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Old 01-19-2011, 10:29 AM #1
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Thread of the Week: Can NE compete?

It is fairly well established that I enjoy observing (and pontificating upon) the comings-and-goings of professional paintball. And as I have been observing player movement in the pros this winter, I have been wondering if the division is getting harder or easier and how the 2009 Hurricanes team, even at its hypothetical strongest (so the best team of the entire player pool including Son, Rob, Buddy, Dan and Mac and the players brought in to replace them Ė Buckley, Benny, Kali and Bart Blonski) would have performed versus the current field.

But a far more interesting question to ponder would be how a hypothetical team comprised of the very best New England has to offer would perform at the pro level today. If you took the best players from every team (and that can include, for the sake of argument, the 2009 Hurricane players, if they are better today than other available options) and the best sponsorships and the best fields and the best coaching and the best management, how would that team perform in the pro division?

I suppose the first question would be ďwhat would that team look like, who would be on it, where would it play, who would be its sponsorsĒ. Iím not sure how valuable that conversation would be. But letís say we start with the best team in NE and augment it with whatever players, coaches and managers are desired (desired by who? The current management of the team, I suppose.)

Iím not really interested in that part of the conversation. The part that interests me is how would this team fare in the pros?

My guess (usually I donít like starting out with my P.O.V., but I will in this case) is that the team would probably get smacked around like the wimpy red-headed kid with glasses and a sinus problem at school. Sorry. I think that right now the region lacks a few key and necessary resources including top-shelf coaching (I think Dan Savoie is a great, great coach. But I donít think Dan would want to put in what needs to be put in to be a successful pro team), resources for practicing the way a pro team needs to practice and, bluntly, players. The best group of players NE has ever seen (Son, Bob, Brian, Thomas, Billy, Buddy, Savoie, MacÖ) are almost all unavailable. Only Billy and Dan are still active at the national level and we need Dan to coach this thing. I think a current All Star roster would have too many holes and too few impact players to compete with the likes of Impact, Damage and the Russians. Iím not sure it could compete with teams like Aftershock (who just lost 2 starters) or Vicious (who were themselves playing D1 just a few years ago). Also, the region doesn't seem, to me, to have the right mindset. I think a lot of the players playing today don't understand what it would take to compete at pro and they don't understand that they don't understand. So people may talk about their expectations and their plans, but they don't really get how high that mountain is and what it will take to make it to the top. I will say that no team in New England prepares the way a pro team would need to, and that includes NEH.

But thatís just my perspective.
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Old 01-19-2011, 11:30 AM #2
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I think the mindset part is probably dead-on. I think that if, as you propose, even at the hypothetical best, the New England talent would get knocked around, what can be idolized and modeled by the young talent where a future potential pro team would come from?

I know I have a tendency to fall back to football because that's my background, but if you go talk to a kid from Everett or Xavier or some other New England powerhouse, they think they are the ****, end all and be all. But you put them up against a team from Texas or Florida or Ohio, and they would get totally crushed. They aren't even on same plane of existence.

We are similar in a way. I know there are exceptions, I don't know enough about rise of a team like Vicious or something like that who maybe had similar obstacles, but for most part, a lot of talent comes from CA. Having a culture of pros practicing nearby weekly against other pros and just constantly seeing how that happens helps for sure.

This isn't anyone's fault, I dont want anyone to take this as me saying "Canes should be pro and show me how to be awesome". BUT, I think that say, hypothetically, Canes and 187 were both legit pro and maybe another team, and week in, week out I could see how they really work and grind against one another at Maynard or Fox or wherever, I would therefore have a better grasp on what I need to do to approach that level as would the little midgets who really could get there.
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Old 01-19-2011, 01:22 PM #3
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Why even bring the Canes of old into the converstation if they are unavailable?

As far as if I think the current guys could swing it? I think they have it in them. Would they be ready for 2011? I think thats really asking a lot considering only a few have actually been there. You have the best line of available players...I cant really speak to their dedication, focus or commitment but I can defiantly tell you that you have the best avaiable players. Its on you to tell them how to get there and its on them to listen and do it. But seriously of the available guys you got the New England All Star team.

