You’re probably reading the title and thinking Reiner is going to tell us he’s finally burned out. He’s going to call it quits and leave us alone. Well…no such luck. No, this is about player burnout. But it’s not about your hardcore tourney player spending two or three days a week at the field and unable to sustain the pace, although I’m sure that’s an issue within the tournament player community.
The burnout I’m thinking of is probably totally different than most players or even field owners think about. I see it all the time. I can often forecast it on a player’s second or third paintball outing ever. This burnout has to do with the Newbie that falls in love with the game on his first time at our field. He comes to the counter and tells us how much fun he is having; how he had no idea he was going to like paintball this much; how he’s going to do this regularly from now on.
We then see him the next weekend or maybe a couple of weeks later. Sometimes he’s already bought his own gear by the time he comes for his second ever paintball outing. He keeps coming week after week, hardly missing a weekend. Soon he’s one of the “regulars” because he is always there. The other regulars know him by name. This goes on for a few months and then we start seeing him a little less often. Instead of coming every weekend, it’s once or twice per month. Then we won’t see him at all anymore.
The way I see it, these types of players have “too much of a good thing”. The novelty wears off. As I recognize this trend, I will often warn these players that if they come too often, they’ll probably end up burning out. But they never believe it. They are infatuated with their newfound hobby.
This is why I always have to smile when I read posts from players or field owners (or potential future field owners who are going to run a field the “right” way) about how paintball should be really inexpensive for players so they can afford to do it all the time. I read it and smile because I know that most “regulars” will only be regulars for a relatively short time. Then they will move onto something else that catches their interest. But the field owner has based his business plan on attracting and keeping lots of players, and keeping them coming back regularly because at their field they can afford to play all the time.
As a field owner, I have found out and understand that I have a much healthier business if my customers come regularly, but much less often. It’s best if they pursue other interests outside of paintball, and not get too infatuated with just paintball. I have a feeling that is not the way most field owners feel about their customers. I’m sure most want to hook their new players hard and have them come back as often as possible. Sometimes, even I think I’m a bit of an odd duck, a business owner that doesn’t want his customers coming too often. How odd is that?