Not everyone is made to follow, and not everyone fits into the current crop of Airsoft Teams. With a little thought, planning, and organization, you can form your own airsoft team that will not only make a difference on the airsoft field but make a difference in your community.
Airsoft Team Research
The first thing you’ll want to do is research the current airsoft teams running in the area. See what they use for formats, their requirements and their mission statements.
- What kind of airsoft players do you want to attract?
- Are the majority of those airsoft players already on another team?
- How can you make your team more attractive to future airsoft players with the same qualities?
- What has caused other airsoft teams to fail in the past?
- How can you avoid the same pitfalls that they experienced and ensure that your airsoft team lasts for years to come?
- How do you ensure that your airsoft team can continue without you available?
- What kind of team format do you want? Milsim, Squad Based, leadership roles, democratic/republic style?
Write up a Mission Statement for your Airsoft Team
Form a team mission statement that explains what your airsoft team brings to the table, as well as the format, age and gear requirements and type of people you’ll be recruiting. List out if you’re going to have practices and meetings. Any information that can help a prospective member know upfront what they’ll be dealing with the upfront will help keep surprises to a minimum down the road.
Create an Airsoft Insignia and Airsoft Patch for your Airsoft Team
Banners to rally behind will give your team a boost in morale. It’s worn as a badge of honour on the field and tells others who you are and what you bring to the table. If you’re having trouble coming up with a design, you can always ask someone to help design one on the forums. Many artists out there can put something together for you for a good price or favour. There are many examples on our Connecticut airsoft teams page to help give you ideas.
You can also have name tapes made, both sew-on and velcro backed from company’s like http://www.1800nametape.com/ They do a good shop, for a good price and ship quickly.
Your First Recruits
I’d highly recommend working on all of this with a couple of other like-minded individuals, so when it comes time to recruit, the “airsoft team” doesn’t just consist of you. Go out and play a bunch of games first and meet others that don’t have teams. If you get along with them and the personalities click, there’s a good chance they’d want to get something started as well. Work on the above with them and see who can handle what. Everyone is good at something, so put people into positions to succeed, and you’ll find things go a lot smoother.
As for recruiting new airsoft players after that point, I’d start with putting up a thread in Airsoft Teams forums announcing the new team. This will not only bring out offers for help from the airsoft community, but it’ll also get the attention of those looking for a team. Send any requests you get through your normal recruit process. Ensure their personalities match yours, make sure they play honestly over anything else and make sure that they’re committed to the team’s format and mission statement.
Airsoft Teams for Kids
If you look around, you’ll notice that the vast majority of the airsoft teams out there are at the very least 18+ years old or older to join. That doesn’t mean that no one under 18 doesn’t want a team; it’s just more stable to have a team of adults than it is to have a team of kids.
Let me explain why. Kids in high school and younger have a lot going on in their lives. They’ve got school, sports, other activities, family events and other varying hobbies. Their interests can change as quickly as the groups of friends they hang out with. Factor in lack of money, getting older and starting new jobs, girlfriends, etc. and transportation issues and in most cases, you have a passing interest in airsoft and nothing more.
Because of those issues, most of the teams for minors last anywhere from a couple of weeks to a year at most. We’ve had none last longer than that, unfortunately.
What Kills an Airsoft Team?
The number one killer of airsoft teams is people micromanaging them. This is a sport and a hobby, not a career choice. People have lives to live and play airsoft when they have the time and money to do so. Expecting anything more from your airsoft teammates is a challenge to your sanity and an annoyance to everyone else.
Other Death Blows to Airsoft Teams
- Poor Reputation – Cheating, bad behaviour and poor attitudes will make any airsoft team a fly by night operation.
- Mandatory practices and other events. Again, people have lives, and in the greater scheme of things, airsoft does not matter. There’s no score, and there are no leagues.
- Dues. Requiring members to pay money is a surefire way to cause trouble. Have everyone buy their own gear and pay for their own field fees. I’ve seen teams pool money together and inevitably, it gets abused by people who are not at all serious. Again, that also goes back to recruiting the right people.
- Recruiting the WRONG people. Dishonest, not serious and don’t have their own personal lives together will undoubtedly be an issue and cause internal strife.
- Us VS Them kind of attitudes. This is a game and a game with no organized central body or organization running it. Being overly competitive will cause more headaches than its worth. Play to have fun.
My Personal Advice on Recruiting for Your Airsoft Team
This is only my advice, feel free to ignore it, but it’s from 7+ years of successful experience, and watching the failure of many and more.
The best airsoft teammates are dependable ones. Recruit people that have their lives in order. If they’re 23, or worse, 30, and can’t hold a job, or reliable transportation, or have substance abuse issues; Look elsewhere. Your airsoft team is only as good as it’s members. If your members can’t support themselves (and god help them if they aren’t supporting their family), they have no business playing airsoft, let alone joining your team, until they have their priorities in line. At that age, however, it’s unlikely to ever occur for them. Reliable people make superior airsoft teams that will last as long as its members deem it relevant.
Utilize a democratic format of members voting on the direction of the team at first. As members ebb and flow in activity, move to a republic format of committees representing the larger team for voting on specific issues. This way, your less active members won’t hold up the efforts of the active ones. I find this method allows a lot more voluntary member engagement and boosts morale. It also makes for a closer-knit airsoft team.
Do not utilize a CO/XO format. We may be a MILSIM game, but we’re not a military institution. Our main demographics are typically males aged 12- 25. Most people don’t take well to being told what they’re going to do and not having a say in the matter.
Starting Your Own Airsoft Team Should be Fun
This is a game, and games are fun. Your airsoft team should also be fun. Please don’t make it more work than it has to be and don’t try to do everything yourself. Let other members handle management tasks that free you to manage the ones you’re good at. Using the guide above will allow you to have fun and create a solid airsoft team!