I found this useful when I started BRASS. Several others I've passed it on to have also found it useful..
How to start up an airsoft team
Written by Tyler
I have seen all types of ‘clubs’ and ‘teams’ start and then fail in the first couple of days and within the first month. I am going to attempt to give you some of my insight into making an airsoft team work. I will be using my experience of joining, little league baseball teams, soccer teams, truck and car clubs, racing teams, starting a business and my current membership to my airsoft team 858 Quick Response Team – aka 858QRT. Now before everyone gets all huffy and puffy about what I am about to say, this is from my personal experience of what I have seen work and not work. Other teams can and will work in different ways, but this is how I have HELPED to successfully start an airsoft team.
First thing, notice how I said “HELPED”. The reason that I say that is even though I ‘technically’ started the team and got the ball running. It was not me that ‘made’ the team what it is. All I did was to set the initial guidelines and when we had our first ‘meeting’.. I went over all of them with each person and we discussed whether or not the guidelines I set would work. If they didn’t work, we changed them. If we couldn’t change them, we got rid of them. Remember the old saying..”There is no ‘I’ in TEAM..”?. Well that is true IN EVERY ASPECT of the saying.
So what I am going to start out talking about is the ‘leader’ of the team. Yes, you have to have someone that ‘can’ take charge of the team but is not ‘always in charge’ of the team. You see, people are going to disagree. If nobody has a say in the way a team operates, then the team WILL fail and it most likely will fail quickly. 858QRT does not have a chain of command. This is one of the very first things that we had discussed when we formed the team. I came out and stated, “Yes, I initially formed this team.. but it is NOT ‘MY’ team by any means. I am NOT the captain or leader or Commanding officer of this team.” I did this so that the other members knew that I was not trying to ‘make’ them do anything a certain way. My tactics and techniques may not be the way that they are used to playing. So if I were to push the issue and be like, “My way or the highway” then I wouldn’t be a part of the infamous QRT.
Too many people think that there ‘has’ to be a leader or captain of the team. Truth is yes, there will always be someone that ends up taking more of a directors role on the team and that is good. But as soon as that person claims to be the ‘Commanding officer’ then you run into problems. Either one, everyone that follows the ‘Commanding officer’ has absolutely no leadership qualities and just follows because they don’t know what else to do or two, people within the team begin to disagree with the ‘Commanding officer’ and start to plan a ‘coup d'état’. In case you don’t know what that is.. it is an over throwing of a government. Or in this case an airsoft team.
Another thing about ‘leaders’ or Commanding officers is that if they just happened to ‘quit’ or move on.. where does that leave all of his faithful subjects? Well, I’ll tell you where it leaves them, standing on the side of the field with their thumbs up their… well you get the picture. So first things first, it is not always a good idea to have a Commanding officer on an airsoft team. AT LEAST not at the beginning. As time goes on and you gain more members, you can start discussing team ranking and officers and so on and so forth. But even then, it should be via TEAM VOTING. In other words.. one guy shouldn’t just stand up and say..”Okay.. I’m team leader commanding officer.. start doing what I say.” Because I’ll tell you that if I were put into that situation, I would tell the guy to pound sand and walk off the team.
Remember this simple phrase..”How do you expect them to follow you.. if they don’t respect you?”
A team is only as good as it’s worst player. Yes.. let me say that again, A TEAM IS ONLY AS GOOD AS IT’S WORST PLAYER. Very similar to the phrase, “A chain is only as strong as it’s weakest link.” This is something that is addressed by 858QRT EVERY SINGLE meeting and training session. Say for instance you want to start an airsoft team and you are an EX-Army Ranger. Well, yeah.. you have skills but what about your teammates? If you allow people to just join your team and they have no skills.. then it makes no difference on what you know. When you get shot out, your team will only play as good as the next best player.
858QRT has VERY strict qualification levels. If you are not up to par with what the team requires of you, you will not make it onto the team. I’m not going to get into the specifics of what we require but I will say that you may ‘think’ you are the cream of the crop, but if you can’t ‘keep up’ with the rest of the team, you will not make the cut.
This brings us to training. 858 Quick Response Team trains EVERY WEEK that we don’t have a game. Why? Because we want to learn new tactics, brush up on the ones we know and figure out what went wrong at the last game. Every other training is a classroom session. Again, I am not going to tell you what we train on or discuss, but I’ll give you a general idea.
An airsoft team needs to be able to work with each other. They need to know what each member is going to do without having to ask or tell them. This is going to make the team that much more effective in a fire fight. Just imagine all of the wasted time you spend each game, by telling a teammate that he or she needs to “Go that way around the hill” or “Hey.. who’s watching our 6?”. Train together and you will fight together. That is another strong point of what is going to keep a team together. As I stated above, a team is only as good as it’s worst player.
Test, how many of you have played with a group of people, teammates or otherwise, that have been completely on a different page then you? I have and it sucks. Okay, here is a little story. 858QRT went out to a RAID game (Roughnecks Airsoft Infantry Detachment). The first game.. we were teamed up with a group of guys that we had never played with. When we met up with them, we asked them what radio channel they were on and they didn’t want to tell us. We told them that we (which outnumbered them by 2 to 1) were on channel 3-3. We told them that it would be best if they switched to our channel so that we could communicate. They ‘reluctantly’ did and we proceeded to ask them what their plan was. They told us.. “Well we’re going to go over here and wait for them to come up the trail and when they do, we are going to shoot them.”. I asked, “I think we should stick together though, because we are the first check point and we are going to have the entire team (about 40 people) bearing down on us. They responded with, “NO… we know what we’re doing”. So I asked, “Okay.. what if they don’t come up that way? What if they flank you? What if they get past you?”.. They said..”Oh.. they won’t”… I said, “What if they do?”... “They won’t” and walked away.