What makes other regions better? I think they just have players that stay around longer. And in turn train or show by example more players how to play better. There is a lot of negativity in this region that drives people out. Not may players make it to D2.....nevermind Pro.

Also New England doesnt practice that effectivly...most teams this is show up to your rotation play your 6 matchs (5 if you run out of paint) and then 6 hours later you go home. When youre home you play CoD/WoW/Halo for 10x longer than you just spent playing paintball. Yet your dream is not to play Pro videogames its to play Pro Paintball. Then next week do it all over again. Most of us dont know how a Pro practice is run. So we participate in the Rotations that are laid out infront of us. Also most fields are only open Sat Sun and with rec play being their priority finding a place to run your practice is a problem.
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Old 01-19-2011, 03:26 PM #4
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I agree with Seeky 100% on the NE practices - there a joke. The majority of teams never drill, and the teams that do probably don't drill nearly as much as they should. Its very difficult to find and learn from your mistakes in a rotation.

Yes, paintball is extremely different from traditional sports, but take a look at how they practice. Teams drill, drill, drill alongside conditioning and strength training. Drilling allows for coaches to see each players strengths and weaknesses.

At most rotations, teams dont even really warm up. They may do a few stretches before their first game, but its rare that teams have a consistent "warm up" routine. Teams should be doing a set of drills each practice that cover all the skills it takes to compete. Alongside the drilling they can then put additional work into the things that specific team needs work on.
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Old 01-19-2011, 04:45 PM #5
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I think the first two posts are spot on. I have to add in the weather does not help at all. It is in the 60's-70's in CA, FL, TX right now, what do we have? 10 below and two feet of snow! That doesnt help much for getting some practices in.
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Old 01-19-2011, 05:13 PM #6
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Actually, my guys will be at Fox 4 on Saturday and Sunday practicing outdoors... The weather is not a factor - it's an excuse. If you want it bad enough anything is possible.

However, I agree - no team or group of players in New England could be competitive in Pro this year. By competitive I mean top 1/2 of the teams - which this year might very well mean top 4. However, you have to start somewhere and the sooner you play against other pro teams regularly the sooner you'll get your skill set to where it needs to be.
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Old 01-19-2011, 05:49 PM #7
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If you would have kept the last Pro team NEH had together, they would be a top team this year for sure. What NEH has that a lot of other teams are missing is the back end of paintball: Coaches, Management, and Pit crew. These are the most over looked parts of the top level Pro teams.

If you were to try to put something together now, it would be very hard to even finish in the middle of the pack. Last yearís top half were strong and all seem to be getting stronger, while some of the bottom teams last year finished very strong. I would not want to make the jump this year compared to years past.

With that if you have guys that are willing to work, money, and some talent you could get to top level pro in time.
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Old 01-19-2011, 07:57 PM #8
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Of course anything in time.
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Old 01-19-2011, 08:54 PM #9
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Here's a monkey wrench! Take away the I'd play for you if you pay this! Take away the "we have sponsorship" Take away the reduced price from "Super Teams."

When all the pros mentioned have none of the above and their status taken away, "Will They Still Support Paintball?"

Now that the "Super Team Status" has pretty much gained as many players possible the "True To Heart To The Sport" are waiting in the wings! I know of two teams "considering" forming of highly talented New England Players!

NEH is one of the few teams that have Weathered the Storm and still have players coming back to support the program! Playing or NOT! In terms of Paintball that is!

In my opinion that's "Professionalism" in the making if not already at that level!
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Old 01-20-2011, 11:01 AM #10
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Originally Posted by cjlovi View Post
I know of two teams "considering" forming of highly talented New England Players!

Superteam is not really a bad thing with the right management. It could provide the structure to allow players to focus on playing. Just if it falls a lot of players generally go with it. I dont know that Super Teams are the problem....I think you just have a problem with a paricular Super Team. I cant imagine you think Gabe, Max, Ant and T2 is running Bloodline off empty proimises and pipe dreams. I believe they are just trying to create a structure to make better players....However player run teams are hard enough player run Super Team is going be a hell of a task for thoes 4.
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Old 01-20-2011, 11:46 AM #11
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This is off-topic. Sorry.

It's not difficult if you're organized properly. We have a management group and split responsibilities amongst those people. We're still working out some kinks, but it's been working well for us so far.
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