Starting an Airsoft Team

So you’ve decided to start your own airsoft team, eh? Not sure where to start or even if you even should be starting your own team? Fret not, n00b canoe, your ol’ pal uncle Radar is here to assist in the process and by the end of this article, you may just walk away ready to mass your own private army!

Points of Interest

Definition

There seems to be some confusion as to what an airsoft team actually is. In this article, I am defining an airsoft team as an organized group of players who are united by a common theme and/or set of tactics used in airsoft games. I have heard dozens of different ideas on what a team is, should be and how it should be conducted and everyone is entitled to their own interpretation of the airsoft team. My definition is based on MilSim, tactics and comradeship. No more, no less.
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Tools

Before you get started building an unstoppable wrecking ball of 6mm pain, you need to have a few tools in your arsenal to get the job done. These tools are not physical but more of a foundation of what is required to even get players to take you and your newly birthed team seriously. In fact, I can boil this down to two tools which will facilitate the looong list I had planned to create. 1) Respect within your community. Respect goes a long way, be it from field craft or simply being informed, respect will get you everywhere you want to be. 2) Reputation. Players are apt to follow those who have strong, positive reputations, so start building yours carefully. Reputations take a very long time to establish and seconds to destroy. Guard yours like a mother bear.
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Leadership

Leadership is a set of qualities not all posses. I’m not going to run down each of the 10 or so traits I think are critical as they are fairly generic and widely documented all over the net (for example, here).¬† I will list out the qualities so you can get a feel for what I am referring to:

  • Vision
  • Integrity
  • Dedication
  • Magnanimity
  • Humility
  • Openness
  • Creativity
  • Fairness
  • Assertiveness
  • Sense of humor

All of the above qualities are not required for to lead your own team, but they do help. Don’t be discouraged if you are lacking in a few departments, you can work on them as the team matures. Just be willing to identify your weaknesses and reach out to other teams with strong leadership for guidance when needed.
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Getting the ball rolling

Time to take the first step and get the ball rolling on your new team. You need to assess what is out there, what your new team has to offer and what makes your team attractive to other players. Before we jump to recruiting or even branding, let’s take a look at the current offerings within your community. Are there enough players to at least get you to fire-team levels (4+)? You need to decide where your team will fit in (MilSim, Ad Hoc, Goofy, etc) and what direction you want to go with it. Do you want a tactical monster or a loose collection of players making up more of a social club? Are you looking to do impressions or more of a PMC/anything goes when it comes to structure? All these questions and probably even more need to be drilled down & answered¬† before you go any further.
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Structure

Command: I can only give out personal experience here, but when it comes to structure, I’m a firm believer in the “dictator” doctrine. The one thing I hated most was having 12 guys all wanting different things for the team and in the end, nothing was accomplished because I wanted to please everyone. Well, newsflash, you can’t please everyone so don’t waste the effort. I believe that an airsoft team needs to have a single member who calls the shots. Weather or not he needs an XO is up to each CO, but I can say with absolute confidence that unless you are willing to entertain a democratic circus, go the dictator route when it comes to command.

Rank & File: This is where MilSim vs Rag-Tag comes in. How deep do you want to go? You can get as detailed a filling specific roles (riflemen, saw gunners, support, etc) or as generic as possible. For a new team, I would suggest rag-tag. Each person can bring as much to the table as they want and are not pigeon holed into a single role. Once you grow in size and experience, you can parse out who is good at what and assign them accordingly. Don’t over complicate the process with a new team… get your tactical groove down before you start micro-management (which I am firm disbeliever in!).
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Branding

So you have your team structure and see the niche your crew can fill in the community. Fan-freaking-tastic. So what’s this team’s name? Naming your team is a delicate procedure that can spell success or failure. Seriously, think about it. Would you join a team named “the steel monkeys” or “seal-delta-socom-force-5″? Hell no. You need to choose carefully and wisely. No tips, this is 100% up to your creativity and originality. Once you have your name, Google it! See if there are any other teams with similar names or matches. If so, change it. Don’t be “that team”, be original. Your team logo will translate into your patch, webpage banner, forum signature and maybe even a tattoo if you are truly hardcore (kidding). If you do not have photoshop/illustrator skillz, hit up other teams and ask who designed their logo. Graphic artists are everywhere and fellow airsoft enthusiasts are often willing to hook a brother up with free artwork. Just be cool about it and I think you might be pleasantly surprised.

