Aim Training Advice from a Master
One of our best aimers had received a plea for aiming advice and their answers had turned into a mammoth thesis.
Rather than have all that work and advice lost in the ether, we asked if we could pop it here on our blog. Permission was granted.
We have somewhat anonymised people involved, made some small edits for typos and grammar, and cleaned up some links & navigation.
The author stated that:
- These are rambling answers / stream of consciousness.
- They are based on their own personal experience only
- What works for one person might not work for another
- Take everything here with a pinch of salt
From our point of view all of that is completely fine. If you can read this and take away even just one helpful idea then it’s worth it!
Questions from an intermediate(?!) aimer
"I don't know if I’m rushing or overthinking when I’m aim training etc. The main issues are that I don't have experience or knowledge to know how to fix bad habits and create new ones which can override so I can become more consistent and improve more and more.
I have over 400 hours in Kovaaks and at least 3 years on PC. Apex is my first proper FPS game on PC.
I have issues which come down to predicting too much, my posture is not the same each time and I'm not sure how to change my setup etc to help with the issue or to experiment which may help with these issues etc.
Another main issue is looking at my crosshair way too much rather than my target ingame or the bots in Kovaaks.
Next is that I’m playing at 31.5cm and in game I just feel like I can’t track anyone who fast strafes and I don't know if this is because of my reactivity or.
Then consistency I have a routine everyday which I follow in RL and when I hop on Kovaaks etc I switch it up every now and then but then when I hop into game sometimes I pop off then sometimes I don't. I feel inconsistent and I'm not sure why this is happening when I haven't changed anything and I find it hard sometimes putting things I've learnt in kovvaks in game especially movement / dodging etc.
I think these are the main ones but I'm not sure where to start or what to do because I want to improve, I want to get rid of all my bad habits and create new ones. I don’t know if this makes sense but if there are any pointers, videos to watch which helped you or other people you know with similar issues, people to talk to about these issues etc would be perfect mate.
Sorry for the long message"
Answers from a master
- Pointers, Advice, Videos
- Fixing bad habits
- Focused on crosshair instead of targets
- Trouble tracking Fast Strafe using 31.5cm
- Inconsistency on games
- Transferring KovaaK knowledge to games
I don't think any of the good aimers have listened thoroughly to someone else.
There is no science behind aiming and the good people either already had years and years of gaming experience or years of aim training daily.
Something that is working for someone will not necessarily work for someone else and it is hard to put something out there that will work for everyone besides the usual "just play".
SDK made a document a while ago about his thoughts on aim training, he sadly deleted his videos about posture which I think was worth watching.
It is still to be taken with a grain of salt, a lot of things are nonsense and some others are somewhat still acceptable. Could it still be worth reading, I don’t know.
There are also resources on Revosect discord, for example the advice channel has still some good recommendations pinned (with a video about posture).
Same goes for the Aim Trainer channel, mostly about how benchmarks should be played (surprises, it should be benchmarks not grind machine).
I saw people linking these channels:
I remember watching one video of Ridd and it was good content/advice: Stop Losing Fights: How to Apply Aim Training to FPS Games
I have not watched christmasiscancelled’s videos but I know that it is shared a lot within aim communities, so I guess it might not be too bad to have a look at it as well.
I also happen to not be very knowledgeable when it comes to these kinds of questions as I was always focused around myself and never bothered with doing daily routines or listening to people.
To fix bad habits you first must realise them and it is a very hard task to do. Recording yourself is certainly a good idea to detect your problems quickly.
I already said this but most of the time the people who take a break from their routines or constant training will come back with a better aim than when they left. The reason behind it is the loss of bad habits formed with those constant routines. They are finally getting out of them and forgetting about how they were previously usually dealing with the scenario. They just go in there light headed and think about nothing else than hitting the target.
In the end they probably won’t realise what changed from before, so I don’t know if you can call that a fix or not, I feel like it is only a temporary “fix”. On the other hand, if you are yourself aware of your own bad habits then nothing restrain you from fixing them yourself, it’s just a will to get out of your comfort habits to change them progressively. You can also use the timescale option in KovaaK to play scenarios at a different pace to force yourself not to get used to something.
The thing that I did and still do from time to time is watching other people's PoV. I enjoyed watching a lot of Yu and Yamu or Marigold PoVs on KovaaK. I know that people don’t recommend comparing yourself to others, but it is something I do and will do all the time personally. Comparing yourself isn’t bad if you have the right mindset to go with it.
