I'll tell you that probably the easiest mistake to make is to not give
enough thought to your staging area. If staging is not set up properly,
you can have liability issues, you can create more work for yourself,
you can detract from the ambiance of your facility.
So what are the keys to a good staging area? First, like in all aspects of your company, lets look at liability. The worst thing to have happen is someone gets hurt at your field. And it turns out, that according to my insurance agent, they see more claims for injuries that are off the field than on the field. And let's be honest. Throughout the day, you spend more time not playing than you do playing. And on top of that - the parents who are paying for kids to play are going to spend all their time there. So thinking through the aspects of your staging area is actually as important, if not more important than your field.
Let's address some of the liability issues first. As I mentioned earlier, we had a problem due to slip and fall in our staging area. So you have to make sure that the floor has good footing. Players are planning to slip and slide on your field, but not in your staging area. As I said before, I tried epoxy non-slip paint - to no avail. I experimented with the rubbery kind of spray down surfaces, kinda like bed liners - but it ended up, the best, most cost effective thing was plain old indoor - outdoor carpeting.
This was installed and seamed by a carpet company, and we used a glue down wall to wall carpet. We also ran carpet in our parents lounge, and behind the counter, and there we put down carpet pad as well, but in the main staging area - just glue down indoor outdoor carpet was the trick for us. We'll get into the cleaning of it later - but really, it's been down almost 2 years now - and still looking pretty good.
The next thing you want to look at is how to get onto the fields from the staging area. We have a wall that goes floor to just shy of the ceiling. It butts up to one of the cross beams for the ceiling, and there is about 5 inches of space above it. We could have filled that in with the insulation when we blew it in, but it was our thought that a little extra "noise excitement" coming through would add to the ambiance - and I'm glad I did it that way.
These walls are just plain sheet rock walls, and you can see that there
are two large windows cut into them, and in the picture, you can see one
doorway (without a door when that picture was taken). The windows are
a must - people love to watch the games, and if a parent is throwing down
60 or 75 bucks for their kid to play paintball - they want to watch.
These windows will pick up splatter through the net (about 5 feet away) as the day goes on - but not so much as to really obstruct viewing. We clean them every night (we'll get into cleaning later) but if necessary, a touch up during the day only takes a few moments.
As far as the door - we decided one was not enough - so we put in 2. That really helps when things are busy, we can do the "Please go in the white one and out the yellow." These are metal doors with windows in them - pretty necessary as it stops someone from pushing one open as someone else is heading toward it on the other side. Also, it turns out all this glass in the walls, and doors helps as we keep a ref at the door, and it lets you see in advance if someone is heading back into the staging area without a barrel sock on.
As you walk out the doors onto the field, there is about a 5 foot walk
way that is netted off, and we even have net when you turn left or right.
This net has Goggles on signs on it - and barrel socks on signs from the
side when walking back to the doors. I realize this is actually on the
field side of the doors - but I decided to address this here as it is
sorta' the transition area from the staging area onto the fields. The
two shots below will show the netting on the outside of the doors if you
turn left, and the chrono if you turn right.
You will also see that the wall that divides the field from the staging area has FRP (fiberglass reinforced panels) on the field side. Again, the splatter coming through the net will get on the walls as well as the windows, and this is the stuff they put in bathrooms - about 20 bucks per 4 x 8 sheet - but it will stop your walls from being ruined from paint soaked sheet rock. You could also cover them with the billboards we talked about earlier - whichever you wish. Now back to the staging area.
I mentioned our parents lounge / video room earlier. In one corner of the staging area, where we could still run a window looking onto the field, we built a room that is 15 x 25. In this room we put a flat screen TV with DVD and satilete Direct TV. We use this for doing our video briefings, and when no one is viewing the briefing, parents can come sit in here where the chairs are more comfortable, and we let them tune in whatever they want on the dish, or use our WIFI connection and use the outlets we dropped on all the walls to fire up their lap tops. Remember - parents pay for kids to play. Keep them happy and think of them. Avoid having shirts, signs, etc with "Do you want my balls in your face!" Instead - have things that make these providers of the cash feel comfortable.
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You can see in these photos, that we use picnic table that we built out of 10 foot 2 x 12s and had a bud who owns a metal shop make the frames. We have 20 of those so there is plenty of room for folks to stage.
Let's move on to security in the staging area!
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582 E Hwy 121
Lewisville, TX 75057
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