theory of skill + training

Sep 9th, 2016
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  1. the first layer of fighting is about techniques and situations. in Melee we call "options" and "combinations of options" techniques, and situations are comprised of what you call context* (speed and timing) as well as other specific elements (stage positioning and percentage)
  3. little things matter a lot because the game is dynamic and comprehensive. one technique is not just one technique, it's the technique and its relationship to other techniques and the relevant situations for the technique
  5. actually, that's the second layer of fighting -- creating strategies using your basic knowledge (the first layer). so, not just understanding situations and techniques but connecting different combinations of situations and techniques that achieve tangible goals (from as simple as "sends them offstage" to as complex as "conditions their reaction in this class of situations").
  7. it should be noted that techniques can be classified by their intention, that's important because intentions are ways to connect techniques to in game goals and therefore the basis of strategies
  9. similarly combinations of a techniques and its contexts have intentions and those can factor in to your strategy...anyways
  11. the third layer of fighting is "mind games". when there's a sufficient level of mastery, players are interacting with their strategies. one motion (eg forward dash at x spacing and timing) implies many potential options and the opponent is trying to learn/gather information from those small motions while keeping his/her own motions in mind
  13. when training it's impossible to skip levels (i.e. "Don't try to do cheap improvement"). if you have a winning strategy but it's not solid and someone knows not only how to beat that hole but also how to identify that you have the hole, you can and will be destroyed
  15. to close this rant, good training at our level just starts with identifying techniques and situations ("stacking the playbook"). you can do this by playing on your own, by watching videos, by playing others, etc. there's lots of ways to make this more efficient too -- you can start with the most basic technique or situation you can think of then build from the ground up and branch into as many concepts as you can, you can start with intentions (e.g. aggressive, defensive, zoning, partial approaching, fully approaching, etc.) and work your way down (looking at specific situations/techniques that you feel fall under the category you're studying), etc. you should always be as basic as you can though -- that makes identifying patterns easier and makes your improvement efficient without losing effectiveness (i.e. results in solid improvement not wack gains).
  17. no matter what you do to train, it's important to be comprehensive, but don't forget to be creative because you want to cover as many holes possible AND increase your ability to recognize shit on the fly and develop working solutions on the fly (which almost always happens, even to high level players, and is a skill you need for tournaments).
  19. * context might be one of the most interesting parts of the game because of how human reaction time functions. humans' pure reaction time is fairly fast on average but can be reduced or changed severely when there's even one more thing to consider. this can also be manipulated on a higher level within strategies -- humans improve their reaction time by reducing the amount of information they have to sort through at a time; even if they have knowledge of all the options and all the ways the options can change, that doesn't mean that they can perfectly anticipate or adjust around it in 60fps
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