It definitely helps to see the gap between what you are doing and what they are doing and it always helps me to know what should be done differently, or what should be done extensively. It honestly is the exact same as you would do on any other game, looking at what better players can do and taking inspiration from it to become a better player yourself. There are lots and lots of really good players out there with accessible PoVs, watching the record on a scenario can be good to see what they are excelling in. Of course sometimes a record is set by very good RNG like on Thin Aiming Long so you can't really take that into account, but the aiming part is still somewhat here.
I sometimes also happen to realise that I simply have no desire to hit the target, in games or trainers, I do hit them but I’m not putting energy/focus into it.Improvements are first starting with your own mindset,for myself I know that I’m very slowly improving simply because I don’t put in the necessary efforts to permit it.
I still think that in order to avoid bad habits, you should simply not allow yourself to be able to create any. Playing a variety of scenarios will certainly avoid that, always try to find a way to break your comfort and focus on what can challenge you to become better.
I think that predicting is normal and will always happen. Your brain is an excellent worker and it excels even more at trying to work less. Your brain is used to adapting to movements, and when you understand that the target follows a pattern you will simply predict it because it simply takes less effort. I also rarely play tracking scenarios or I simply try ones that I haven’t tried yet, and let some time between going back to a scenario that I have done earlier.
It is very hard to detach yourself from predicting, if I play tracking scenarios I usually play 1 or 2 runs at max to avoid my brain picking up instantly the movements, and I try to focus only on the current situation and count on reactivity. If the bot is going right I'm going right, if he is not changing its path I'm not changing my path, if he suddenly goes left then I'll re-adjust and go left until another move is made. I think that you can get rid of predicting if you stop focusing on your score, prediction is insanely good to get new highscores but in a game the people you'll face will do everything but the same patterns, or at least not consciously.
There is also a good part of prediction on video games. After all they all have boundaries in terms of gun play and movement mechanics. For Apex you subconsciously know how fast somebody can move, what it is possible for them to do, how the physic works when jumping, wall jumping, flying etc. With that, add the different bullet travel time with weapons and you have a perfect scenario for predictive tracking. So, prediction is not always a bad thing at all, it is well required in a lot of cases.
As well as people instinctively may do the same pattern movements in some cases it can be a devastating weapon and one player that was incredibly good at it was Faye on Quake. From what Zeeq said : Faye knew where you would go before you knew it yourself.
So, I would conclude that predicting is something you will naturally come to do if the context allows you to pick up a repetitive pattern. But be aware that in a fight it could also serve against you as you’re not the only one understanding what is happening. Some players could well trick you into gaining confidence in their movements, forcing you to predict before taking you by surprise by changing their movements entirely. It is sometimes better to simply react to what is happening instead of trying to understand it.
I don't really know what's good and what isn't, beside the obvious.
Personally I use a drawer from my desk to put my chair against and my midriff is hugging the desk. That way I always have the same placement on my desk when I play and it forces me to sit straight on my chair.
I have not looked deeper into this subject but it certainly is something to look into, having a good posture and doing stretches, working out, basically living healthily is more than essential.
We see a lot of insanely good players forced to stop because of health issues due to too intense training, it happens frequently in aim trainers but is also happening a lot on the eSport scene. That's why all the eSport organisations now have training coaches and are forcing their players to workout and have a healthy lifestyle.
I think the main reason people focus on their crosshairs instead of the target is that they are sorely lacking in confidence in the movements they are making and the crosshairs only reassure them of what is happening.
Now that I think about it, it reminds me of the day CSGO added a command to enable bullet tracer on weapons. Prior to that we all learned spray patterns based on where the bullets were hitting, not where they were heading to when going out of the cannon. We simply knew when and how to readjust without having any confirmation, simply by looking at the target we knew what movements had to be made in order to hit precisely.
On one side you have players acting mechanically (wrist/arm movements), trusting their competences and relying only on the target. On the other side you have players afraid to miss, trusting only what is visibly coming out of the canon and relying on tracers instead of their own movements to know if what they are doing is good or not.
I don't really know how to help you properly on this one, perhaps 'playing more' to gain confidence in your own movement coordination.
Testing yourself in game if you can snap to something without having to adjust or barely. Basically testing how accurate you are with eyes / hand coordination.
On CSGO I sometimes used to disable my crosshair simply to see how good my understanding of the "middle of the screen" was. It is safe to say that any player who has spent thousands of hours can practically play without a crosshair because they simply know where the middle is and don't really need to rely on it at all.
I think it is a matter of reactivity/precision as a lot of Quake players play even under 10 cm and they have no trouble tracking precisely fast moving targets. (Some players are also using >40cm and have no troubles either.)
I am also very bad at this, I'm simply not used to that kind of tracking since I don't see that in the games I've played besides the few minutes of Diabotical, definitely more practice will help.
