Are you tired of having a negative kill ratio? We will go over all the essential steps you can take to improve your gaming ability regardless if you play on your computer or console. Improving your skillset could also potentially help you earn money as a gamer.
Ways to Optimize Your Gaming Practice
As you study and review your game-play, you will subconsciously learn many new things, such as how far away from a target you must be to hit it or how long it takes for you to gather something. Each of these things will help you better manage each situation as you come to it, but in order to utilize these skills, you must practice.
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1. Play Your Video Game Often
When asked how he became so good at gaming, one of the top Twitch stars, Shroud, immediately replied that he plays a lot. He has played for years and has put in many hours of practice. In 2014, Princeton University created a study based on Malcolm Gladwell’s theory that it takes 10,000 hours of deliberate practice to become a master in any field. While their findings proved that it takes more than practice in every field, they found that continual practice made a 26% difference in gaming. In fact, of all the fields they researched, gaming led to how much is impacted by the practice.
To get the most out of it, practice when you are well-rested and have a clear head. This will allow you to pay more attention to every detail and improve the muscle memory it takes to advance. Be willing to put in the required time to master specific areas of game-play. While practice rarely makes perfect, it will always help you to progress. Stay diligent and focused to develop good tactics.
2. Game With and Against Stronger Players
When you are first starting, it is important for you to master the basic fundamentals of a game. In the early stages, playing against stronger players isn’t necessary and many times you can learn the game playing against AI.
Once you have progressed, however, strive to find opponents who are slightly better than you that you can learn from and try to beat. As you grow stronger, find opponents who have mastered certain aspects of the game and play them to learn how best to counteract their moves. Even if you go into a match knowing you will probably lose, set yourself a goal to survive as long as possible and try to beat your personal bests each time you face them. Playing with weaker players will not progress your skill as quickly.
If possible, ask your opponent to share their tactics and strategies with you. Many will be willing to help, especially in casual skrim situations or if you ask respectfully.
3. Use Gaming Simulators or Skill-Building Games
Take advantage of games or methods that were specifically designed to train your brain and develop specific skills. A focused mind allows you to notice things faster which allows you to react instantaneously. Whether you use an online mind-building site like Lumosity or do variety puzzle books (try out Journal 29 – acclaimed to be the book version of an escape room), taking time to strengthen your mind will improve many aspects of your life, as well as your gaming skills.
To strengthen your FPS skill, use Kovaak’s Aim Trainer or Aim Hero. Both are available on Steam and allow users to customize several situations designed to improve your aim. Many great players have spent hours grinding on this tool to increase their skills.
Play Tetris to improve your reflexes or your ability to think quickly. Though many see it as a simple game, as you progress in levels, you are forced to quickly find the best position for each piece and quickly adjust it to reach your target. Set personal goals to continually build these skills.
4. View Gaming Practice as a Job
Set aside time specifically for practice. While you may play the game at other times, having periods where you focus on one or two areas for improvement will progressively build your skill. On any given day, if you only have enough time to choose between your practice and you play, choose to practice. This will While you will have both good and bad days, the long-term results will be evident.
Set schedules and goals for yourself. If you are concerned that you will lose focus, ask a couple of friends to keep you accountable. Periodically look at your game footage from a few weeks prior to see how much you have improved. This will help keep you motivated to continue to get better.
Review Your Game Play Periodically
Reviewing your own personal game-play is a good way to find specific areas in which you need to improve.
5. Record Your Game Play
Some games have an in-built system that allows you to record your game-play. If it doesn’t, use third-party software (like OBS) that will capture what you see on the screen. If you want to stream, read more about the apps and programs broadcasters use in our article, The Comprehensive Guide to Streaming Software Options.
After you have played for a while, review the footage. Look for situational elements that you may have missed that you could have monopolized on while you played. The process of identifying these aspects after the fact will help you to be more aware of them the next time you play. Eventually, you will learn to anticipate them and be prepared in the moment.
