Trust the Trainer

December 23, 2016 Jeff Stein Bay State Bandits

Last week, New England’s only pro team (187) shuttered its doors after 5 years.

I’m guessing that it was a bittersweet moment for Dave Painter, the founder and godfather of the 187 cRew. It’s a labor of love, running a pro team. It’s stressful and expensive and it gives you a glimpse into just how good the top teams are, up close and personal. As time wears on and you first start thinking about the end of your run, you worry about both taking care of your players and your legacy. At least I did. And when you decide to pull the plug, it hurts. And a week later, it hurts less. And two months later, you’re saying to yourself, “wow, how did I carry that weight that long?”

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Paintball is different than other sports in that a player’s ability to advance is predicated on his access to teams at the next level. If you grow up in an area without nationally competing teams, it’s really hard to get on a team that competes nationally. Saying it like that makes it sort of … duh. I know. But most sports have town leagues, high school teams, college teams. None of that exists in paintball. The strength of a region comes from the team OWNERS that exist in that area. People like Dave Painter, Beau Milo (NYO), Sean Wyatt and Brett Messer (Bay State), Dean Carleton (PMob), Rob Lospannato (Landslyde), Kermit (CTO), Arnold (MOB Crew) and Adam Zippin (Crusade) (and many more - New England is spoiled) aren’t so much created by NE paintball as much as they make NE paintball. The more of them that exist today, doing a good job running teams today, the more will exist tomorrow. When people like Dave hang ‘em up, teams die. When enough people like Dave hang ‘em up, regions die. 

Which brings me to the NEPL Combine. Boston Paintball’s 12-years running clinic-and-team-building extravaganza. Two years ago, Boston introduced the Coaches’ Clinic, hosted by Todd Martinez. This year the class is being taught by Rusty Glaze. And, with all due respect to the excellent pro players who come in to coach players, helping them refine their skills to the point where they are ready to join teams and advance their ‘careers’, the Coaches’ Clinic helps create the teams those players need to put those newfound skills to good use. 

I am attending Rusty’s clinic. Bluntly, I wonder about any serious team that doesn’t have someone attending. This is the guy who coaches DYNASTY. Forget all the years he played professionally and all the skills and knowledge he garnered playing with Infamous and Dynasty, the greatest team in the history of our sport hand selected him to lead them. 

If you are a coach, if you are a player who thinks he may someday become a coach, if you are a team captain, if you are a player on a team who wants to know how he can help the entire group move forward, find a coaching clinic taught by someone who actually knows their ****, and take advantage of it. Come with questions (I’m coming with a bunch for Rusty), pay very close attention. Without people learning what Rusty can teach, it won’t matter how good you are as a player. Ryan, Damian, Billy and Nick create players. What Rusty will be teaching can create a region.

 

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