3 ways I plan to improve my gaming skills in 2020

Written by Alex Maidment (nSanity Beach)

I don’t do new years resolutions, at least not ones that revolve around weight loss, going to the gym, drinking less or setting an unrealistic goal. I admire those that do, but it’s just not for me. Although stating I don’t do ‘new years resolutions’, I am considering how I can get better at gaming in 2020.

Yes, this might sound like a resolution, but I can assure you, it’s not. It’s not something I’m doing because it’s now 2020, it’s something I’m doing because I suck at gaming and as much as I enjoy it, it gets super frustrating! This sudden want to improve my skills is also related to the new console launches later in the year and of course, the launch of Halo Infinite!

With this in mind, I have considered three ways that I think will help me improve my gaming skills in the coming year – some of which are based on reading around, listening to others and some of which are more based on personal experience.

1) Practice more

It probably seems achingly obvious that practice is the key route to becoming better at something, after all, the saying goes “Practice makes perfect”. Well, yes, in many senses it does, but not without some learnt techniques and honing in on what you’re good at.

I used to practice guitar playing a lot but never really got much better, not through lack of trying but through the fact that I was essentially practising the wrong technique or just the same thing over and over again. I could play the opening riff to Smoke on the Water pretty solidly along with most of the chord riffs by Green Day but I never got much better than that.

I guess what I’m trying to say is that aligned with ‘practising more’ is actually learning techniques for different games and better learning the styles of play. To use more of a gaming example, rather than music, I’ll consider how I play Rocket League. On the whole, I’m very average when it comes to Rocket League and I’m not going to become better by trying to master everything. Instead, I have been researching how others play, people better than me and trying to mimic a role.

In future streams of Rocket League, you might notice I take more of a stand-off approach and play more time in my own half defending and work on my positioning to make sure we don’t lose because of silly goals and start to get goals from counter-attacks rather than pure aggression. Of course you need a mix of the two but I feel like having one player push more for the ball with aggression and the other play a more positional role can work well.

While this is good in theory, this is where the practice element comes in. To make it work, I just need to practice more, so that’s what I plan to do (when time allows!).

2) Chill out and take my time

When the going gets tough, my tactic is to start rushing to try and make a break-through – unsurprisingly, this rarely works. It actually doesn’t matter what game, I just have a tendency to start rushing, whether it be Crash Bandicoot and I can’t complete the level or Halo and I just keep running into the action and dying.

I’ve tried this tactic before and it usually works, just slow down, take my time and learn the best way to take on the game at hand. If it’s Call of Duty, for example, I need to chill out, learn my angles and take things one step at a time.

3) Put the controller down when I get stressed

Coupled with point 2, I need to learn when to stop. I love gaming but boy do I find it stressful and frustrating at times! Rather than getting annoyed and ultimately playing worse, I need to just put the controller down and only pick it up again when I’ve calmed down and can play properly again.

I won’t get better at any game if I can’t play without getting overly stressed. There will always be something else at fault, especially considering my inability to accept I just suck at times, but the truth is hard and rather than getting stupidly stressed over a game, it’s time to start putting the controller on it’s holder!

Whether any of these techniques work is just a matter of time but I certainly am going to try and take it easy and see what comes of the skill improvement journey!

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