Interview with PSP’s Lane Wright on 2015 Rule Changes

By Byron Woodfork

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Last week, PSP announced that there would be a few key rule alterations for the 2015 season. Since the announcement, there have been mixed feelings regarding the changes to both the divisional and professional ranks within the league. We got the chance to catch up with PSP’s Chief Operating Officer, Lane Wright, to discuss his thoughts on these new changes. Lane provides his honest opinion and helps to shed some light on what he believes were some pretty necessary alterations.

SP: We’ve seen the rules change from only coaching on the spectator side to only coaching from the top of the bleachers and now, no coaching at all. What brought on this decision? Did it have something to do with wanting to make the game more intense? If so, how?

LW: There was a lot of debate about taking the coaching limit a step further. In the end, the board decided to go that step. Every limitation to coaching has been an effort to put more emphasis on the players skill set and less on listening to outside influences. Personally, I felt the things we did last year limited the effect of “coaching” enough. But others wanted it reduced more. There’s a lot of experience in that room. There’s a lot of variety in thought and things can be looked at from lots of perspectives. I had an opinion that differed from the final decision. But that diversity is a positive. It’s what’s made us successful. It can’t always be my way.

SP: It could be argued that removing coaching, completely takes the crowd out as a factor of participation. We’ve seen crowds cheering for teams like Upton 187, Tampa Bay Damage, X-Factor, etc. Will the crowd be asked to be completely quiet during pro matches?

LW: It was argued. At length. In the end, the majority of the board voted to do away with coaching entirely.

I’ll make this simple. Anyone that argues that because their gun is slower they have to play slower has some real insecurity issues. The other guys gun is the chief factor in how fast you can play the game. His gun is slower, too. These guys are like the people who claim they had to walk uphill to school, both ways. It gets absurd. The game has turned almost entirely into a shooting game. It’s boring to everyone who isn’t on the field. And, if people actually looked at real information, there are less and less people on the fields. Not the PSP fields as of late. But on the fields across the world. And eventually, that decline will reach the PSP fields.

SP: Also, what was the PSP’s reasoning for lowering the professional division BPS to semi auto?

LW: We didn’t lower the pro BPS. We’ve made it so the pro players guns couldn’t shoot for them. I’m really not clear on why anyone thinks this is a bad thing. And, to be completely frank, I haven’t had a single complaint from any pro player that’s worth a crap. I’ve seen a few of the wannabe’s and hanger on’s complain. But none of the top notch players seem the least bit concerned.

SP: 2014 was the most successful season for the PSP that we’ve seen in years. With that said, what advances (or declines) do you foresee for the 2015 season?

LW: Actually, I felt 2013 was the most successful season PSP has had. But, 2014 wasn’t bad. PSP will, by natural progressions, follow industry trends. The industry has trended downward for the past 6 years. We just stay a few years behind that down turn because our player base is a few years farther into the program already. If 3% of new paintball players make it to the PSP level and 200 guys start to play in 2010, you’d expect 6 of them to make it to PSP by 2014. If only 100 start to play in 2011 you’d only expect 3 of them to get to PSP in 2015. I think that’s where we are. In all honesty, I feel that maintaining our numbers from last year would be a success in 2015.

SP: What are you looking forward to most this upcoming season?

LW: Watching a few of the really good players on the pro field compete against the other players and not the other guns. I really believe we will see a few of the top players separate from the pack. It’s been a long time since that was a possibility.

PSP is looking to move forward with these changes in hopes that they will help grow the sport. Currently, there have not been any other changes announced, but in the event that there are, we will provide updates and potentially another interview from the PSP’s C.O.O. himself. Stay tuned.

Correction: The author had an error about the NCPA lowering their BPS this season. We’ve updated the interview by removing that error. The NCPA has a 12.5 BPS.

Source: SocialPaintball.com, Interview with PSP’s Lane Wright on 2015 Rule Changes

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Top 5 Stories from the 2014 PSP Chicago Open

By Byron Woodfork

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Watching the matches of the Chicago PSP Open honestly made me fall in love with paintball again. Unlike the Mid-Atlantic Open, there were no ridiculously long low scoring matches due to an unbelievably boring layout. Instead, there was in-your-face aggression, with action happening left and right and the snake side being the highlight of the tournament. This tournament went to whoever was making aggressive moves up the field to get the better angles, which is definitely the kind of paintball that’s most exciting to watch. With that said, let’s take a look at some of the highlights of the tournament.

