Through all my years of competing in VGC and other esports I have been able to find a lot of reasons why players don’t improve as quickly as they wish they could. Over the past couple months I have been doing a lot of coaching and have found there are a few extremely common habits that VGC players have that greatly hinder their growth and today I want to talk about these habits, why they are bad, and how to fix them.
These topics I have covered before in other articles to a small degree but due to the rapid growth of the blog over the past month I wanted to review these highly important topics for the newer viewers to read and begin fixing!
Blaming Hax Too Frequently And Ignoring Other Causes For Losses
Hax happens, we all know that. But if you ask many players what happened after a loss the answer is always “I got haxed” which is a terrible way to think about your losses. Are their RNG chances that influence how games turn out? Yes. Do all games that have RNG events dictated by that RNG? No. If you only blame hax for your losses then you are going to be neglecting looking for ways that you could have prevented the situation of you losing to RNG. If you loses because of rock slide flinches from Landorus-T, then maybe you need to look at your team and find a way to incorporate a solid Pokémon that can take care of Landorus such as Mamoswine, or Urshifu, or you may need to consider putting Wide Guard on your team.
Blaming hax and just saying all losses were to hax and not analyzing won’t let you figure out what you need to fix on your team. Going back to the Landorus example if you are consistently slower than Landorus and always have to hope you don’t get flinched then that is a team building flaw that you need to fix, not something that you just hope doesn’t happen even if the chances of you getting flinched are more in your favor.
Another example is if you are losing to nuzzle Raichu/Thunder wave Grimmsnarl, and just seem to get paralyzed every time those moves happen then you need to find ways to prevent this such as, misty terrain, having an electric or ground type to be immune, lightning rod users, safeguard, lum berry etc.
Playing Without Intent
Something I talk about a lot is having goals when you play. Without having a goal for your play session, or tournament run then you are just going to be going through the motions and not looking for areas that you can improve upon. The most common way players play without intent is just jamming lots of games on ladder to improve their rating without analyzing their mistakes or losses which not only prevents you from discovering flaws in your game but it also slows down the rate you will improve your rating by not learning from mistakes and repeating them in later games.
Playing Too Distracted
Playing distracted is incredibly easy to do especially in the online era of VGC that we’re in. When you’re practicing you should be giving full focus to your games to make sure you are making your best plays, analyzing your opponents options, and learning from each game. Playing while distracted also builds the habit of playing that way which means that once you get into a tournament set you will feel the urge to fill the time in between turns with some sort of media to stimulate you and overall taking focus away from the game and lowering your performance threshold.
Switching Teams Too Often
Playing a lot of teams is definitely something that can bring you great value as it allows you to expand your knowledge of the meta game as well as gives you the chance to better understand how to beat the teams you are playing for when you go against those teams yourself. However, if you are playing teams to find one that “fits” and switch teams every 5-10 games then you aren’t going to allow yourself enough time to properly learn about the teams flowcharts, good/bad matchups, or potential counters. When playing a team you want to give it a fair shot and not toss it away too quickly. Even if you are losing with a team, but someone else had success with it, the best answer is not to just toss the team and say it sucks, it’s too at least begin to find the reasoning why it works for others, and why the team makes sense as a core. Doing so expands your knowledge of the metagame, gives you more knowledge in team building, and increases your comfort level when playing.
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