Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Why Airsoft? (A Guide for Parents)

Airsoft Goggles
So you’re minding your own business, watching some TV or doing some yard work, when suddenly your child asks if he or she can play Airsoft. You probably have some preconceived notions about Airsoft and that is just fine, but I’m hoping to convince you that Airsoft promotes good health, is safe and indeed even beneficial to a child’s development. The fact that guns are used is generally the deterrent, at least from a parent’s standpoint. At the end of the day though, Airsoft is nothing more than an advanced game of tag or capture the flag. The guns just make it more fun. No one is aggressive when playing Airsoft, fields provide an extremely friendly atmosphere, and basically everyone is just there to have a good time with their friends. Although there is an obvious relationship with military forces, no sort of indoctrination takes place and most Airsoft players don’t have any sort of background in the military, nor do they ever intend to.
Airsoft Masks
Airsoft guns are not like any toy, they fire projectiles at high rates of speed. They are capable of inflicting injury if not used properly, and proper safety rules must be observed. However, if safety rules are observed, then Airsoft is about as safe a sport as you can get. I played football as a kid and I’ll tell you it’s a heck of a lot safer than that. I’m willing to bet it’s safer than hockey, baseball, and basketball too.  It is up to the individual to be smart, use common sense, and follow a strict set of safety rules in order to create a safe playing environment for everyone involved. For this reason, Airsoft is a useful tool for teaching children that wonderful concept every parent loves so much: responsibility. In Airsoft, failure to comply with safety procedures have consequences. If you play Airsoft you know getting shot with an Airsoft BB hurts, and so children can recognize the seriousness of the situation. Even if you don’t go along and play together with your kids, (which I suggest you do, it’s really a whole lot of fun and a great relationship builder – it forces you to count on each other) they will have a lot of support from the experienced people that work at the field, and from the older players. In Airsoft, one person’s safety habits have an effect on everybody, so believe me the other players will make sure children follow correct procedures. Trusting a child with this sort of responsibility is a leap of good faith, and they will appreciate the opportunity to prove themselves in front of the other players at the field. It is better that children learn Airsoft gun safety from a qualified referee or field employee, because otherwise they will probably end up learning a complete lack of it from their friends.

Airsoft, of course, is a physical game. You do a lot of sprinting, crouching, squatting, carrying a heavy gun around, throwing (grenades), crawling, and all manner of other physical activities. A game of Airsoft definitely gets the blood pumping, but is so much fun that it doesn’t really seem like working out. Try a game of Airsoft out for yourself, play a couple hours and tell me your thighs aren’t burning. You do a lot of full speed sprinting, then squatting, then more sprinting. This activity is comparable to interval training and wears out the muscles pretty quickly. Generally playing Airsoft involves at least 4 hours spent at the field, so that is quite a lot of exercise and you will be sore the next morning – from running, not from getting shot. Core strength, cardiovascular health, and flexibility can all be improved by Airsoft play, and many children who aren’t the biggest fans of physical activity end up really loving Airsoft.
Airsoft Protective Gear
Besides physical benefits, there are mental ones as well. Airsoft is a competitive game where you rely on the skills of you and your teammates to avoid losing and getting shot. This relying on yourself to not get hurt is a huge confidence builder. Self-reliance is, unfortunately, a dying skill set these days in our increasingly padded society. It is important for a person to know that they can count on themselves to act appropriately in a stressful situation. Team sports teach about the importance of teamwork, and although Airsoft is generally played on teams it really comes down to individual performance whether you tag someone out or get tagged yourself. When you win the big game you are proud of your team, but when you sneak around to the back of the field and get three people to surrender at once, you are proud of yourself. It’s important to know that in a one on one situation, you can get the better of people and come out victorious.

Airsoft is a game of responsibility, physical activity, and mental fortitude. It’s enjoyed the world over and increases in popularity every year. Irresponsible handling of an Airsoft gun can lead to consequences, but safe operation is a breeze and the first thing taught to new players. Fields provide friendly environments and stress safety over every other aspect of the game. So when your child asks you for an Airsoft gun, don’t panic. With proper safety instruction Airsoft is a perfectly safe activity that promotes self-confidence and health, and boy is it a lot of fun. So grab some guns from HobbyTron, bring the whole family and I will see you out on the field.

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