The only golden rule when it comes to branding, naming, logos, etc…
DO NOT USE ACTUAL MILITARY UNIT NAMES OR LOGOS/EMBLEMS!
This is incredibly disrespectful to those that served and will guarantee you a savage tongue lashing from community members. Trust me.
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Standards & Guidelines

Starting out, I would recommend you be pretty loose when it comes to gear/weapon requirements for your members. As long as you all have matching BDUs and sling a heater, you are on the right path. Now, I do recommend that you have a set of guidelines/rules that your members adhere to from the get-go. For example: conduct. Each one of your players represent your team. Every black-eye they earn while a member of your team is a direct reflection on you and your team. There is no faster way to lose credibility as a team than to pack it full of assholes. Plain and simple, be sure you have rigid guidelines and rules established for your members before you start recruiting as it will be near impossible to implement at a later date.
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Home Turf

You need to claim a field or two as your home turf/field. This will allow players who frequent this field know where they can find you and who is rolling around with them. You most likely will find new members from the pool of players that frequent the field and if you have your shit squared, they will notice you. It’s important that you choose a home field that caters to your team’s playing style and whose clientele consists of like-minded players.
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Web Presence

Airsoft is still and probably always will be digital-centric when it comes to organization. Having a web presence is critical for providing both players and members a place to congregate, ask questions and organize upcoming games/events. Even if you go as cheap as a Facebook/Yahoo/Google group or as pricey as hosting your own website… this is a critical step. Moreover, once you have your webpage/group up, you need to start trolling the social networking sites for wider connectivity and marketing. Facebook and MySpace have a thriving airsoft community and just about everyone and their grandma has an account on either service mentioned. Twitter isn’t too shabby, but let’s be honest… no one cares that much about what a team has to say. We had an account and used it more as a “warning order” service to dispatch urgent messages. We used it once. Don’t waste your time there.
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Recruiting

You’ve arrived, son! You have all your shit squared and now you’re ready to fill the ranks with able bodies ready to sling 6mm death! Wait a sec, where are you going to find these bodies? Believe it or not, it’s easier than you think! Play airsoft. Play airsoft. Play airsoft. You will meet plenty of folks at local pick-up games and will be able to easily tell who will and won’t fit into your team dynamic, both personality and playing style. Despite the temptation, it is always best to see prospective members in action on the field BEFORE you grant them membership. Everyone’s internet personality is different from their face-to-face personality. It’s just one of those internet facts.
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Conclusion

I can’t honestly guarantee any of the above steps will help you get your team off the ground, but they will get you on the proper path and perhaps help you sidestep a few of the common pitfalls I experienced. If you have any comments or additions, feel free to comment below.

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3 Comments » for Starting an Airsoft Team
  1. Paul says:

    You made a great point on having a home field. It really does make the community notice your team, and also get to play with them. It allows you to run together as a team, and take on all comers, to strengthen your teams bond and also to solidify tactics. But splitting up into opposite teams with other people, allows you to work on your personal skillset, while meeting new people and having a great time.

    And if you are around long enough, treat everyone with respect, and play the game as safely and fairly as possible, the fields owners could confer with you with future changes to the field.

    Great article man, hope to read more soon.

  2. michael says:

    hay man i just want to say thanks for taking the time to wright this my teamis now thriveing thanks to the advice u gave me so aging thanks
    michael snow

  3. Matthew says:

    Hey I can relate to a lot of these things, as xo of my team I go day to day monitoring the team and all of the members while planning for the future. Everyone has their own personalities and when you make your team you may find there is a lot of drama and stupid things. Our team has been here for a year and it’s hard work to hold it all together. As of now there are a few milsim thinkers(including me). We want airsoft to be more then just backyard airsoft, we also enjoy making it as “pro” as possible. Then there are the others who simply want to play and it will take insane convincing to get them to get the uniform and specific gear. If you are going to make a team be prepared for headaches over silly nonsense. Goodluck

2 Pings/Trackbacks for "Starting an Airsoft Team"
  1. [...] After all these years, I have learned a thing or two and with the players making all the requests, I took the opportunity to write an article over on my personal website with a few pointers that I think would help players get their new team in the right direction. Here is an excerpt from the article to wet your taste buds with the full article available here. [...]

  2. [...] After all these years, I have learned a thing or two and with the players making all the requests, I took the opportunity to write an article over on my personal website with a few pointers that I think would help players get their new team in the right direction. Here is an excerpt from the article to wet your taste buds with the full article available here. [...]

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