Edmonton Impact Defeats Houston Heat – Score: 7-2
Edmonton Impact takes the win in what was one of the most disappointing finals matches I’ve watched in a long while. If you didn’t get a chance to watch, I’ll sum things up for you. The match started off exciting, both teams scoring two points, tying things up. Shortly after, Houston Heat decided to hand Impact the tournament by receiving three major penalties, causing them to play 2 vs 5 for the majority of the match. Impact ran the score up 7-2 as expected. Unfortunately for Heat, no miracles happened for them on June 22nd, 2014 as their play reflected that of Chattanooga CEP in their rookie year, earning penalty after penalty. Although Heat did not perform to the best of their ability in the finals, it can be noted that this is their first tournament back in the Champions division. So making it to the finals was definitely an achievement in its own. But I’m sure the Heat franchise isn’t happy with a 2nd place participation medal. For Edmonton Impact, Chicago PSP was the equivalent to Lebron James winning his first Championship Ring. Impact put their team together to compete in the PSP last season for the sole purpose of winning tournaments. They’ve had a slew of podium finishes but no first place trophies, so this was a huge weight lifted off of their shoulders. It reminds them and their fans that they have what it takes to win a PSP tournament…even if it was gift wrapped for them.

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Art Chaos Pummels Houston VCK – Score: 7-2
There isn’t much to say about this match. VCK just lacks the experience to beat Art Chaos in a finals match, as do most of the teams in the Challengers division. The victory for VCK is making it out of the Challengers division, as they definitely continue to display a ton of potential to be a top tier team someday. For Art Chaos, the question remains: Can they hold their own in the Champions division? We’ve witnessed them make it to the Champions division at the Mid-Atlantic Open event just to get knocked out immediately, with an overall record of 0-5, finishing dead last. They’ve proved that they have the experience to bully teams in the Challengers division, but it’s a completely different ball game in the big leagues of the Champs division. It’s doubtful that they will be relegated down to the Challengers division again, but we’ve witnessed how tough of a fight it can be at the top of the mountain of professional teams.

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Houston Heat Finds Their Identity
It hasn’t been the best season for Houston Heat as we saw them drop down to the Challengers division during the PSP Dallas Open, just to bounce back during the Mid-Atlantic Open, crushing teams in the Challengers division. With multiple new player acquisitions and losses to start the 2014 season, Heat had to get their groove back and find out what players they could rely on to carry the team when others couldn’t. They fell into a new rhythm during the Chicago Open, with Ryan Moorhead and Chad George leading the pack with their aggressive play on the snake side all tournament. Moorhead was in everyone’s face all tournament, gunning people down like a mad man. Despite the fact that Heat underperformed in the finals against Impact, one can rest assure that they have found themselves again and are looking to be one of the top three competing teams once again.

Los Angeles Infamous Remains in Challengers Division
The crazy thing that everyone realized on Sunday was the fact that either Art Chaos Moscow or L.A. Infamous would be remaining in the Challengers division as they were in each others bracket (which definitely should’ve been altered considering). They were undoubtedly the best two teams in the Challengers division, demolishing teams left and right. Neither team was undefeated with 3-1 records, but the fact that they had the highest amount of points scored than any other teams in their division made it apparent that they didn’t belong there. Infamous’ roster has depth, they just need to configure the pieces to figure out how to remain consistent as some of these other teams in the Champs division have this year. Look for them to make their way back into the Champions division during the West Coast Open event next month.

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San Antonio X-Factor Drop To Challengers Division
Down goes Frasier! 2013 World Cup Champs San Antonio X-Factor just could not bring things together during the Chicago Open as they had numerous penalties and just general bad decision making on the field…which usually resulted in penalties. X-Factor has been playing flat for the majority of the season, apart from key players having all-star games, their play as a team has been lack-luster these past three events. With that said, this team is a Championship caliber team as they’ve proved to us less than a year ago. Just like Infamous, X-Factor is a scrappy team that you can definitely watch out for making their way out of the Challengers division during the West Coast Open.

Source: SocialPaintball.com, Top 5 Stories from the 2014 PSP Chicago Open

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Baltimore Revo Goes Pro, Enters PSP Challengers Division

By Byron Woodfork

baltimore revo paintball team

With the unfortunate disbandment of professional paintball team Texas Storm, PSP needed to fill the open spot left by the southern team for the duration of the season. In steps Baltimore Revo, a Division 1 team based out of the East Coast. Revo has battled their way up the PSP ranks throughout the last few years, smashing teams and taking trophies in every division. The team made the announcement public via their Facebook page yesterday afternoon, stating:

“After 4 1/2 years of battle our way through the divisional ranks fighting more and more each season to reach the top level of paintball we finally get our opportunity! As of today Baltimore Revo has been officially invited to join the Psp pro challengers division we are very thankful for this golden opportunity and we are ready to work harder then ever to be the top team! Special thanks to Rick hartman without him none of this would have ever been possible. Also a big thanks to GI sportz for the best shooting paint in the game and the amazing amazing gear. Also a big thanks to planeteclipse for the best shooting guns on the market. Check us out at Psp Chicago open battling it out against the top pro teams in the world.”

