Getting back to competition is a very tedious process. Picking back up the controller is a little scary as it can suddenly feel like an alien device. My hands only feel comfortable to a point. Sometimes, the mind wants to do something, but the fingers can’t follow up with it.
This is not my first return to competition – about year and a half ago, I was in the same spot. However, my sparring partner at the time brought me back into shape. Through a lot of practice and competition, I was able to hold my own.
Flash back to the present: I haven’t formally competed in what feels like forever. However, as life brings back the possibility to compete, I seize it. To improve and feel comfortable with yourself, a process is required.
By following certain steps, everyone can jump back into competition. Getting back into it may not be easy, but with the right amount of effort anyone can do it.
Hit Practice Mode
When starting to play again, every movement might feel off. Before, everything came at ease, but now performing even the most basic technique requires a lot of brainpower.
However, after using training mode for a bit things start to come more at ease. The things that hurt the brain start to flow, and before you know it, the hands remember all that training they forgot a while ago.
Combos are remembered with more effort because of their complexity. The period of pain may still continue, but practice can cure the confusion that plagues the mind. After a few days of constant repetition, everything should start feeling more fluid.
Learn the Changes
Make sure to be up to date with the game’s meta. With the advent of balance updates and DLC adding new characters and such, modern games can change in the blink of an eye. If a character is too powerful, it normally gets toned down.
A patch can make huge changes to the game as a whole. Providing an example, at one point, Smash 4 saw change in its shield stun. Under those circumstances, the whole competitive meta-game underwent change.
The same can happen in any game. If one key mechanic gets re-balanced then the game can evolve as a whole. The same thing can be said for a character as the balance hammer gets swung.
This may be the most important step here. Getting to tournaments is a must when looking to come back.
At first glance it may seem hopeless to join a tournament full of practiced players hungry for a win. However, if you get out there and start gaining some experience, growth happens naturally.
Attempt to play the best in order to push past the barriers that hold you down. However, remember to take one step at a time as you regain strength. Reclaiming the skill owned in the past may not come quickly, but perseverance will lead the way.
With that in mind, set a list of small goals that allows all progress to be tracked. Even the smallest of steps should be accounted for. Give yourself props, and keep on with the grind.
After going to a tournament, think back on what can be done better. Don’t beat yourself up, but look at what to improve on.
Every loss is a opportunity to learn. Find a way to analyze your matches, and become self-aware of bad habits. This is what great players do. Behind every major career is a lot of effort.
Make sure to become aware of the mental battle that every match holds. To be able to fight top-notch players, a lot of “reading” is needed, referring to analyzing your opponents’ playstyle, and patterns to get a better idea on what they may do next.
Repetition is need to become great at anything. Improvement may come in short bursts and at times flood in, but never lose hope. As time and effort are invested, the only way to go is up.
Everyone holds the potential to compete within them, so take your failures and faults, and view them as necessary losses to move towards greater success. Grind your back to where you stood before and beyond.
Featured image provided by Vice
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