Ladies and Gentleman. I have decided to pick the brain of Brandon Hoelscher of the AZ Goats. He has pretty much taken a group of young dedicated players and turned them into killers. And to help the sport grow, he is hosting a 3 man M300 events in AZ. So you know I had to talk to this guy right here….
B: Brandon, you and I played together back on PB4MS for a short time, but I don’t even know much of your past. Do enlighten us on how you got started.
BH: I got started the same way most people did, birthday party when I was 10. From there it went all downhill. I saved up and bought my first gun, Spyder TL with Maroon accents, then “upgraded” to a Spyder XL because it had the rail, drop forward and the sweet silver and black striped bold. But this was almost 20 years ago now.
B: That’s how most of the people I talk to get started was at a birthday party. What about it got you hooked?
BH: Just the rush of it. And in my younger, nimbler years, diving all over in the woods, the mud and the different courses that were set up in St. Louis, MO. It helped that a lot of my friends played with me to start. There were about 6 of us that for a few years straight our birthday parties were always paintball outings. Then Of course I got into high school, there was a paintball club started my freshman year that I carried on until I graduated.
B: Wow, seems like you took to it like a duck to water huh? Sticking to it for a long time.
BH: Yeah. I mean, I played Baseball, Soccer and Volleyball growing up. They were fun and everything, but nothing matched the rush and fun that I got from Paintball. Not to mention later in life all of the different types of people I got to know that I probably never would have seen or met otherwise. It’s all part of the experience and paintball lifestyle I feel like.
B: I think you hit the nail on the head there. We definitely have many different people in the paintball world that make it interesting. Speaking of all these people you meet, tell me about the AZ Goats and the kids you have taken on there. How did it all get started?
BH: So it got started because with Contact going away, and then PB4MS shortly after. Ray Denogean and I started to just miss playing. And it was about 2 years ago, Wild West Field was hosting a 2 man 20 ball event. So we decided (with all the Blue Mountain State shows) to play as the Goats with the BMS Blue and Orange colors. We took 2nd in the 2 man event. Then we just went and played for fun here and there. Then one of our players Alec bugged us to start playing Airball more, which we did. Within about 2 months, it went from 3 of us to the first 8. They were all friends that just would invite another one or two that they knew wanted to play and compete more. And so we started working with them. Having some long days of practice, drills, and scrimmages against other Wild West Teams. They started making massive improvements and with the release of the D500 format, the boys were really eager to test out their skills. All the hard work ended up paying off with them getting 1st place in Vegas NXL, and then 4th in Dallas shortly after. It was amazing to see how far they all came in the 6 months or so of work before their first major event.
B: I remember watching the APPA anxiously at your guys standing threw out their first event. Must have been a good feeling as the coaches.
BH: It was amazing! One of my favorite points was watching our 2 youngest guys pulling off a 2 on 4 in prelims. They both just kept calm and did what we had taught them during all the practices and were able to hold out and win the game.
B: That’s what’s up! Making a pretty big name for yourselves right off the bat in the first event is an accomplishment. Seeing these kids come in from almost scratch, and being one of the coach that brought them to that level, do you have any advice for the new generation of players
BH: Be willing and open to feedback and advice. One of the biggest things that we have run into is wanting to be all stars on the field and not working as a team right away. What we are teaching them as coaches is to work on what we are teaching them. Being all newer kids they need to recognize that they might not be the best as snapping, gun battling, etc. So learning to communicate and work together pays off for them because then they are able to get their lanes down and pick on other players to make them have the numbers of the field. That combined with the newer players not being scared to make big moves. If they get shot it happens, but to keep trying and learning where and why they are getting shot, or listening to the coaches explaining what to look for while making those moves to help be more effective when doing so.
So the short answer, don’t be scared to get shot. Its paintball. And be open to criticism and critiques of their playing style.
B: Some pretty good, in depth advice there. Brandon, we thank you for your time with us, and we look forward to watching the Goats grow and progress.
BH: Thanks for reaching out. And make sure to keep an eye out for our 3 man events later this year and possibly more to come afterwards.