Much like traditional sports, esports take years to learn and potentially decades to master. Anyone looking to make a name for themselves in competitive gaming has a long road ahead of them, but the training process is a little different than they might expect. By taking inspiration from how professional football and basketball players train, aspiring gamers can quickly learn the skills necessary to compete on the server. Here’s a quick outline of what basic training looks like for a brand-new esports competitor.
Mechanics are necessary to start esports training
One advantage that esports players have is that the methods of interacting with the game stay consistent across titles. Keyboard and mouse are nearly universal in PC-based esports, so anyone looking to game should get familiar with the equipment. Even the keyboard technique that any given gamer uses, like touch-typing versus individual styles, can have a massive impact on their performance.
Sometimes training is less about improving skills and more about minimizing mistakes. This is also where input training comes into play. There’s no equivalent to taking insurance in blackjack in esports titles, so learning your own weaknesses is important. If you’re not so great at hitting skillshots in League of Legends, you can either train that skill specifically or focus on other elements like rotations and matchups. If you land hit difficult combos in Street Fighter but struggle at round start, you must choose whether to train around or through that limitation.
The fundamentals are everything in esports
Once players get familiar with the rules and controls of a game, it’s time to start learning more advanced, but still practical, strategies. In first-person shooters, one technique that players need to master is called the flick shot. This involves a quick burst of mouse movement that brings the reticle to a target outside your original point of focus. This one technique, which applies to every shooter from Valorant to Fortnite, involves multiple skills including crosshair placement, snap aim, reaction speed, map knowledge, and more.
These kinds of techniques, which can vary drastically from game to game, are often combined expressions of basic skills. It’s possible to learn them just by playing the game and constantly attempting them, but there’s usually a more efficient option.
To train these skills, we’d recommend a player finds training resources. These vary, but shooter players are particularly spoiled for options. Counter-Strike: Global Offensive players can download hundreds of training maps through the Steam workshop to improve aim, movement, awareness, and more. There are even entire standalone games like KovaaK 2.0 dedicated to helping players improve in other competitive titles.
From there, watching guides made by high-level players is a great way to learn about a game’s meta. Watching replays of your own gameplay is also a good way to improve, as it allows you to learn about your mistakes and habits. When it comes to practicing new things in real games, try to concentrate on one skill at a time, adding it to your repertoire and practicing until it goes from a conscious effort to second nature. Remember, being your best will never be easy, but the goal should always be to just get a little better.