Guidelines for Playing Paintball

Consider these guidelines to help ensure the safety of all who participate in your event.

Your ministry might consider organizing a paintball activity for a variety of reasons—exercise, building friendships, and just plain fun. Consider these guidelines to help ensure the safety of all who participate in your event.

Find a Facility

To limit your ministry’s liability exposure, carefully vet paintball venues in your area to find the safest option.

  • Seek input. Search online to find the best local options. Check reviews and ask experienced paintball players at your church what venues they recommend. You also might consult ministries in your area that have taken paintball trips.
  • Visit the venue. When considering a venue, check the facility in person. Inspect the playing field for hazards and upkeep. Make sure the referees have relevant paintball certifications, as well as medical training. Ask what safety rules the facility follows and how they handle medical emergencies. Ask to see the venue’s proof of insurance and Activity Participation Agreement forms.
  • Require a participation agreement. Your ministry must also compose its own Activity Participation Agreement. An agreement should establish a contractual exchange, allowing the person to participate in the activity if they agree to waive any claims against your ministry that are related to the activity. Require participants to sign and submit your form before leaving for the trip. Participants under 18 years of age must have their parents or guardians sign Activity Participation Agreements for your ministry, as well as the venue.
  • Choose experienced chaperones. Find adult group members with past paintball playing experience, if possible.
Group leaders can serve as a “second pair of eyes” in assisting the paintball staff and referees.
  • Provide instructions to players bringing their own equipment. If the venue allows participants to bring paintball guns from home, ask venue staff members for a list of required specifications. For example, most facilities require that players use only pump or semi-automatic guns and that these guns may not fire at a velocity greater than 280 feet per second.


When the big day arrives, follow these instructions in the time leading up to the start of gameplay:

  • Transport personal paintball guns safely. If your venue allows players to bring their own paintball guns, make sure that participants transporting weapons do so safely. Use cloth covers or plastic barrel plugs as a safety precaution in case a weapon accidentally discharges during transit.
  • Discuss the rules. Clearly outline the rules of gameplay and make sure all participants understand the consequences for failing to follow the rules.
  • Clothing/Gear. Dress appropriately, wearing long-sleeved shirts, long pants, gloves, shoes which fully cover feet and are suited for the location of the game. (You might also want to be sure players have a change of clothes available for the ride home.)
  • Outdoor vs. Indoor venues. If a game will be taking place outside, be aware of risks of animals/insects, wearing appropriate repellant for bugs, long boots to protect against snakes and rodents.


When the game begins, group leaders can serve as a “second pair of eyes” in assisting the paintball staff and referees.

Here are some ways you can help:

  • Alert officials if a player removes their mask during the game. No player on the field should remove their mask during gameplay. This is true even if the player has been called out of the game, if their mask fogs up, or if their mask straps become loose.
  • Encourage players to use discretion when taking close-range shots. Players should keep in mind that point-blank shots are more painful. Many paintball facilities prohibit shots fired within 10 feet, or impose restrictions on such shots (e.g., no aiming for the head).
  • Watch for unsanctioned equipment. Make sure none of your participants smuggle prohibited items onto the playing field.
  • Help avoid miscommunications when a player is called out. Ensure that players signal clearly when they are out and that participants in play do not shoot those leaving the field.
  • Alert officials if players engage in horseplay. The playing field should be used as intended. Caution players who try to play recklessly (e.g., shooting at targets without looking, climbing on barriers). Do not allow participants to continue playing if they repeat reckless behavior.
  • First aid. Bring with you an adult who is specifically trained in first aid. He or she should have appropriate medical supplies on hand.

When paintballs are whizzing through the air at 200 miles per hour, there’s no way to completely eliminate risk. By following these basic guidelines, you can help maximize the paintballing experience for your group members while minimizing unnecessary risks.