In my last blog, I discussed the dangers of overtraining. Today, I want to discuss why it’s important to keep a steady grind in the game you’re playing. Whether it’s Smash or another fighting game, it’s important to continue reinforcing your habits and playstyle while grinding and learning new things in the process.
Maintenance is when you get online and fight people in Elite Smash or arenas. You’re likely learning a character or a matchup but you’re not really going in with any specific direction. Rather, you’re tuning up what you already know and are enhancing that performance. Reinforcement will allow you to develop muscle memory as well as master approaches to your playstyle.
As I mentioned in the previous entry, it’s important to learn while practicing. Instead of grinding for long hours, use some of your time learning from YouTube videos, resources, and from coaches. But while it’s ingrained in us to train and improve, some of us need that maintenance.
In my personal case, I love Smash too much not to play it. Smash is my favorite game ever and I can’t get enough of it. I even suffer through online and bad netcode just so I can play more. Unfortunately, I’m also one of those people who needs a regular tune-up. If I don’t play it regularly, I can feel myself playing like ass when I boot the game up 2+ days later.
This is probably a personal problem for me. As we all know, not every player is built the same. I’ve mentioned in the previous blog post about players that are good without even owning the game. They just show up to tournaments and whoop ass. But I can feel the difference in my play if I don’t boot up the game daily for some reason. I need constant maintenance.
Another problem this creates is my desire to pursue other hobbies. I love clearing games off of my backlog. Some of these games are 60+ hours long. I also enjoy learning new fighting games like Tekken and KOF even just to play casually. Not to mention I’m trying to fit other things into my life. I can’t just play Smash 8 hours a day.
As such, I can’t stress enough the importance of using other resources and learning methods in order to improve. Dedicate some of your time to watching top players, who use your same main, play in matches on YouTube. Learn new methods from coaches on Metafy.
But don’t neglect your training either. Don’t lose hope just because other talented players are doing better than you without picking up a controller. That’s a defeatist mentality. You are responsible for your personal growth, improvement, and ability to adapt against your opponents. If you want to reach the top, then you need to find the right direction and methods to improve.
In my case, however, I know I should be watching more matches. I tend to glean ideas from other players who use Ike, Terry, and Cloud when I watch them. I’m especially hooked on using Kazuya even though I have serious doubts I will ever pull him out in bracket. Yet despite my minimal experience using him, I have this bad habit of just hopping online to use him and getting handled.
Aside from Georgia tournaments, I rarely watch tourney streams. Hell, I rarely watch tournament streams, and even at majors, I would rather just play people in sets and money matches than watch Top 8. I should be the type of person to observe more but for some reason, I’m just not. It’s weird since I know this is how I’m supposed to improve. But as a kinesthetic learner, I enjoy playing more than watching and that tends to hurt my improvement sometimes.
But whenever I play consistently, I no longer worry about losing my competitive edge. I preserve my good habits and I tend to play better. I’m more adept at escaping disadvantage state and I can hold the pressure on my opponents better. I keep myself patient during close matches and find ways to regain control of a match without mashing buttons. Sometimes, my old bad habits rear their ugly head without maintenance. That’s why I value practicing regularly. Eventually, the concepts I’ve picked up and begun learning will be ingrained into me.
Please don’t feel discouraged if this is you. Everyone is built differently. How badly do you want to improve? Do you have a goal in mind? Don’t feel embarrassed. Don’t let that voice in your head tell you, “you suck because you’re not talented enough.” The more you improve, the more you can learn to accept Imposter Syndrome for what it is — itself a fraud of your own mind’s creation — and focus on improving.
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