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Is Paintball a Sport? (Sport, Hobby or just Fun)




two players aiming their paintball guns

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Oh boy! You’ve heard someone talk about paintball, maybe watched a couple of videos, and now you want to learn more. But you’ve stumbled across this hobby website, so is it a hobby, or is paintball a sport?

Yes, paintball is a sport. It is a competitive team-shooting activity that has a determined set of rules. Paintball is so qualified to be a sport that it’s an extreme sport, but more on that later. 

If you would like to get into paintball, but don’t know where to start, check out the complete beginner’s guide. 

What is a Sport?

How do we know what a sport is? Let’s first take a look at the definition of a sport: 

An activity involving physical exertion and skill in which an individual or team competes against another or others for entertainment

Oxford Dictionary

Sports must also have an objective method of scoring between an individual and at least one other opponent. So anything that is awarded points based on a judge or panel of judges is not considered a sport.

This also means that there must be a defined way to earn points to win. This could mean putting a ball into a net, reach the end before an opponent, or be the last man standing. 

A sport also should not be based on who’s machine is better than the others. While some people consider NASCAR to be a sport, it isn’t. This is instead a car building competition, where if someone’s car is built better it will perform better. Consider NASCAR a robot competition with a human remote controller. 

There are several aspects of paintball that make it a sport. There are at least two teams or a free for all against multiple opponents depending on the type of paintball you’re doing. There’s a clear victor at the end of the game; the last man standing who hasn’t been hit by a paintball is the winner. 

Paintball isn’t ranked by a panel of judges who use their discretion to award points. The only judgement involved is sometimes used by referees who will determine if the paintball exploded on a player leaving a paint mark larger than the size of a quarter. This is a clear guideline for the referee to use and leaves no room for discretion. 

Not only is paintball a sport, but it’s also an extreme sport. To be classified as an extreme sport, there has to be a high degree of risk. Sending small balls of paint towards each other at high velocities, needing full-body coverage, and the high level of physical exertion qualifies paintball as an extreme sport. 

Then Why is Paintball on a Hobby Website?

That’s a very good question! Let’s find out what a hobby is first:

An activity done regularly in one’s leisure time for pleasure

Oxford Dictionary

Okay, so paintball itself isn’t a hobby, but it can be if someone makes it one, unless you’re a professional, and then it’s a job. 

I’m assuming you’re on this website specifically because you have an interest in paintball. If you try it out and do it regularly you can consider paintballing your hobby.

What’s regularly anyway? That’s also up to you! People who enjoy skiing or snowboarding in the winter might only be able to go a couple of times a year, but that still qualifies as a hobby. 

a man aiming a paintball gun with helmet tainted with yellow paint

Hobbies are chosen based on what the hobbyist needs. Some people take up knitting because they want something to work on in front of the tv to keep their hands busy. Some people choose painting to express their creativity.

But you will probably choose paintball because you want to get outside and meet up with people. Maybe even use it as a fun way to get some exercise into your schedule.

There’s another side of paintball that counts as a hobby: building and modifying your gear. 

That’s right. If you like to tinker with equipment or work on mods of any kind, that’s a whole other paintball hobby. There are so many different ways to customise your paintball gun, and different custom paintball guns you can build. 

So Which Is it?

You can try to argue sport vs. hobby until pigs fly, but the truth is it’s both. Paintball is a sport and a hobby. 

This is true with a lot of sports. If they qualify as a sport, and you participate in them during your free time, it is both a sport and a hobby. 

Wrapping It Up

Paintball is a sport – an extreme sport even. But since it isn’t a job, it is also considered a hobby. 

If this sounds like something you’d like to get into, remember to be safe! This isn’t a Sunday afternoon tending to your garden; it’s a sport, and an extreme sport at that! 

But above all, remember to have fun. That is, after all, the point of taking up paintball in the first place! 

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