6. Find a Gaming Mentor
If you are serious about studying to improve your game-play, find people who are better than you to give you personalized tips on how to improve. Have them review your game footage and listen to their feedback and advice. Don’t argue with them or try to stress your own point-of-view. You are the student and they are the teacher. Approach the conversation as though you know nothing about the game. With this attitude, you may learn simple basics that could greatly improve your game-play.
The more you understand the fundamentals of a game, the better you will be able to execute them while you play. Eventually, these skills become second nature and you’ll be able to increase new skills that will enhance your play-style.
7. Reflect on Your Own Mistakes and Losses in the Game
It is easy to become upset or frustrated when you don’t perform well. Instead of flying off the handle and reacting negatively toward your teammates or opponents, take a deep breath and replay what just happened in your mind. What could you have done better? Were you in the right mindset, or were you distracted? What did your opponent do to outplay you? What areas should you practice to do better next time?
Training yourself to have this mindset will allow you to collect this data while it is still fresh in your mind. Reflection will also train you to become more focused and less emotional in future matches. This practice will set you apart from the average gamer and you will progress much faster.
Reflecting on your mistakes also gives you the opportunity to see what steps led you into that defeat. In the future, you may see an opponent mimicking those same steps and you will be able to use your understanding of those steps to punish their mistakes and take the advantage.
Focus on your own performance and don’t play the game blame with your teammates. This is counter-productive to your overall improvement. Your teammate runs in and dies straight away? Who cares! What could you have done to win the 1v2? Focus on those things and you will ultimately become a better player.
Research Your Game
There are several ways that you can research the game of your choice in order to broaden your understanding of its particular strategy. Dedicating time to learn about your game may even give you an advantage over a typically stronger player with less knowledge about that particular game.
8. Watch Professional Streamers
There is a vast skill difference between the average player and a professional/semi-professional. Professionals see games in a different way than casual players. Watch high-skilled players with the mindset of a student. Study their game-play and look for ways that you can copy their moves and strategies.
Look for a streamer that is both talented at their game and loves to give tips and information on how you can do better. Many go the extra mile to show you small things you can do that impact your own gaming.
Study their in-game settings, their character, gear, etc. Try to understand why they chose that particular set-up. You can also engage with them and ask chat. Even if they are busy and can’t respond to you immediately, someone else in the feed may be able to explain it to you.
9. Watch YouTube Gaming Tutorials
In the same way, find solid YouTube videos of expert gaming. Look for tactical walk-throughs, how-to videos that teach tips and tricks, and compilations of advanced play. Review strong clips several times in order to glean everything you can from it. Analyze players who excel in things where you need to improve.
Ask yourself questions about their game-play? What are they doing that is different than your normal play? Why are they doing it? What abilities do they use the most? When you go back to your game, try to mimic what you have watched them do to broaden your understanding of it.
10. Participate in Online Gaming Forums
There are many general gaming forums and most games have specific forums dedicated to them. Frequently check these to learn unique tips and techniques as others discover and share them. Share information that you have learned and ask questions in areas where you lack knowledge. Network with other gamers who are passionate about the game. You may be able to play with them and learn additional skills.
11. Read About the Game
In addition to the vast amount of online information, you can purchase books, e-books, and magazines dedicated to specific games. Books for very popular games can even be found in some department stores! If it is easier for you to look flip through the pages of a book as you progress in the game, this may be the solution for you.
Stay Passionate About Gaming
You need passion in order to progress in anything. While research and practice can help anyone perform better, you need to love what you are doing in order to become great. It is good to take breaks for a set period of time. If you are starting to wear out, check out our article, How Professional Streamers Manage Burnout.
12. Take Frequent Breaks While You Game
While my last suggestion was to view the practice as a job (and you should!), it is important to take breaks and refresh periodically. They say that absence makes the heart grow fonder and that is true with games as well. Taking breaks also allows you to stay healthy and to ensure that you are not addicted to gaming.
You should especially take breaks when you stop having fun or if you become angry or frustrated because of the game. Forcing yourself to play in these situations can actually have a negative impact on your game skills. Instead, engage in other healthy actives. Go for a walk. Take a hot shower. Hang out with your friends. You will return refreshed and eager to take on your next challenge.
