Alright fools, school is now in session...and today we're going to be getting homework...yes homework. We're talking about practicing and drills.
Why drill? A lot of people will ask you that, sure it may not be half as fun as really playing but you can only learn so much from playing. Your doing som many things at once that you can not focus on one skill, so drilling takes over. Also drills use up a lot less paint then actually playing- which is always good for the pockets.
In my expereince I have found that games are much better used for drills then simply doing some skill. So here is a list of some activities we do for PSU:
Taps: This is a favorite of both fronts and backs a like as it helps both out. Have your back players (2 or 3) start at their "Key 3, 5, 7, 10" bunkers in the back, have your fronts (gun's are optional as fronts don not return fire) start at the starting box on the otehr side of the field. When the whistle blows the bakc players attempt to hit the fronts (practicing laneing and hitting a target that's exposed for short runs) while the fronts objective is to "tap" every single bunker on their half of the field, ending with the center 50. It's VERY tiring, but do it 3-4 times and suddenly you can run through walls of paint without a problem.
Can-Can: This is how I learned to snap shoot. Take one player and place him at one bunker at the 10 or 20, then take another player and place him at the 50-60. Have the two of them snap-shoot at each other. We usually play till 5 hits. No point stopping the drill for one hit, unless it's a google hit. We also have a coach running around kicking our feet in, or telling us to get closer, ect...have someone watch you to point out what you did wrong.
Trap shoot: Keying off the break is an important skill. So try this one. Take your backs and place them on a line (doesn't need to be ont he field). Have them start in their starting positions. Now take 2 or 3 pods or gatorade bottles and on the whistle throw them out into the air, kinda like trap shooting. Obviously the backs jobs is to hit the bottles. If you can get into position, aim, and hit something the size of a bottle, then you will have no problem hitting a person off the break.
Slide: You can do this one without even any paint. Heck I practice in the halls of my dorm sometimes. Simply put on your knee pads and pants and work on your slides. Hipslides (On the side of your hips), knee slides (Both knees), dives (SUPERMAN!!), and Butt slides (go in like a hip slide and then turn your weight so you slide on your butt...makes for less "Pretty Time" but puts your head up higher.
Break outs: The first 15 seconds of any game are the most imporant, so play 15 second games. Put them in the box, call the game, let people break out and finish getting pretty then do it again.
Code word: Many people hate this one, but it's effective to get people to listen up. Run a skrimage, while the game is going on have a ref walk up tot he back center and give him a code word, "Apple Pie" for example. He then has to pass the code word on to all the members of his team. Do this about 3 or 4 times..then after the game get everyone together and ask them to recite the code words, in private...if one person get's it wrong, they do it again. Works very quickly to get people to listen to their backs and to pass information along to otehr players...and to insure they hear it.
Skrimage: There are still things you have to play to learn. Things such as the difference in sound of a gun with and without paint, how to tell what way someone is looking when you bunker them, even how to work on your communication...so try out your news skills while your at it too.
Drills can only teach you as much as the people you drill with. Obviously you'll learn how to snap shoot much quicker with someone who is a better snapshot then you. The same is true for just about everything else. You have to play people better then you to get better. So don't get mad when you lose, thank the person for helping you become a better player. Find out what you did wrong, maybe they will help you out...then someday they will have to thank you, for the severe pasting you just gave them.