Last month, I came across a post on my Twitter feed. Coming from Vendetta, a ranked Georgia player, he posted his goals for everyone to see.
I can wholeheartedly relate to Vendetta’s tweet because I want more out of my career. I’ve seen the determination of players to win a bracket despite being outmatched by better players. Naturally, I’ve also seen that confidence turns into immense disappointment. Some players want to win majors while others go to have a good time.
Sometimes, higher-level players feel they’ve fallen short of their potential. Other times they feel another talented player is unbeatable or just has the “it” factor which they lack. We aren’t dictated by a mental hierarchy that sorts us into our talent pools for the rest of our lives. Just because you had an upsetting showing at an event doesn’t mean you’re a low-level player. Consistently, your overall results reflect your skill level much better than any single event.
I too know what it’s like to want more than I have. I’ve dreamed of winning majors. I’ve gone into every single bracket with the idea of winning without second-guessing my intentions. I never bet against myself and I go into each and every match with full confidence that I can win. It doesn’t always pan out that way. But I make damn sure I leave everything I have in the tournament.
To bolster that mindset, you need skill, drive, and the know-how to operate on the same mechanical level as your opponents. As I’ve mentioned many times, Smash is a mental game, not a physical one. It’s not about grinding for hours a day to increase your power level. Smash is about learning fundamentals and holding a calm mental state to minimize getting punished while maximizing damage. Knowing your movement options, optimal punishes, and recovery mixups are but a few of the things you must learn to break past your barriers and enter high and top-level play.
Prodigies themselves surely played the game for hours on end before they got good and understood the fundamentals. However, perhaps either thanks to lessons learned in life, playing other fighting games, or coaching from better players, they learned faster how to adapt those lessons and nurture their mindset. This allowed them to upset players who spent more time on the game and were ranked higher until they eventually took over. Despite having less time to play, they’ve already hit a level where the meta capped at their ability to maneuver all of their options against their opponents.
It takes more than heart and guts to turn a dream into reality. It takes luck, wisdom, and a proper mindset. Having the right mindset means the ability to assess your opponent, read out their options, and play safely around their options while bringing the max damage on each punishment and possibly going for an early stock KO. Against various matchups and playstyles, you must know, second nature, how to take down your opponents and adapt to their playstyles.
This is what separates godlike play from everything else. In order to win majors or reach the top of your goals, you must be ready to accept failure. You must be ready to accept that, even if you never give up, you may not win a major in your lifetime. But if your goal is self-improvement and to continue playing a game that you enjoy, don’t let that fear stop you. At the end of the day, playing Smash is all about the enjoyment you get out of it.
I worked hard to get what I wanted. I didn’t make Top 8 in singles at a major, but I damn sure did in doubles at Super Smash Con 2016. I’ve taken my own share of top player names in my past, became a top-ranked player of my main (Ike), and utilizing my resources, attended any tournaments I could to improve myself in Smash. These goals fueled me to do better and improve into the player that I’ve come. Naturally, I chose not to get complacent and to continue improving my art and craft.
Everyone grows at a different pace. Everyone learns different lessons. I’m not saying Vendetta is wrong for dreaming. In fact, I would love to see him achieve all his goals. Lofty as they sound, they’re not unattainable dreams. Likewise, much of his competition wants the same out of their play. Yet, some players falter along the way or just get outplayed by even better talent. However, it’s not about a comparison to the other player as much as it is about your own growth and self-improvement. Other people’s criticism should not discourage you from your passion and growth.
Likewise, other people have different goals. Some want to be #1 in the PGR or even just win a major. Others might want to become the best at the character they use. It’s hard to even say there’s a #1 in a hierarchy of people who want to do what they love. Nor is it fair to place a hierarchy in anything but the eye of the beholder.
If you enjoyed this read, please consider giving my blog a follow. If you seek improvement in Smash Ultimate, visit my Metafy page and book me for coaching!