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More and more of us are becoming gamers. In many countries, around 50% of people now enjoy playing on their computers, consoles, or mobile devices, while at a global level, that percentage sits at around 33%. With so many people joining in, the level of competitiveness has risen sharply in recent years.
On top of that, the prospect of becoming a professional gamer who takes part in esports events has gone from a pipe dream to a genuine possibility for the most talented players.
No matter whether you just want to perform better when playing online against your friends, or you’d like to try for a career as a professional gamer, you’ll need to improve your skills. Thankfully, there are some simple steps you can take to get you on the right path.
Read Up on Strategy
Games are just like sports in that they are as much about strategy and planning as they are about making tactical decisions at the moment.
In Call of Duty, it might be useful to have good reactions to pull out your knife when you find yourself within touching distance of an enemy, but taking a more strategic approach to your playing may have kept you out of harm’s way and in a position to pick them off with a longer-range weapon.
Reading about different playing strategies is a good way to get some new perspective on whatever game you choose.
In the past, this meant finding the official strategy guides that were often sold by the same stores that sold the games themselves. But today, you can find much more information available online as many gamers have created their own guides that include videos and other interactive features.
It’s not just video games either, you’ll find plenty of resources on how to play poker that covers everything from the basics like hand rankings to more advanced techniques like reading the body language of other players. Similar guides are available for other classic games like chess, with help on how and why to gain central control and being more varied in which pieces you move early on.
Watch Others Play
No matter what you’re learning, watching others can be a great way to learn new things, especially if you pay close attention to the techniques and strategies that they’re deploying.
Thanks to the internet, there is more gaming content on the internet than you could physically watch during your lifetime, so you’ll certainly not be short of learning opportunities.
YouTube is a great source of gaming videos where amateur and professional players show off their skills while streaming software and platforms like Twitch allow you to watch live broadcasts of esports athletes and professional gamers showing off their talents to the cameras.
Although the overwhelming majority of gaming content on these sites is of video games, you’ll also find thousands of hours of poker, chess, and other mind sports too.
As you watch, try to look out for the way players deploy the strategies that you’ve read about. This will give you a better insight into how they work in the real world.
Theory and observation can only get you so far, it’s also important to spend a lot of time practicing your gaming too. There is no substitute for this, so if you’re serious about improving your skills, you’ll need to commit a sizable amount of time.
Just playing will help you get better as you’ll build muscle memory of which buttons to press and when, how the physics and mechanics of the game can be taken advantage of, and where key locations are on the maps.
However, it is a good idea to be structured with your practice too. To do this, try to incorporate the theoretical elements you learned in the previous two steps into your plays. This will give you a feel for how they work in practice and give you an opportunity to refine your implementation.
Don’t expect it to come instantly, to become a true master, you’ll spend hundreds or even thousands of hours improving your playing.