I just think I'm reacting poorly and I'm not used to instinctively adjusting to a target speed, or at least I'm usually not required to react that fast.
There are very good tracking scenarios on Aim Trainers, it will take time but I also want to be better at this.
You could also launch Overwatch / Quake Live / Diabotical and train against people which would certainly be better because you would have to manage pressure (health), movements, opponent movements, reactivity, precision and tracking targets without being able to predict unless they are not experienced enough to avoid that.
I need to get used to adapting to a target and train my brain to be faster and faster at processing the elements needed for it (target trajectory, speed of the target, adjusting, regulating my own speed to match the target etc).
All in all for that struggle, practice is the only answer to this common issue.
When I used to play CS, I would have times where I would suddenly do really bad and other days way better than usual (sometimes even while being absolutely tired, I still don't quite understand either). It has always been a thing for people and nobody ever said that it was weird, it was simply accepted that we had good days and bad days.It was even the opposite, someone having an unusual consistency would often be called out or suspected.
To face inconsistency, people were either advising to take a break and some people were advising to keep playing.
One thing I know for sure is that the only times it happens for me nowadays is when I'm simply not feeling good to begin with. Since I'm already aware that I'm not mentally and physically ready to 'perform', I'm not hassled by failing and don’t take any frustration from it. I just play with that in mind or I simply won't play anything competitive but will rather chill somewhere.
I think that by having a healthy life, this sort of inconvenience will be rare to come by but will definitely always happen, you can't be at your max potential 100% of the time.
To begin with, Aim Trainers will always be played differently than multiplayer games because they are simply different. One is focused around a single aspect in games, the other ones cover everything. Even simple differences on Aim Trainers: Everything is super clean and smooth graphically, no artefacts, no effects, you can easily cap your fps at 300 all the time, low input lag, no lags and most importantly you already know what you're facing when playing a scenario.
The thing is that you are already mentally different on Aim Trainers vs on multiplayer games. On Aim Trainers you allow yourself to be calm and focused because nothing can harm you and there is no pressure. You’re by yourself and failure can quickly be forgiven with a simple reset. In other games you are facing the unknown, anything can happen and the people you'll encounter are mostly unpredictable if good enough.
KovaaK and other aim trainers should be either used as games themselves, or tools to debunk all the bullshit said around aiming in video games. It honestly shouldn't be used as a main tool to be better at another game, just play the game you want to be good at.
Aim Trainers are fun because they are a sort of bank of data of every way of aiming that you will encounter in various games, without having to play 20 different games to get to know about it.
The issue is that on other games, despite having the same aiming mechanics, those scenarios will still be played differently as you would have only "learned" a subtle part of the game which is Aiming. But you would completely lack knowledge which is way more beneficial than simply having a good aim. You can have an insane aim and be stuck at diamond or even platine on Overwatch, simply because your lack of map and game knowledge is caping you to achieve better.
You can take Serious vs Rapha on Quake. The first one has insane raw aim, the second has insane knowledge of the game. The one winning is the one who has more knowledge despite having a "worse" aim. Simply because aiming isn't as prominent as what people think it is, even in a game widely focused about aiming like Quake. So, taking Aim Trainers knowledge into Games, you should first consider what there is to retain from one to another.
I personally think that it helps people understand that aiming isn't related to any of the parameters one could play with (resolution, fov, sensitivity) but rather that the brain is a wonderful tool that will constantly adapt to whatever is thrown at it.
Aiming has a lot of aspects that could be set around a radar chart:
- Each person has their own aptitudes and weaknesses within that chart (peak/bottom).
- Each game has their own ways of using/dealing with those aspects but a lot of them don't cover them completely (and sometimes some aspects are not present at all).
Aim Trainers could be seen as a way to become an overall competent "aimer", as there are endless scenarios possibilities to isolate every aim aspect (still lacking a lot on the movement part but, AI have their own issues). By that, players should see Aim Trainers as a way to become an overall better player to maximise that graph and not simply thinking that they should only train the aspects covered in the game they currently play.
Each aspect has its own method and technique, but those methods and techniques can be used to enhance the ones needed in other aspects.
That said, Aim Trainers have their own "weaknesses". They are meant to simulate scenarios; Even if a simulation is cool and interesting, it doesn't overcome the true experience, especially when it comes to competitive games as aiming is only a side of the game.
It takes time and will to be good at something and knowledge won't come from anything else than experience in this domain. Aim Trainers saves time and money if you are not able to experience games that cover other aim aspects that the one you're mainly playing do.
We hope something in there was helpful to you. If you have any thoughts about it or questions of your own then jump into our Discord server and let us know!
Our thanks to the helpful community member for allowing us to post this, and wider thanks to all of our community for all the help and advice they share