13. Play Video Games When You Are Fresh
On a similar note, play when you are fresh, not when you are fatigued. This will help you keep you motivated to progress. If and when you feel like you are burning out, create small goals for yourself, cut back your playtime, and focus on the fundamentals again. Alternately, try something new within the game and begin to build a different skill set. This will increase your overall knowledge about the game which will better help you to understand your opponents.
Take time to have fun and try silly or unique challenges that are unrelated to specific skill-building but may reinvigorate your passion for the game.
Push to Improve Your Game Stats
While practice and knowledge will give you a step up, becoming great takes patience, motivation, and hard work. Here are a few ways to go from good to great:
14. Learn Every Aspect of a Game
Take time to learn every aspect of a game. Study each spell, item, character, trait, etc until you can instantly recall how it affects a situation at a moment’s glance. Pay attention to the stats. Think through scenarios on how each element can be overcome or exploited by others and practice those moves thoroughly.
Learn to theory craft to find ultimate builds or teams that are both strong and efficient in battle. This will become easier as your knowledge about the game increases, but you should never settle. Keep pushing yourself. The more you learn, the more you will realize how much more there is to learn.
Once you have a broad understanding of the game, you will understand how complex each situation is. You will develop tactics and strategies that help you keep track of multiple things at once, which will elevate you to a new level of play. As things happen on the screen, your trained mind will be able to determine which elements are crucial to your victory and which can be overlooked.
15. Learn to Watch Your Opponent as Much as You Watch Yourself
Learning to read your enemies is a very valuable skill-set when it comes to gaming. Start every round of a game by testing your opponent to see how they react and their capabilities. Everyone develops their own play-style and most people develop patterns. Understanding your opponents’ patterns may give you opportunities to counteract one of their ingrained habits to your advantage.
If you know you are going to face a certain opponent ahead of time, study any available footage of their gaming and learn how they move and react to situations. When possible, have a friend or two view it with you. They may pick up on things that you initially miss.
Building your own game habits with your opponent in mind will turn you into a stronger player. Have multiple solutions on how to win in your mind and use the data you collect on your enemy to help you determine how you will play. Treat the game like you would a chess match. Try to see a few steps ahead of both of you and use that to dominate.
16. Push to the Endgame
If you are playing an MMO, push to the endgame. This suggestion goes hand in hand with playing against people who are stronger players than you. Once you reach the advanced content, you will learn at a much faster level in order to keep up with your teammates or opponents.
As an illustration, a friend of mine used to play console games. After each competitive match, he would befriend the two strongest players in the match and block the two weakest. Doing this consistently meant that he played with better players and had to learn quickly in order to keep up and stay relevant.
17. Study Patch Notes
If you play a game that is updated frequently, read the patch notes. These will typically give you an overview of revisions or new features that will transform the way people have been playing it. Having a good understanding of these key changes will help you perform better.
Prioritize Your Real Life Health
Keeping your mind and body in good shape will allow you to stay on point while gaming. We are all familiar with the stereotypical gamer – overweight and glazed expression. The truth is that many gamers have learned that taking care of their bodies and prioritizing their health not only allow them to lead fuller lives, but it improves their gameplay as well. In fact, several professional gamers have begun workout regiments in order to improve their gaming skills. We hope this is a trend that will catch on!
It is also important to pay attention to your body’s signals. Make sure that you eat regularly and get plenty of rest.
18. Exercise Regularly
Regular aerobic exercise can improve your memory and learning skills as well as lower your blood pressure. Several studies have suggested that people who get their bodies pumping develop their prefrontal cortex and medial temporal cortex. These parts of the brain control your memory and thinking capabilities.
Exercise also reduces stress and anxiety and boost your confidence. These things will affect many aspects of your life – including the times where you game. Confidence will allow you to take the necessary risks in order to take advantage.
You may not have to do it alone. Talk to your friends and see if they will work out with you. Even if you are into online gaming and are separated by distance, you can keep each other motivated by sharing milestones along the way.
