How to Get Better at Any Skill in Counter-Strike: Global Offensive
Mon 3rd Apr 2017 - 12:53pm
First off, I would like to thank Michael "wwww" Sandvik, from the semi-professional team DeToNator who are currently playing in the 1. Division in the Telenorleague in Norway. Michael contributed a lot to this article and provided a second point of view and opinion to make sure that this article will help you improve as much as possible.
Now onto the main focus of this article: How do I work on my skills needed for Counter-Strike: Global Offensive and essentially every game? We already need to make the first distinction between two things: "Motor Skills" and "Knowledge and Experience". "Motor Skills" are skills that are defined by your movement outside of the game, things like crosshairs movement and in-game movement, the things that need input from your mouse and keyboard. "Knowledge and Experience" are skills that define your game sense and in-game intelligence, as the decisions you make in-game are driven by your prior experiences as well as your knowledge about the game. For example, people should know that running and gunning with the AK-47 is a big no-no and leads to high inaccuracy, which will more than likely cause you to miss your target.
There are multiple Motor Skills you need to master in Counter-Strike: Global Offensive in order to become truly good at this game. This list includes, but is not limited to, your aim, movement, and spray control. The first important thing to understand is that you should not really practice more than one thing at a time. I am not telling you to not to warm up your spray when you already played a deathmatch that day, but you should focus on one skill to develop it as quickly as possible, and start with improving the worst aspects of your play before slowly moving to your better aspects.
Working on Your Really Low-Level Skills
Let's say someone has never touched a first-person shooter in his entire life, and he just started playing Counter-Strike: Global Offensive. Instead for telling him to go play Deathmatch to 'git gud', you should remind him that he may hit a skill wall in those servers that he will have problems overcoming. This can be a good thing, as they can always rise to new heights when they are confronted with a challenge, but if the climb is too steep they may never make progress. To help this, you should identify the skill he is lacking, in this case his aim, and work on that in an isolated environment. For aim, the map Aim Botz by uLLeticaL and Training Aim 2016 by crashz are good examples of isolated environments where someone can focus on improvement. He can just download the map, go into a game with bots on it and start aiming at the heads of the bots or the dots who are popping up all over the aiming-screen.
This is not only suited for new players, but also for players who are struggling with certain skills that are difficult to develop inside Deathmatch or actual play, like tracing aim. I see a lot of people who have a problem with tracking players' heads with their crosshairs, which often results in wild crouch-spray and this makes them an easy kill for most experienced players. To fight this, you can go on Aim Botz again and use the movement buttons to make the bots move at different speeds. You can now stand still and follow the heads of the bots to get a feeling for speed, to learn when to shoot, and to get better at staying on target. Working on your skill in an isolated environment may also slowly break your bad habits (like crouch-spraying all day, every day).
Improving Your Skills
To actually get the skills you practiced in isolated environments to a level that you can compete with other experienced players, you need to deepen your skill by playing in a more realistic environment. This means that you need to jump into Deathmatch and other, similar game modes to test your aim, movement, and everything in-between against real opponents who fire back. These players are sometimes faster and sometimes slower than you, may have better movement or aim, and will actively try to dodge your shots at long range. Game modes like Deathmatch, which is mentioned above, Retake, Gun Game, and 1v1 Arena are all good ways to gain this practice. Keep in mind that all of these game modes are intended to simulate competitive firefights and some may argue that you can gain some bad habits in certain game modes.
Knowledge and Experience
"Knowledge and Experience" is a relatively broad term that can reference all kinds of things. First off, there is the knowledge about guns, about sounds, and general knowledge about the game and its mechanics. Then there are things you learn through experience, like how to throw grenades, how to pre-aim certain things and so on. The last aspect of Knowledge and Experience is game sense, which is perhaps the most important skill in this article.
Knowledge About the Game
As said before, the knowledge about Counter-Strike: Global Offensive starts with the information the game provides you with about guns, like accuracy, rounds per minute and damage, and ends with the height of certain models and map layouts. This knowledge is slowly gathered through playing the game and reading guides, like my guide about utility usage or the CT-side of Cobblestone, watching videos from pros or other beautiful members of our community or just watching pro matches.
(A full array of good guides on multiple games on the website of a superb gaming organization)
Through experience, you will know how likely it is that people will stand in various locations. Some may say this is part of game sense, but game sense is comprised of more things than just experience, which is why I will talk about it later in this article. Experience is important and will tell you things how far away an opponent is through the sounds they make, what certain smokes do and will help you find more and more ways to play your game out to the fullest.
Game sense is a concept used to describe the ability to collect Knowledge and Experience from within the game and to combine it with different things, like intuition and logic, in order to outplay and read the opponent. There are people who made a name for themselves through their unreal game sense, like the pro players Rain and Flusha. Game sense is crucial to In-Game Leaders, as this enables them to read the opponent's weaknesses so that they can abuse them in order to get rounds on the board. You will be able to read patterns in the play of your opponents when you have reached a good level of game sense.
How Do I Gain Game Sense?
Even though reading guides and watching videos may deepen your knowledge about the game, this does not directly make your game sense better. It will, however, give your game sense fuel to work with, and will enable you to take more sophisticated guesses. To actually improve your game sense you need to play, play, and play. You then will need to reflect upon your played games, by reviewing demos or asking the opponent, in order to identify your mistakes, learn from them and see how other people play. In order to deepen your game sense even more, especially in parts that you are not so good at yet, like reading rotations of the opposing CT-side, you will need to actively think about the information you gathered and the decisions you are about to make while you are inside of a game. You will fail. A lot. This, however, will further deepen your game sense through trial and error, and the part of your game sense on which you worked on will eventually become a reflex-like skill that you do not need to actively think about anymore.
(Screenshot by M-I-A)
Even though most things that you see on a pro-level are only relevant from a rather high point inside the skill ladder of Counter-Strike: Global Offensive, starting the right way is important. Smoke grenades will not really be too important below the rank of Distinguished Master Guardian, but it is important to identify important aspects of the game so they won't bother you later on when you would be missing certain skills. It is also important to practice the way you want to play. If you aim with your wrist inside competitive, you shouldn't aim with your arm in dry-practice, or you shouldn't run too many pick-and-play tactics in a scrim if your team is playing an execute-heavy style of play when you are in serious mode.
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