I’ll be the first to admit not knowing crap about being a squad leader, despite having been an NCO in the military. Everyone on my shift knew their job and did it, so there wasn’t any real “leading” involved. I usually just provided a buffer between my underlings and the next rung up on the chain of command.
Focusing now on airsoft, instead of a COM/NAV intermediate avionics shop, we do have some expectations of our squad leaders.
You Help the Game Move On
Squad leaders are given a complete print out of the game. The phases, the game modes, the spawn rules, the phase time, maps… it is pretty much everything I know about the game. I don’t spend hours every week writing all this up and formatting it and making it pretty for my health.
The expectation is that the squad leaders will read and process this information so they know which direction the game is headed. There is no other field that I know of that gives any player that much “inside information” on a game. If the gameplan says the current phase is “Assault Outpost Omar”, you better come up with a strategy to assault Outpost Omar, and make sure the players under your command are doing their job.
Take a hands-on approach. Get all your players on the same page and do your jobs.
Self-Police your Team
Squad leaders need to be super familiar with all field rules. Yes, there are a lot of rules, and they are written with safety in the forefront. If people are getting hurt, they aren’t having fun. Learn them. Love them. They will never get more lax.
For example: if a player takes off their eyepro, you need to tell them to put it back on. If they refuse, send them to the Safe Zone (ie. parking lot).
No, you’re not allowed to kick players off the field, but if they’re fogging so badly they need to take off their eyepro during a game, they can do it in the Safe Zone.
If there’s any continued problems, contact game administration (me), and I’ll deal with it.
Know the Field
There is a field map available to print online. There are usually field maps included on the gameplan intel. There’s a 24 square foot field map hanging on the wall of The Bunker. Learn. The. Field. The major roads aren’t going to move, and neither are the major structures. Pallet Fort will always be where it is right now. Outpost Omar is always going to be where it is right now.
We’re currently playing on just under half the available space we have for the field. If we had access to road-making equipment, labor, and supplies, that would be a wildly different story, but the best we can do is poke on a little at a time.
Learn. The. Field.
There will always be players that don’t want to be part of the team, no matter how much cajoling, begging, pleading, bribing you do. Okay, fine, let them be a “fireteam” and coordinate your strategy around whatever stupid thing they want to do. I know it’s kind of “topping from the bottom”, but those players can absolutely cause your team to lose. Teams win games, not players. Make the best of the situation the best you can.
For example: if your “fireteam” wants to go sit on Orange Road, instead of assaulting Outpost Omar, then you should probably think about assaulting Outpost Omar from the north and northwest. The “fireteam” should keep the defenders distracted from the south and east.
Breaks and Eyepro
A 10-minute break is just that: ten minutes. If you and/or your players are too tired or too hungover to keep playing, then by all means, check out of the game. Let administration know that you’re leaving and wait for one of us to take you back to the safe zone – especially if you have a rental kit.
Every single game will start at 11am.
Phase One ends at noon.
Phase Two starts at 12:10.
Phase Two ends at 13:10 (1:10pm).
Phase Three starts at 13:20 (1:20pm).
Phase Three ends at at 14:30 (2:20pm)
Phase Four (if we have it) starts at 14:30 (2:30pm)
Phase Four (if we have it) will typically end at or before 15:30 (3:30pm).
Our goal is to provide players the opportunity to run as close to four hours of airsoft as possible. If your team is sitting around the CP on their phones or bitching about the weather for half an hour, they are taking game time away from the players who are there to play.
Squad Leaders: keep your eye on the time, and when it’s getting close to Game On, you need to get your troops locked and loaded and ready to hit the ground running for the next phase. If the players are unprepared when the horn blows Game On, they could be costing you valuable time to complete your objectives for the next phase.
Unless there is a moderator standing there and ensuring all weapons have been made safe, then directs you and your players to “go blind”, that eyepro stays on. Everyone has been warned about this, and people will start finding themselves uninvited to play if they can’t follow the very first most important safety rule. And no, we will not be refunding your field and/or rental fee. Period.
Squad Leaders are not allowed to determine if it’s okay or not to remove eyepro on a break.
If you’re going to volunteer as a Squad Leader, then you should get yourself a radio capable of transmitting and receiving on FRS/GMRS frequencies. You can get an inexpensive two-pack of ONN Walkie Talkies at Walmart for like $20. You can get a more powerful and feature-loaded Baofeng UV-5R from Amazon for $40. Radios are not all that expensive.
And, of course, learn how to use your radio before the morning of the game. And disable the annoying “roger” beep.
Squad Leader is a job, it’s not just a fancy title. If you have a combat vetern in your squad, listen to them… pretend they’re the senior NCO with a dozen years of experience, and you’re the fresh-from-West-Point butter bar who has the authority but still can’t find their ass with both hands if they tried.
But if you don’t know a knowledgeable former soldier or Marine to lean on, you need to make the tough calls. You need to corral your players. Absolute worst case scenario, call for admin and I’ll come deal with it. Just remember that taking me from the precious few moments I get to play airsoft every week makes for a cranky Bear.