As you guys may of heard I will be retiring from competitive melee after this years evo so I wanted to write something for all the players who actually want to improve. Especially towards newer players. I want you guys/girls to understand that it is never too late to become good at melee. Do not get discouraged because many of the better players have been playing for 5, 7, or 10+ years. None of that is important. With all the new resources that we have available to us it is very easy to improve and it will take much less time to get good with proper training. The second thing you must understand is that the majority of melee players are not very good at all. They just think they are. While the meta is advancing, the competition is still weak. There is no way in hell I should be able to get 17th at Evo. That is pathetic. I rarely practice, have had no interest in this game for years, never owned a setup in my life, and only attend a few tournaments a year. I am not a special talent either. My talents are in other areas. I actually have no talent in videogames at all. I was only able to get decent at melee because I am a good learner and have a competitive mentality. Everyone has different goals in melee. If you are like me and have no interest in improving in melee and just play as a hobby then thats fine. However, if you want to become a top player then you need to work hard and efficiently. Getting to the level of a player such as Armada or Leffen will take time and dedication but their is a reason there is a gap between the top players and everyone else. They work harder and smarter. I am not going to get into the topic of talent. Who knows how talented the top players are and how much that has to do with their success. The point is that even an "untalented" player who works hard under the current level of competition should EASILY be able to achieve a top 20 ranking. As always I am going to be honest. If you are too sensitive then you are never going to make it. You have to be able to take criticism even if it is harsh. Once again I am writing this for the people who are serious about improving. Here are a list of things you should be doing. Of course there will be things that I did not include. This is just a general summary. I do not have all the answers nor do I have the proper understanding of the game. This will not be well-written or organized I just want to send out my message to everyone.
1) PRACTICE. This is obvious yet so many people do not do it enough. You are not going to become great practicing once every few days. Talk to successful athletes/people in other industries and see how much time they put in to their field. They are putting in several hours each day and practically dedicate their life to it. Now of course I do not recommend doing the same for melee as it is a poor mans game right now but you still should be practicing every day. The way you practice is even more important. Most melee players definition of practice is just screwing around in friendlies all day. You will not improve quickly that way. When you play against opponents in friendlies it needs to be serious and you want to try and learn something from every match. You have to know how to practice efficiently by yourself and with others. There are a ton of things you can be doing by yourself. Analyze videos, practice your tech skill/execution, work on your spacing, combos, etc.
2) Actually Understand what you are doing. Once again this sounds stupid but it is important. Every competitive player has the exact same tools. They all know how to L cancel, wavedash, dash dance, etc. However the good players understand how to apply these techniques. Dash dancing sounds simple but knowing when and how to use it effectively is not. Look at players such as ppmd, he really understands how to use it. Do not just blindly copy what the top players do without getting an idea as to why they are doing it. We all see bad marth players dash dance a ton and they have no idea what the hell they are doing. They get no results from it. Spend time trying to understand the game and think about every thing you do. Do not just do something because you hope it will work. Think about your options in situations. Even if all you figure is what you shouldnt do that is still very helpful. Knowing what not to do can be just as important as knowing what to do. It will help you eliminate options and understand your character and the game better.
3) Never be afraid to ask for help. I used to and still always ask everyone for advice. Whether it is about the game overall or a matchup. Anything! The more information you process the better. Generally you want to ask people better than you for help but even people worse than you can still offer helpful tips. People are usually very open to trying to help you out. Do not rely too much on help though. Others can point you in the right direction but they cannot do the heavy lifting for you. Your improvement is going to come down to your effort and decision making. Others cannot play and practice for you.
4) Work on your weaknesses the most. People tend to shy away from what they are not strong at. You must be honest with yourself in identifying your issues. This doesnt just happen to weak players, most of the top 100 has this problem too. I suck at certain matchups and my edgeguarding is horrible. I never took the time to work on these things. You can skate by and still beat decent players like this but if you want to beat actual good players then you cannot have weaknesses in your game. This is why whenever I play someone good I get destroyed, I have too many holes in my game. I first played Leffen at Im Not Yelling and got whooped. After the set it was obvious what I needed to do if I wanted to improve and get near his level. But I did not practice or do anything to improve and then I played him again at Press Start. Big surprise I got whooped again. If you do not take the time to improve then do not expect your results to change.
5) Improve other conditions of your life. The stereotype that gamers tend to be fat and lazy is so true. Besides just practicing melee it is important to exercise, and to sleep/eat well. Your mind will be sharper and you will be more productive. It seems like half of gamers sleep during the day and are awake at night. That is retarded and will not give you the best results.
6) stop making excuses. You are not losing because you dont have a kadano controller or that your hands were cold or that you were not playing well. There are a million excuses one can make but they are not going to help you improve. Stop being a pussy and start taking accountability. There is a mental aspect to melee, just like everything else and it is important but just like your gameplay their are ways to improve your mentality. Keep your ego in check. I am a cocky person but I dont let it affect my play. I never underestimate my opponent and I am always well focused. This is why I lose very rarely to people I shouldn't .I see other players get so frustrated when they are losing just because their ego is out of control and they feel like they should have a free win. Nothing in life is free, you will not be the only one trying to improve. It is totally reasonable to get angry with yourself but use it as motivation. Do not let if affect your play negatively. Be confident and go in with the belief that you can beat anyone when you have prepared and trained properly.
There is so much more I can write, but that is all for today. Might write a part 2 eventually, but as long as people understand that we can be doing more as a community to increase the level of gameplay then there is no need. Never be satisfied with your skill. Always try to improve and do not focus on rankings. Hopefully this helped one person out there. If you are serious about melee then it is time to get your head out of your ass and start improving. Good luck to all players. I look forward to watching in the future.
p.s: before I get any negative feedback and complaints about this post, fuck off. I do not want to hear about it. Everything I said is true and I do not want to hear about your special circumstance where you try super hard and still cant make it out of pools at a tournament. If thats the case then you are doing many things wrong and need to re-evaluate how you are practicing. Happy new years everyone!