This season, Revo has taken a respectable 5th place at Dallas and a 2nd place at the Mid-Atlantic Open. Last season, they won one event, the PSP Chicago Open, and took another 2nd at the West Coast Open. Revo has been somewhat consistent throughout their past two years playing Division 1, but will that be enough for them to hold their own against some of the best teams in the world?

We’ll see what they’re truly made of come next month at the PSP’s Chicago Open.

Source: SocialPaintball.com, Baltimore Revo Goes Pro, Enters PSP Challengers Division

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Interview with Xtreme Paintball League Owner Jerry Van Cleve – Halves and 15BPS

By Byron Woodfork

XPL_HIGHRESIf you’ve been keeping track of the paintball media lately, you should be vaguely familiar with a new league that’s recently surfaced known as the Xtreme Paintball League. The thing that’s caught the attention of plenty of players nation wide is the fact that this would be the only X-Ball league in the country with the two halves format and 15 BPS. Something that is pretty popular in Canada, but hasn’t been found in the U.S. in years.

We’re here to shed some light on this new league and see what all of the talk is about. We recently got a chance to catch up with one of the league’s owners, Jerry Van Cleve, who’s excited about the XPL’s launch, scheduled for 2015.

Here’s what Jerry had to say regarding the new league:

What lead up to the decision to start up an X-Ball league with halves with the XPL?

If you are engaged around the paintball community you can see that many players have been bringing up the two Halve style of play and wanting it back for a while now. So in late 2013 the vision and plans started to come more to life and early February the XPL was created with the passion and vision to bring two Halve Style paintball back in a Regional / National Style with great Cash Prizes each event along with keeping event entries very competitive to other national events if not cheaper. The Challenge that was faced, once it was decided to bring two Halves back was how can we handle a good amount of teams and keep the schedule on track. The Xtreme Format was born which in incorporates the two halves of paintball mixed in with Mercy Cap rule for those blow out matches.

Do you foresee players adopting this format of which hasn’t been around in the U.S. in the past few years?

Yes, I actually really do. The Format will speak for itself. Who doesn’t want to play a ton of paintball for the same price if not cheaper than other national events that maybe you play only 8 – 10 game points. There can always only be 1 true event winner per division, so if teams 2 – 20 can be provided a great valuable experience, tons of game points, top notch quality competition that is a win win for all the teams that are involved.

You told us the XPL will be a conference based league. Please explain for our readers how this format will work on a national level

Basically to kick off the 2014 Season, the XPL will have two conferences which will consist of West Coast and East Coast Conferences. Keeping in mind as the XPL grows in seasons more Conferences will be added along with changes in the state allocation when the time comes. So, states in those said conferences must play the three events in their respective conferences. Each of those conference events will have cash prizes for 1st and 2nd place. Any local affiliate leagues in those conferences will also give some half and free entries to those conference events to promote player growth.

For the teams that have played all three events they will qualify and be invited to the XPL National Extreme Championship Event. This single event will bring the conferences together to now compete with each other. 1st place teamin each division being played would get an even bigger cash prize than what was offered at each conference event.

What businesses/sponsors can we expect to see the XPL partnered up with throughout the 2015 season? Also, what staff can we expect to see behind the XPL company?

The XPL is looking to host its events at established fields; so that we can help market these great venues and become great partners with these Conference based Fields. We have opened the doors to all vendors such as Virtue, Raza, Ninja, HK, Custom Products and the hope is many of these companies will get in contact with us. Various Local vendors will be able to get in contact with us if they want to use XPL and its Marketing power to help get their style or brand out to our player base and setup Event Booths. If your company is interested you can find us on the web at xplpaintball.com and use the “Contact Us” link. Currently there has been an offered presented to Michael Hinman to join the XPL as one of its key owners of the Xtreme Paintball League. So if you’re a fan of what the XPL is doing and a fan Michael Hinman feel free to encourage!

What paint vendors does the XPL currently have lined up?

