Perhaps one of the most difficult aspects of competition in esports comes with improvement. A challenge familiar among both veterans and newbies in the competitive gaming community, improvement can sometimes be a frustrating and longer-than-desired process. However, there are many aspects of gameplay that a player of any competitive video game can look at to help in their growth as a player.

Despite how good a player may be, adaptation and improvement are key aspects to success in esports. Even top “Super Smash Brothers” players like Echofox’s Mkleo use critical analysis of their gameplay and seek to learn new things as often as possible to improve their gameplay and efficiency as a player overall.

Winning in the moment is not a guarantee for future success, and most skilled players will recognize this as they apply new things to their gameplay whenever the opportunity is present. Being able to adapt to unfamiliar situations, understand a wide variety of character dynamics and execute technical inputs for your character are just a few of the many ways to improve.

A huge, often discouraging challenge that many players face is how exactly to improve when they are constantly in unfamiliar situations. For instance, new players can find frustration in playing against a character they may not have much matchup experience in, and improving in the head-to-head can seem daunting.

Another aspect of competitive play that can make improvement seem impossible is when players are faced with tough losses or are in a “slump” with their gameplay. These challenges of improvement in competition can all be frustrating, but overcoming them can mean the difference in crucial moments.

One of the best ways to approach unfamiliarity in a game, whether it be with a character or a mechanic, is to try to expose yourself to it as much as possible. If a player is struggling playing versus a character, then watching gameplay, playing versus the character and even playing as the character can be a great way to overcome the hurdle of unfamiliarity.

For instance, when a player is engaging often with a character they may be having difficulties with, it can potentially create a comfortability that can lead to a more successful game-plan in tournament settings. This also applies for gameplay mechanics that might seem impossible to do or understand.

This is evident in many different games, and this issue can usually be tackled by “labbing” out moves, combos and techniques. Learning more about the moves and things that your character or team can do can help your punish game as a player, and it can lead to the further comfortability in your gameplay that many top-level players have.

Another aspect of improvement as a player comes from how you’re taking losses. Looking at your matches through a constructive lens can be a great way to see what you may need to improve on, so getting lots of sets, matches and practice sessions recorded can be crucial.

Along with that, asking members of the community to analyze your losses with you can be a great way to get another opinion on what you could be doing to improve as a player. Taking a loss for more than its face value of “winning or losing” can mean large-scale improvement and can help players avoid detrimental habits or tendencies that might be costing them the game.

Improvement in esports is not an easy task to take on. Improvement can be frustrating and is not always an immediate answer for players. Looking constructively at your gameplay, at others’ gameplay and at mechanics of the game you’re playing can go a long way in terms of improvement. Being able to use as many resources at your disposal as possible, and there’s a lot out there, can improve aspects of your gameplay that might otherwise go overlooked.

The world of competitive gaming is a constant grind, so making sure you’re enjoying the game you’re playing is a key aspect of exactly how much work you might be putting in as a player. Use what resources are available through the community you may be a part of, and don’t let a loss discourage you—you never know what the next set holds.

UTK Esports is a student organization at the University of Tennessee, Knoxville, interested in competing in and promoting collegiate and professional esports. If you have questions or would like to join and compete, please reach out to us, or follow us on Twitter @utkesports.

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