Thursday, November 5, 2015

Five reasons certain players are better than you (and how you can be that good too)

It's pretty clear that most of the Chicago Smash 4 scene is new. Not many people came into the scene with backgrounds in competitive Smash. In fact, 70% of our top 10 started competitive smash with Smash 4 (Shel, JTWild, Dan, NiTe, Demitus, Big_Mak, etc.). I find it interesting that even though this is their first competitive game, there is a handful of players that dominate the scene and consistently beat everyone else who is trying to make their break through to reach the top 10. These top players have been playing the game the exact same amount of time as anyone else in the scene, but why are they so much better than the average player? I see so many people put hours upon hours into this game with little results, while this select few are blazing past the rest of the competition. Why is that?

From my experiences in competitive games which started with the card game Yu-Gi-Oh! back in 2003, I've seen this pattern occur over and over again. Some players grow quickly, while others are left in the dust and remain at the same level for months or even years at a time. I believe that the reason for this is entirely psychological. It's not that one person is more inherently talented, it's that that person has the correct mindset in order to progress as a player. I've noticed a few things that the top Chicago players that started with Smash 4 have in common. This is not an all inclusive list; I'm sure there are many other points that contribute to their success. I wanted to share five things that I personally have noticed in order to possibly help the mid level players of Chicago improve.

1. Their minds are open to learning.
Always be open to learning. Every time you sit down and play the game, it is a continuous learning experience. Nothing is cheap. You don't like a move that X character has? Then you go home after the tournament, look up videos and watch how top players deal with that move. Nothing is unbeatable, you just have to look for the solution instead of complaining about what is good.

2. They play top tiers.
I understand if you want to be good with Zelda, Duck Hunt, or Bowser. However, if you want to really be good at the game, I strongly encourage you to pick a top tier. Look at the Chicago top 10. Every single one of us either plays a top tier or has a top tier secondary. Don't hate on people for playing top tier characters. In a tournament it's not "skill" with a low tier character that matters. The only thing that matters is the victory screen, and top tiers will help you get there.

3. They play the game, A LOT.
It doesn't matter if you can't go to that many tournaments. If you want to be a great player you have to play the game a lot, it's simple. Some of the top 10, such as myself, plays a lot by going to many weeklies. Some players like Akiro fiend Wi-Fi. Others play in person such as the shenanigans known as the Coon Lair. Everyone that is good at the game plays frequently. Keep playing the game, and keep learning and you will see improvement.

4. They are confident, but not cocky.
Too many times I see mid level players make a statement that they are going to beat certain people in the top 10. They say it like it's a fact that they will win. The reality is far from it, they are still mid level players for a reason. The top players are confident that they CAN win any matchup, assuming they play to the best of their ability. There is a distinction between being confident and being cocky, and I think understanding the difference can be huge for your mental game.

5. They don't get discouraged (too badly at least) when they lose.
If you play the game, you will lose. It's a fact. Even the best players can't win everything. What differentiates the decent from the good players is how they handle their losses. Don't be discouraged when you lose. Remember that you are constantly learning, and you can learn a hell of a lot more from a loss than a win. Watch your matches back, save replays when you lose. Learn from what you did wrong and make sure you aren't making the same mistakes again.