gunfight that someone standing.

Don’t get tunnel vision on one player either, especially on the tape.  This is where a corner player is so important because they can protect you and help you move up the tape.


Be Patient

If you’re getting shot at by multiple people, sit tight.

Take up 2 or 3 guns which will free up your other players to make moves and get angles.  By staying alive in the snake, you’re also flattening the opponent’s guns up to where you are, making their zones much smaller.  Just because you’re not shooting anything doesn’t mean you’re not helping your team. However try to recognize when the guns switch off you, as well as when to be aggressive.

If you have no shots inside, you can either find them by moving up and down the snake, away from the knuckle (walk the field), being aggressive and moving up the field or waiting for the other team to make a move.  I definitely recommend moving up the field.


Stay Tight

Stay small, play tight and move fast.

Play tight into your bunker when playing the snake.  Don’t get sloppy and let your pack hang out. This can easily happen when shooting either the tape or inside.  It can also happen when you’re crawling up the snake very quickly.

When the dynamics change from having a lot of control and freedom in the snake to taking a lot of guns, you need to recognize and play tight accordingly.

Try not to touch the bunkers, however, especially after making bumps to a higher knuckle.  This easily lets your opponents know where you are currently at in the snake even though they cannot see you.


Moving Up The Field

When you make moves, make them fast and aggressive while still staying small and hidden.

When you move, look up and watch for paint.  Not only will you see if your being shot at, but you’ll see where someone is shooting, and where from (their angle).  From this, you have a visual piece of information about where a player might be, which you can use from a new position, especially if you walked the field.

If you can get up the field, when you first come up you may easily have the element of surprise.

As said before, if you can it might be a great idea to get up the snake right away.  Always come up with your gun up, especially from a new position. However be careful and don’t take your time if guns are drawn to you quickly.

Learn to crawl with your gun in one hand (ex-right hand) palm up, while using your legs and left hand or fist to quickly crawl up the snake.


Snap Shooting

Work on your snap shooting from various positions.

From standing up, kneeling, as well as positions you might find your self in the snake.  Practice snap shooting from a tight position to the left and right (from a knuckle).

Also, practice coming up from the ground over a snake.


Watch Others

If you want to really learn how to play the snake, watch some good paintball players and what they do.

Watch pro players and how they play in the snake.  Also watch how they get there and what they do in certain situations, as well as body position and where they shoot.  This can be really helpful. Another good idea is just watching good experienced players in a field.


Learn to dive properly (Superman, hipslide)

There may be an article on this soon.  It is definitely worth learning how to properly dive and practice it.  Watch videos online and see how pro players dive, as well as are fast and move quickly.

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