The Clinic: Damage in the Snake with Alex Goldman Part 2

Long time all-star and former World Champ Alex Goldman has just made the drastic move of switching teams right before the World Cup, as he left San Diego Dynasty for Tampa Bay Damage just this last weekend. Paintball Access had him come into the studio to film a Hot Seat episode (which will be up Tuesday Oct. 2) and while he was here we figured he be the prefect subject for another new segment we’re launching, called “The Clinic”. Goldman is one of the best in the game at playing the snake, and though he’s not had the 2012 he expected out of himself, he is still on everyone’s Top 5 list of Snake players. Matty Marshall sits down with Goldman to get a few of his thoughts on how to play the snake position and his departure from Dynasty.

This is part 2 of his interview.

Alex, let’s talk about mindset real quick. This game is so mental, regardless of what level you’re playing at. It doesn’t really take that long to learn the basics. Even to learn to shoot left handed, if you’re diligent about it.

And I’d hope everybody has their fundamentals down.

Absolutely, that’s a whole other “Clinic” section. So that being said, the difference between actual gun skills from the lowest ranked guy to the highest ranked guy in the pro division, on a technical level, most people wouldn’t be able to tell the difference. But the execution of that skill…that’s the difference.

With the gun skills, that will help you to an extent, to get into the next spot, putting someone in, or shooting someone in a snap battle. For the most part, the best players are the best because of how they look at the field. When I was playing Dynasty, I think one of the best players is Ryan Greenspan, because he looks at the field waaay different than other people. Mike Hinman said this before in a podcast, and it’s true, Ryan sees it totally different than most players, and in the correct way.

And it’s tough though because you can’t teach that, necessarily.

You cannot, at all. Just like football, the greatest players just had it; it’s God Gifted.

But let’s try to peel the mystery back a bit. So mentally, what are you thinking heading into a big game, or any game, because at this point in your career, every game is a big game.

I’m focused. Not really thinking. It’s auto-pilot at that point. Don’t think too much, paintball’s a simple sport. Just do your job and don’t over think it.

As far as a confidence level, have you always been innately confident, or is that something you’ve worked on over the years?

You have to be confident, you have to be. With paintball, you have to have the upmost confidence in yourself. I see it in myself when I’m not confident, and that’s when I’m getting shot off the break a lot.
I’ve seen on the webcast. That’s when I start get out of my game, and it’s very important, especially as a front player, to have that confidence, to make it easier for your team.

A lot of front players out there, as far front players—as far as situational, a lot of players out there don’t know what to do when they’re down bodies, because that happens all the time.

I watched the webcast, and it’s like I keep telling you, that it comes down to experience; have you been in those situations before in practice and then at a tournament? I’d hope so if you want to win.

And I’ll be honest, this whole season has been the worst that I’ve known, knowledge-wise, of a field layout each tournament going into it. We got 7-0 in the first two games of the last tournament because of the lack of the knowledge that we don’t have, we didn’t have the knowledge, on the field, of how to attack, and how to go at those field layouts before practice.

It’s ridiculous, we’ll start at 10:00 and end at 2:00. I don’t know if I want to blame that on our effort. I’ve heard we didn’t have a lot of money for practice paint, but if we are going to be professionals, the money has to be there.

Which is frustrating.

Yeah, very frustrating.

I can sense the frustration

Well, I’m frustrated. This has been one of my worst years ever. And I can’t blame the team (Dynasty). I take full responsibility. I just needed a change, man. I can’t put my finger on it. I just want to hit the reset button on the season.

Well, now you have a chance at redemption with Damage at Cup. So if you had to give an up-and-coming front player, a young guy, who wants to get better, wants to help the team he’s on, what advice would you give him?

You have to want to get in those big time spots, you can’t be afraid obviously, and knowing when to take somebody out on the field, knowing the ball & G count, the ball being how many players you’re down or up, and the G count being how many players you’ve shot against the opposing team. If you’re up 4 on 3, at that point you can go take a guy out because you’ll still be up, plus a body.

So it’s situational awareness that most important to you?

It’s situational, just like chess. If you have more pawns than him, start taking them out.

So you’re saying don’t be scared, focus on situational awareness, and be as focused as possible?

And knowing when to make the right move.

Which is really hard to do, but that’s why you train.

I tried to explain it in a better way, but Paintball is just the hardest sport to explain. Harder than baseball, football, soccer, but in my head I’m just thinking this sport is so easy, but I just cant explain it in words (laughs)

It is hard to eloquently explain it.

That’s probably why I haven’t done many clinics. (Laughs) I’m trying and I think that’s going to come with age.

How old are you now, 23?


Yeah it’s tough man, trying to explain stuff to other people especially if it came easy to you. If you started playing at the pro level a year after you started playing paintball, obviously it innately came easy to you, so…

Again it comes with experience ‘cuz I’ve played with Rusty Glaze on Dynasty, and that guy explains stuff so well. Like when we’re at the hotel, doing team meetings, I’m thinking, ”Wow, this guy knows how to lay it down and explain paintball.”

So you think it’s a good thing for Dynasty that they have Rusty for the coach?

Yeah, I can’t say how well he’ll do as a coach, best of luck to him, I just… hopefully everyone respects his decision, because the worst thing on Dynasty is there’s an argument on everything on that team between Alex, Ryan, and all of them.

That’s how it’s always been I’m sure, even when they were kids. It’s worked for them, so I don’t know. But it’s tough on everyone else. And again, like to me, keep it simple. If I was a paintball coach, keep it simple. Listen to my game plans, don’t do anything but your job. All I want on my team is just Indians, no Chiefs. Maybe one chief to look up to. You need at least one chief (laughs).

Make sure to check back next Tuesday, Oct 2, as Alex Goldman is a guest on Paintball Access new segment, The Hot Seat. Alex talks about his future, and gives his reasons for switching teams so close to the World Cup. And see him and his new team Tampa Bay Damage throw down at the PSP 2012 World Cup Oct 25th-28th brought to you live and free by

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