When competing in high caliber matches, a lot of pressure rests on the player’s shoulders. Mistakes are a lot more costly. Having a good neutral game, and adjusting helps a lot, but sometimes players hit a major wall.
Hitting buttons is not enough to be effective in a match. Sometimes players zone out and fail to acknowledge what is in front of them. The usual combos just come out instinctively, and as the opponent starts punishing, the player only grows more frustrated. As one player conditions the other, the amount of meditation before a move decreases. There, the door to enter the autopilot mode opens.
When engaging in autopilot, players start acting out of instinct. Moves that the player is accustomed to are thrown without much thought behind it, and this never leads towards a positive outcome. Many different events can trigger autopilot mode. Messing up during key moments or just becoming too comfortable against the opponent can pave the way for it.
This mode is famous for allowing players’ movements to be easily read and punished. How does one avoid this, and where should one steer when they’re noticing that they’re drifting towards autopilot? Let’s go over it.
Expand Your Game
It’s easy to become comfortable with certain combos. This can work at times, but when facing an experienced opponent, it carries its load of consequences. Sharp punishes hit and demoralizing whiffs will drain the player.
One can easily rinse and repeat the same moves against some matchups, but once someone has figured it out, the plan has failed. Punishing a pattern is one of the core elements of the neutral game. Great players will get a lot of information out of a few clashes. Make sure to become aware of obvious patterns, and stop them in their tracks. To elevate the level of play, make sure to throw in as many different mix-ups as possible.
Getting Your Head In The Game
Mentally drifting away from the game is easy. Everyone carries their own set of problems that can take away from the must-needed attention of a match. Whenever that happens, a player must steer their attention directly to their opponent. Keeping all focus on the enemies movements, slowly becoming accustomed to their patterns.
Being aware of the opponent’s habits swings the tide in most matches. When engaging in autopilot, a player leaves the mental battle that’s in front of them. If the opponent notices quick enough, the game has already been set. Being mentally present during a match is a must.
Everyone has their mental playing cap. After engaging long sessions, autopilot can sink in. The core reason this time is because the players mental stamina is running dry.
To prevent this during tournaments, a break is needed. Instead of engaging in non-stop periods of playing before a tournament, players should take a break during their sessions. After playing for one hour, players should take a fifteen minute break to allow their minds to rest. This way the mind can relax before engaging in high stress tournament matches, priming the player for success.
Disengaging and Moving Forward
To disengage autopilot, a player must become self aware of the state. After this, they must regain control of the match, and acknowledge the opponents fluctuation of movements. This can be done by solely focusing on the opponent, and slowly adapting to their movements. Make sure to mix up options, and adapt accordingly to what the opponent is throwing out.
Autopilot is a problem that every player has to deal with. Experience is the one thing that will help players stay away from it because when approaching the unknown, we will naturally take the safest path. So take note of autopilot, and raise awareness around it.
Featured image provided by leaderchat.org
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