19. Eat Well
Hand in hand with exercise comes good dietary habits. Eat healthy foods that help your body regulate itself and increase the power of your mind.
You can also target foods that specifically help your focus. These foods include greens, oily fish, avocados, dark chocolate (make sure it is real chocolate), and blueberries. Increasing your focus will allow you to absorb more information from the screen while you play as well as allow you to play longer without wearing yourself out.
20. Stay Hydrated
Drinking plenty of water will increase your brain function. The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition published a study where 101 participants were observed according to water intake. Those who experienced thirst had poorer memory and decreased energy. The longer they went without water, the more anxious they became and the less they could focus or pay attention to what was happening around them.
Use an online calculator to help you determine how much water you should be drinking. Invest in a good water bottle and keep it near you as your game and see for yourself how it can help you improve your play.
21. Rest Well
Gaming can tempt you to stay up late and minimize your sleep, but this is counter-productive to your overall advancement in your game. Proper rest will help your brain function better and improve your mood, allowing you to avoid getting tilted quite as often. The extra energy boost will also allow you to play longer.
Make sure that you get plenty of sleep by setting a bedtime for yourself that will allow you to get enough rest every day. Stop gaming at least an hour before your bedtime. Avoid screens and allow your body to naturally begin to relax. This will encourage great sleep and you will wake up refreshed and ready to go again.
22. Minimize Drug/Alcohol Use
It shouldn’t be a surprise to hear that repeated drug and alcohol use and impair brain function as well as negatively affects several systems in your body. Abstaining from mind-altering substances will help you keep your eyes on the prize as you focus on your next victory.
Many gamers also avoid excessive caffeine and sugar intake as these substances can agitate your nervous system. Though you may experience withdrawals at first, you will ultimately feel better and do better in the long run.
23. Strengthen Your Hands
While this may not impact your entire body, strengthening your hand muscles can make them more reflexive. You will also be able to game for longer periods of time without experiencing fatigue. Many musicians use these similar exercises to improve their music. There are many stretches and hand exercises you can do. One of the most popular is to squeeze a tennis-size ball or stress ball as hard as you can and holding it for several seconds. Doing this several times a day will build muscle over time.
Your Mental Gaming State
While I’ve touched on this a bit throughout this article, mastering your reactions and emotions are important. This will turn you into a better gamer, but more importantly, you will learn to take care of your mental health.
24. Understand that it is Literally Only a Game
While emotions such as fear and frustration can motivate you to become a better gamer, if you begin to take things too seriously, take a step back and take a break. There are many aspects to life and while gaming may be important to you, losing multiple times doesn’t affect anything that is truly essential for your well being.
Do not allow yourself to obsess over small details or get involved in game dramas. These things are typically not worth your time or energy and generally don’t progress your gaming capabilities.
Don’t play if you are stressed or depressed. If you aren’t in a good state of mind, you won’t play as well. This will lead to frustration which will only feed your anxiety, making things worse. Don’t allow yourself to get tense. Take frequent breaks or play a different game to calm yourself down. Sometimes returning to a problem after a break makes it seem easier to deal with.
25. Stay Humble Even When You Reach a High Rank
While you should take pride in meeting achievements, don’t allow yourself to start thinking you are better than everyone else. This arrogance can get in the way of further progression. Instead, stay humble and be willing to listen to feedback from other players.
Play with a Team or a Group of Friends
While you should always play with a variety of people to increase your overall knowledge of the game and push yourself to new challenges and heights, consistently playing with a team of dedicated gamers will help you reach the top of the charts.
26. Learn to Communicate Well
Though one member of your team might be a better shot caller than the rest, all of you must learn to communicate while you play. Learn to listen as well as speak.
Pay attention to the information your teammates tell you and make sure to share information with them. Practice as a team to use that information to put you in a better position to win. After every match, discuss what each of you could do to improve and how things can be better communicated in the future. It is easy to get heated in games, and while that passion can heighten everyone’s play, it is important to remain respectful to your team. To grow together, you must have mutual trust and understanding.
