Select Page

There has long been silence regarding all the happens with the Russian Legion Paintball Club this off-season. That silence is now broken. We just received a detailed letter from Alexander Tarando, General Director of the Russian Legion Paintball Club, that is addressed to their fans. The letter goes into detail about the philosophy of the Club. Read below for this exclusive letter from Mr. Tarando.

[pullquote_right]There were no big surprises for us regarding the roster for 2012[/pullquote_right]“Dear fans,

We are grateful for your support of the team and your belief in us for so many years. You are always with us no matter what: victory or fail. We believe that we may always rely on your trust. We always feel your love. When you are upset with our failures we are upset even more. Therefore we think that it would be much more honest if you get the news about the Club and its life not from the paintball forums’ rumors but from us. We will try to share with you all our news, not from time to time, but on a regular basis.

In connection with the fact that last week we finished signing the contracts for 2012, we may now move forward with talking about the future of the Club.

There were no big surprises for us regarding the roster for 2012. In the beginning of November 2011, we had determined the roster for 2012. This roster is almost the same as the one you may see on our website. The only thing is, to be completely honest, we were making a big stake on our great player and veteran of the Club, Mikhail Knyazev. His experience would be very useful for our young players to learn how to play on the top level. But Mishka, due to some reasonable circumstances, was not able to bring his best as before to the training process and he has also received a very good offer from another American paintball team. According to all of these circumstances, he behaved as usual, very honest and fair. We sincerely wish him luck in his new project. A little bit later we will publish detailed information regarding other players that have left the Club for one reason or another. They’ve done huge work for the Club and for paintball in Russia. Some of them left the Club due to great offers from other teams, some did not receive an offer from us, and some feel very tired after hard years of practices. But life does not stop and all of us continue to go further.

Alexander Tarando, RL General Director

Alexander Tarando, RL General Director

So, at the moment, we have a balanced roster with a domination of young players in it. Is it good or bad? We may analyze this situation differently. Actually, almost every player in this roster already has an experience playing at the top level, except Alexey Berdnikov and Pavel Karsliev. We are definitely sure that Alex and Pavel will be able to prove their right to play for the main roster soon. Our main rule is – only the strongest plays for the main roster. I hope there is no need to talk about our veterans Aleksey Berdnikov, Vasiliy Panteleev and Kirill Prikhidny. All that is left, for our young players, is to roll up their sleeves and start practicing hard at their maximum level, keeping in mind the idea that the future of the Club depends only on them. Now, being chosen for the main roster, it is almost impossible to “sit” behind somebody’s backs. Our coaches, based on their huge amount of experience, will also try to do their best to raise the level of the team to the new and previously unreached levels. Our main goals are to not repeat the mistakes made in 2011 and to build up a good work environment in the team during practices.

We didn’t trickle away our time, and during the New Year’s holidays and the time after them, we managed to gather, from different internet forums and websites (sometimes friendly and sometimes not), lots of questions, comments, and feedback, etc. from people who are not indifferent regarding the Club’s future and the ways of its future growth. So, to make it possible to continue our dialog with them, we think it would be better if we share with you our ideas regarding the existing options of building up pro paintball teams in Russia. Actually, at the moment, there are only two real options with different variations:

Option 1 – Permanent search and long-term building up of young players for participation in top-level tournaments.

Option 2 – Hiring ready built up paintball players to achieve the highest results.

As you already know, we picked the first option and have stuck to it since 1996. Were there any mistakes during this period? Sure! We stumbled, failed, and faced up to difficulties but we kept, and still are keeping, our heads up towards the success – step by step.

Russian Legion LogoEvery owner of a big paintball organization decides on its own which option to choose and which goals to set. We, personally, are very interested in the new Russian pro teams; first of all from the point of competition. It is a well-known fact that healthy competition creates many talented young players. In Russian paintball, there are coaches who gather teams and choose, no matter how hard the choice, option 1 as we did. The brightest examples of this are Maxim Osmanov and Sergey Samuilov. I believe, that with sufficient financial support, they will be able to create, as they already have, competitive pro teams. They are proving this fact from year to year.

If we are good with the system of building up a paintball team, what is the main ingredient we need in our formula of success? First of all – it is a smoothly running, self-adaptive training process, which is created by our talented coaches. And the second thing is – ambitious players, who are able to sweat their guts out and who are able to set the most ambitious goals for themselves. The first is impossible without second and vice versa. Only this symbiotic relationship, this formula provided, allows us to reach the best results. Which, in turn, encourages our fans that our players are proud of.

Having in mind what has been said above; let’s try to describe an average Russian paintball player of a pro level, who plays in top divisions of world series:


If there is no sign of at least one of these traits, or a players start to lose one of these traits, then we will have a player who failed to release themselves, or a falling “star”.

To make the player be able to leave behind in final tournaments such teams as Dynasty, Tampa of Ironmen we need to find him, bring him to the team, organize a training process, and solve all his day-to-day issues. The percentage of players chosen after a series of tryouts who start playing for the main squad is very low, only 30%, in spite of our experience. Therefore the level or risks for our investments in the future profit is very high. Every player of ours annually costs the club: thousands of cases of paint, hundreds of coaches’ work, and thousands of dollars spent on medical coverage. But this is not the end of the list. We helped our players with the universities’ entry exams, helped with their education, and helped with their examination periods. We never left and will never leave our colleagues in difficult situations. If a player gets injured or falls ill, mainly not connected with the training process, we never leave him to sink or swim. In every case, we help him to completely recover and pay their salary on a regular basis. Sometimes we even have to deal with government authorities and army service issues. We cover accommodation expenses for the players who do not have them and many other things. It is life and a common day-to-day job.

We have the biggest team budget in Russia now, but it is not bottomless. And here we have the main question, namely: Should we try to save the player who has received a good offer from another team at all costs, which means to cut the budget for the practices or should we continue to go on according to the way we chose. Please try to understand it is really a difficult decision to make.

Sure, hiring ready-made players helps solve some of the above mentioned problems and save money. But what is next? Each year attracting players with huge salaries, and forgetting about the training process? How many years will we be able to operate in this way?

All genuine sportsmen realize that if you want to keep your skills and develop them you should practice hard; just playing in events is not sufficient. According to our experience, crisis years come after fruitful years and vice versa. And we are not an exception; all of the difficulties of the global financial crisis have had a great impact on us as well. Our huge misunderstanding of last year’s was regarding the vision of the team only as a sport project. We tried to make all the necessary corrections and adjustments and present paintball as a business to attract new financial flows.

Life never stops. And we too do not cease to exist as a paintball team.

It is a big pleasure for us to read you warm comments of support on forums. It is very important for us. Once again, many thanks to all of our fans!”

You can follow the team on Facebook:

We’ve provided the letter in Russian for Russian speaking readers. Download it here: Russian Legion Letter