The XPL has been in talks with Empire, GI Sports, and Valken. The hope is that deals can be agreed upon and all 3 will be available at all XPL Events. To give all teams and players options in which brand of paint they like the most and want to shoot.

Will the XPL use a completely new rulebook or will it mirror what we’ve seen with current & previous X-Ball leagues?

The rulebook will mainly mirror what one would find in the PSP rulebook with changes in regard to format rules, clock, timeouts, etc. The various pieces that make the XPL different than RaceTo is in its format and that is what the book would be different in.

With so many leagues drowning in the last few years, what will the XPL look to do differently to be successful?

Sure there has been a few that have kind of dissolved over the last few years but also new ones have spun up as well. I think paintball growth is doing better and better each year, which is good for everyone. XPL is doing things a little different and also building off the success of smaller leagues that have been run and the growing success of the WCPPL, these will help spin up the XPL. We take pride in providing quality events, great prizes, and great entries. Those that know myself and even Mike, in whatever capacity he intends to hold with XPL, know that we have a lot of passion and love for the game and to the players. We always have and always will put ourselves out there for the players and teams to be able to communicate with us and provide us feedback as that allows us to develop an even better series.

What vision do the owners have for the league in the future?

Provide great events; watch the growth of paintball itself, and to continue see the XPL grow season after season. Three years from now, hopefully, we are talking about adding our 4th or 5th conference and having XPL events in a close range for people within a 2 – 3 state travel radius along adding in Canada and Mexico events into the mix. If we can achieve that than PAINTBALL, the game, the sport itself, will be in a great place for all.

Do you foresee the XPL providing a webcast for the viewing audience in the future?

We will see. We have partnered up with SocialPaintball and the hope is to build that relationship and kind of see what all the options are to get players and XPL supporters and fans action whether it’s live or just being able to provide high quality unedited full matches rapidly for everyone to enjoy quicker.

We’re definitely looking forward to seeing the XPL take off in 2015 and pretty excited to be on site filming all of the 15BPS, X-Ball action! Feel free to visit and like the XPL’s website and Facebook. Links are below.

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/pages/Xtreme-Paintball-League/729916813705389

Website: http://xplpaintball.com

Source: SocialPaintball.com, Interview with Xtreme Paintball League Owner Jerry Van Cleve – Halves and 15BPS

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Jesse Stephens Leaves X-Factor: His Thoughts

By Byron Woodfork

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If you’re not familiar with the Cinderella story of Jesse Stephens; he is one of the players that happened to catch San Antonio X-Factor’s eye at tryouts during the beginning of the 2013 season. Stephens did not originally make it onto X-Factor, instead they went another route and picked up front player Billy Bernacchia. Still impressed with Stephens, X-Factor’s owner Alex Martinez, invited him to practice with the team. Shortly after, Stephens earned a spot on X-Factor’s roster and would go on to be a focal point in their first tournament win since 2008, taking first place in the NPPL DC Open.

Unfortunately, Stephen’s consistency wasn’t where he wanted it to be during the 2013 season. Although X-Factor would also go on to win the 2013 World Cup, Jesse was not a factor in their victory. Now, Stephens looks to start a new beginning and build upon himself as a player.

We got a chance to catch up with Stephens, who had this to say:

At the end of the West Coast Open I started playing around with the idea of stepping back from The Professional division. I wasn’t getting a lot of playing time throughout the season and honestly wasn’t happy with my own performance on the team. I approached Coach Paul Richards the last night of the event at a team dinner with the idea of me stepping down to gain more experience and playing time. Less than a month later I made the phone call to Coach Ryan Brand with my final decision and right away he was very supportive and offered advice. Over the following weeks I reached out to the rest of the team and they were also all very supportive. In November I chose to play the 2014 season in Division 1 with the Dallas Jets alongside friend and old X-factor teammate Ryan Cohen. My goal is to develop alittle more as a player and eventually make a return to San Antonio X-Factor in the near future. I continue to stay in contact with the team and hold strong friendships with the players and coaching staff. I’d like to thank everyone on X-Factor for the amazing opportunities and everything they’ve done for me, especially Alex Martinez who’s been a father figure. I wish them all the best for the 2014 season.

With the loss of Stephens, X-Factor’s roster continues to have depth, but it lacks one extra youthful spirit & hunger for success that Jesse brought, whether it was in practice or tournaments. Jesse’s decision to step down was undoubtedly honorable and we look forward to seeing him play professionally again sometime soon!

Source: SocialPaintball.com, Jesse Stephens Leaves X-Factor: His Thoughts

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