So we went our way and proceeded to put together our battle strategy AND contingency plan. After the game started, we proceeded to give radio communication and inform the rest of the USFOR of enemy location. We were told by our ‘other’ team.. “Okay fine… NOW KEEP THIS CHANNEL CLEAR.”. That was the last we heard of them. So as the fight proceeds.. OPFOR was coming up on checkpoint 1… FAST. A few of QRT fell back into position to receive some serious incoming fire. But I had noticed that the guys that had such a great position hadn’t taken a shot. We had OPFOR EVERYWHERE and these 4 guys thought they could take out everyone? Anyway, to make a long story short, ‘their’ plan was completely ineffective. I am pretty sure that they were taken out pretty quick considering that OPFOR came out of the bush right where they were ‘suppose’ to be. Either that or they ran away like a bunch of chickens.
So, what does that have to do with team work? Well, at the time that checkpoint 1 was overrun, we still had a good amount of our force, we just didn’t couldn’t hold the check point. We had given current and accurate intel on OPFOR position to the JOC and ultimately USFOR were able to recapture CP1. Even though QRT was overrun, we worked as a team by relaying intel to not only JOC but to each other which helped us to stay alive a bit longer.
Staying alive longer has a lot to do with your equipment. Realize that if you start an airsoft team with the “Only this type of gun allowed” mentality then you are blocking yourself from a lot of advancement. I am not going to get into the ‘types’ of team styles because everyone has their thing. What I will say is that when you start a team, think of where you want it to be. For instance, if you start a team that only allows sniper rifles that shoot at 500+ FPS.. chances are that you may not be playing a lot of games with other teams. Especially if they have FPS limits. So the point of this paragraph is.. think about what and where you want your team to be once it gets started.
The next thing that I want to touch up on is again about equipment, but in a different light. 858QRT has strict requirements on what gear you MUST have in order to be on the team. These requirements were put in place because we wanted a uniformed look. In addition to having a general ‘uniform’ we also did it so that we could ‘weed out’ the non-serious players. For instance, QRT requires that you have spare magazines for your AEG. Why? Well, one we train on mag changes but in addition, we don’t want to be advancing on a bunker and have one of our guys be like..”UH… I’m out of ammo.. .hold on”. NO.. Change your mag and move on.
Anyway, when you start up your airsoft team, figure out what ‘minimum gear’ requirements you will have. At your first meeting, you and the other members can figure out if that is too much or not enough.
Communication is a key point to the survival of any team. Not just airsoft but for anything. Let’s take baseball, for a moment let’s pretend that they didn’t have the hand signal between the catcher and the pitcher. So when the pitcher threw the ball, the catcher would have to ‘hope’ that he can pick up on it to catch the ball. Otherwise there will be a loose ball and the opportunity for a runner to steal a base. Same thing applies with an airsoft team. You have to communicate with each other. Now, I’m not talking during games.. I am talking in general. For instance, 858QRT has a special section on the 858airsoft.com forums where we talk about upcoming games, training dates, team issues and more. It helps to keep our team closer together to know what is going on. Now ‘obviously’ not every team can have a website or a forum, but if you are reading this, you OBVIOUSLY have a computer. Hold team discussions on other peoples forums, chat rooms, instant messengers, etc. There is no excuse.. and since 858airsoft.com forums ALLOW for teams to ‘chat’ on their forum.. YOU DEFINITELY don’t have an excuse.
Non airsoft related events. From time to time, people are going to get tired of doing the same thing over and over. This is true about a lot of things, food, cars, video games and everything in between. In order to have a ‘tight knit’ airsoft team, you have to all get along, even when you are not playing airsoft. 858QRT is more like a family then it is an airsoft team. That is because we get together to do other things other than airsoft. I’m not going to get into what it is that we do.. because it will be different for every team. Just get out and do something as a TEAM… anything.
The last thing that I want to talk about is team numbers. Don’t try to get too big too fast. If you start with a large team, you are asking for nothing but trouble. Hardly anyone will agree and if you have someone stand up and say.. “Okay.. it’s going to be like this..” then a lot of people will disagree and the team will be over even before it started. So start small and get your team priorities squared away first. Then once your foundation has been set, start letting in members and you will be able to accept or deny people on their skills and teamwork.
So now that you have read through my short story novel.. let me break it down into a small list of things that I believe will help you when starting up a new airsoft team.
1. Don’t assign a Commanding officer… at least not in the beginning.
2. Set a training/meeting schedule and stick to it
3. Figure out what you want to your team to emulate and follow that to it’s extreme.
4. Look into the future and figure out if you team ‘style’ will keep you from advancing.
5. Communicate with each other on all levels. After the game, you still need to be friends.
6. Don’t start too big. If you do, it will be over before it starts.
7. Get together as much as you can. The only time you see your teammates SHOULDN’T BE only at the games.
8. Train together… fight together.
Remember the phrase…”A team is only as good as it’s worst player”..