Gaming is fun, but it’s always much more fun when you’re winning. While we all fancy ourselves as great gamers, the reality is that some of us are more talented than others. Whether it’s better hand-eye coordination or a natural affinity for playing games, some people can pick up a controller or mouse and hit the ground running.
For others, it can take a bit of time to get used to the controls, how sensitive the game is to inputs, and how its unique mechanics operate.
However, that doesn’t mean that those who don’t have the capability to set new high scores right off the bat can’t improve their skills over time to rival any other player.
The basketball coach Tim Notke once said, “Hard work beats talent when talent doesn’t work hard,” and while he was referring specifically to his chosen sport, the technique applies just as much to just about any other game.
So if you’d like to work hard to improve your gaming skills, try some of these simple steps.
Find Strategy Guides
No matter what game you play, there’s almost always a strategy guide of some sort written about it. In the past, official strategy guides used to be published in paperback form by companies like Brady Games and sold alongside the game itself.
Today, some bigger titles still receive official strategy guides, but you can also find hints, tips, and walkthroughs for free on the internet.
Just search in Google for the name of the game you’re playing with “guide” written after it. You’ll find advice on how to complete difficult levels, the location of every Easter egg, which weapons to use, and when to deploy different playing strategies.
There are also hundreds of books written about classic games like chess, most discussing the different possible plays, counteracting them, and other strategies to overcome your opponent. You can even find online lessons for chess that are aimed at many different skill levels.
Even if you think you’re pretty knowledgeable about the theories of whatever game you’re playing, you’ll still likely find some good nuggets of information that will prove valuable.
There’s No Substitution for Practice
Although you can learn a lot by understanding terminology and reading books, there’s no substitution for actually playing. Practising the theoretical elements you’ve learnt helps you to gain a better understanding of rules and strategies.
Depending on the type of game you’re playing, there may be several ways you can practice. Among those that play cards, often the most popular way is to access a website that offers free online poker so that they can play without having to wager real money. While there are some differences between “play money” and “real money” games (mostly because players are more likely to take bigger risks in free games), the experience is very similar. Alternatively, you can dive straight into real money games online or organize a poker night with your friends and play in person.
For video games, your choices are a little more limited. Typically, you’ll have the option of single or multiplayer modes. Single-player can be good for practicing, especially if you’re new to the game, but it won’t quite be the same as competing against other human players who may be much more cunning than the computer’s AI.
If you’re serious about improving your skills, you may also want to consider creating a routine and setting a deadline for certain goals in your gaming practice.
Watch Professional Players
Football coaches are famous for their tendency to “review the game tapes” the day after a match to find the areas where their players can improve. Some are even known to watch old games of their rivals ahead of a big game to find weaknesses in their strategies that they can exploit.
Gamers can take a similar approach to learn about what professional players do as they can often gain insight into more advanced techniques. One thing that pros do that may be different from others is they utilize gaming servers. Game server hosting providers like Survival Servers can really put you ahead of the game because there will be less lag on your end as a player.
This is very simple to do now thanks to streaming sites like Twitch and YouTube where professional players and esports athletes take part in “live streams” where they play a video game for several hours while interacting with viewers and discussing what they’re doing.
Card and chess players can also do the same with many poker and chess channels available on most streaming platforms.
Professional players are in the position they are because of their above-average playing abilities, so it’s likely that they’re going to use different techniques to an average player. Therefore, by examining how they play, you can look for things that you can include in your own gaming.
However, it’s important that you then incorporate this into your practice, otherwise, the time you spend examining others will be wasted.