Use jargon or code words to communicate concepts. These team phrases will save time and clear the coms for additional information. While many gaming terms already do this, creating unique calls with your team may set you apart and build strong ties. Take note of the infection in your teammates’ tones. You can communicate a lot through tone, and the better you know each other, the stronger you will be as a team.
Consider using a private Discord server during competitive matches so that other friends or teammates can’t interrupt you when things get tricky. Read How to Create Your Stream Channel’s Discord Channel to learn how to build your own.
27. Learn Game Tactics From Each Other
During practice sessions, take turns training each other to improve in things that you have mastered. A good team will have players with various different skill sets. Not only will these training sessions build the group’s skill level as a whole, but you will also learn vital information about how your teammates operate which will help your overall gameplay. Maximize your team’s potential.
Learn to take advantage of each others’ strengths and try to help each other overcome weaknesses. Ask your team for constructive feedback on how you can improve and utilize their suggestions to become stronger.
28. Frequently Test Your Gaming Skills
Test your team’s skills by periodically participating in scrims or tournaments. If you can find other teams at your approximate skill level, try to work with them to improve as an overall group. As with individual game-play, it is a good idea to find teams that are at a higher skill level than yourself. This will increase the speed at which your team learns the game.
Use Quality Equipment
Good equipment that is set up correctly can elevate your play to the next level or keep you comfortable so that you can game for longer periods of time.
Find a comfortable place in your home to game. Try to ensure that it is as quiet as possible. Use a fan or an air-conditioner to keep it cool. This will help keep you more alert and able to focus solely on improving your play.
Paint the room soothing colors and place potted plants around. Use good lighting to avoid the extra strain on your eyes. Try to keep your room clean, organized, and free of distractions.
To read about the items that streamers use, read our guide, The Equipment You Need to Start Streaming.
29. Use Wired Gaming Accessories
While wireless accessories have become popular and seem streamlined and easier to use, using a wired mouse, keyboard, or controller will improve your latency or signal connection. Although many console controllers come wireless, you can purchase a cord. While results may vary, many professional gamers see a difference in response time based on wired vs wireless accessories.
30. A Good Gaming Mouse and Accessories
It is important to find a quality mouse that glides well with your play-style and your grip. There are many variations out there, but ultimately it comes down to what works best for you in your specific game. It should be noted that many professionals avoid mice with extra buttons. While they may look impressive or intimidating, these can often get in the way and are generally unnecessary.
Practice different movement techniques to see what works best for you. Many gamers find that moving their arm instead of their wrist gives them more control is specific gaming situations (such as scanning an area for enemy targets). While new techniques may seem uncomfortable at first, if you find them to increase your skill level, continue to practice them until they become a natural movement.
Once you find the sensitivity setting that works best for you, stick with it. You can transfer these settings from game to game by using a sensitivity calculator. Alternately, you can work out your mouse sensitivity by using a ruler or tape measure. Watch the video below to see how!
Make sure your desk is clean of extra items or debris to give you the space you need to move your equipment properly.
Gaming Mouse Accessories
Select a mousepad that has an even, uniform surface and a rubber base to prevent slipping. Many gamers use large pads that cover much of their desk or table. This allows for better movement and you can easily shift your body without having to move the mousepad as well. Even keyboards placed on these can be easily shifted with one hand when necessary.
As stated in a previous tip, a mouse with a cord will give you better gaming results, but fighting with the cord can be irritating and troublesome. A mouse cord holder can release some of that tension and give you more control over your mouse. If you can’t afford one, you can attach a binder clip to your monitor which can operate in a similar way.
31. A Good Gaming Keyboard
While shape and style don’t necessarily matter, many gamers have opted for smaller keyboards without number pads in order to conserve space on their desks. This is especially useful when using large mousepads.
Most gamers prefer mechanical keyboards over membrane-based keyboards. This is due to the fact that you can hear when a key is pressed on the mechanical keyboard and they typically are more precise and give better feedback. They also tend to be more durable and can withstand several million clicks before they need to be replaced.
Bear in mind that there is a difference between standard keyboards and those designed for gaming. While standard keyboards take information one key at a time, gaming keyboards allow you to press several keys simultaneously. This can often put you in a better position to win.
Play with the position of your keyboard. Some gamers place their keyboards almost vertically away from them because they personally find they are able to operate quicker and more precisely. You can also play with your finger positions on the board. While some find that they do better with their ring finger on the Q-key, others do better using their pinky. Ultimately, it is up to you to decide which style of keyboard and placement works best for you.
32. Gaming Chair
A good gaming chair will keep you comfortable and train you to have good posture while you game. This means that there will be less strain on your body and you will be able to play longer. Try to find a chair with adjustable armrests to prevent back and neck pain.
Gaming chairs and made in a variety of styles and sizes to accommodate your body shape and the style of game you are playing. Look for one that gives you maximum comfort while you progress in your game.
33. Good Gaming Headset
Find yourself a good headset that features 3D audio. This is especially helpful in games where you can hear sounds coming from behind you. You will be able to turn and face your opponent before they get the chance to sneak up on you.
There are both wireless and wired versions on the market. Both are good, but if you opt for wireless, be sure to have your charging cord handy during long sessions.
Turn off any unnecessary sounds that will distract you from your game-play. While many people like to listen to music while they play, a part of your brain is focused on the music instead of the game. If possible, you should also turn down the game music and turn up the sound effects. These steps will help you remain focused on the sounds that matter to give you an edge.
34. Monitors vs. TVs for Gaming Skill
Though most people play console games on their TV, you can generally get better latency if you hook your console up to a monitor. Regardless of whatever you play on, adjusting the brightness and contrast can help you keep track of the action as it happens.
The ideal monitor size is between 20-30 inches. You won’t be able to pick up on as much action on a monitor smaller than that, and it is hard to watch the full screen on anything larger. Try to sit between 16-30 inches away from the screen.
If you do play on your TV, look through its settings to find a gaming mode. Playing on this mode will reduce lag input and will speed up the action. Sit (or stand) an appropriate distance away from it. Ideal distances can be found online.
35. Protective Eyewear for Gaming
Some people find that they get headaches with prolonged screen use. If you fall into that category, consider purchasing special glasses designed for people who sit in front of screens. This will allow you to play longer and give your eyes a break. They will also help protect your eyes over a long period of time.
Alternately, you can download f.lux. This software allows changed the display on your screen based on the time of day. It helps you prepare for night and sleep because you aren’t as stimulated by the bright light of the screen.
Adjust Your Settings and Service
There are many adjustments that you can make on either your monitor or your game that may improve your overall game-play. Play around with them until you find something that works especially well for you. You should also make sure that your computer meets at least the minimum specifications for your game and upgrade pieces that don’t.
36. Internet Connection for Gaming
Make sure that you have a strong internet connection that gives you enough upload and download speed to play your game. Using wired internet will give you a better connection and will often lower your ping. If you must use a wireless router, use a high-quality one and reset it frequently.
You should also close any unnecessary programs that may be affecting the speed of your internet or your computer. These can make your game lag or mess with your ping.
For more information, read our post, Internet Requirements for Live-Streamers.
37. Upgrade Your Graphics Card
FPS (frames per second) are extremely important when gaming. While TV shows and movies generally run at about 30 FPS, you will want at least 60 in order to do well in your game. Anything less than that will result in laggy graphics or some elements of the game not even showing up. One of the friends I’ve played online games with had a terrible graphics card and her computer ran at 14 FPS. She struggled with many aspects of the game until she was able to upgrade. Afterward, she was able to see spells as they happened and improved at a much faster rate.
While 60 FPS is standard and most people do quite well with it, some professionals aim for as high as they can. They have developed a keen eye for detail and are able to process game information at a higher speed than the average player.
On a similar note, you should up the Hz settings on your monitor. The higher your refresh rate, the smoother the picture you will get. This will make a huge difference when you are playing active games with a lot of movement.