Tuesday, November 23, 2010


Okay.  I've been here before, in many respects.

Over the years I've improved slowly and painfully, then plateaued, wanted to quit, and forced myself through it.  I broke through those walls and became better, even if it was only a tiny margin at a time.

I want to believe that I can still improve, and that I can finally break down this one barrier that's been eating me alive for so long, which is my technical inconsistency.

I can't seem to communicate to people just HOW BAD this problem is.  I don't really get frustrated when I lose, I get frustrated when I play poorly.  Particularly when I make lots of stupid technical errors that I shouldn't be making after playing for 6 years.

Things like trying to wavedash, and failing, then attempting to fast fall to avoid eating the aerial that I'm now in range of, and double jumping with my joystick.  Or trying to waveland onto the stage, but just standing up; then when I try to wavedash back onto the edge so I can try again--and see if my controller doesn't need resetting or something--then I roll by mistake.  Then I decide "whatever," and try to short hop and get the edge, only to full jump.

Somebody said that I make lots of bad decisions, and it's hard to explain to people that your decisions aren't really your own when your hands don't cooperate.  I'm constantly at odds with my own body to actually communicate my desires to the game.  Some games more than half of my attemped inputs come out as errors.

This is not an exaggeration.  WD d-smash becomes WD f-smash because of a c-stick flub, followed by an attempted roll that turns into a spot dodge or jump because I spaz on the joystick.  My next JC'ed grab is a full jumped f-air to which I then miss the fast fall (and subsequent L-cancel).  Upon landing, I airdodge horizontally, failing to wavedash again.  My next short hop n-air is a dash attack because I miss my jump button.  And so on.

Again, not exaggerations; these are specific examples taken from recent smashfests and friendlies I've played. And when I tell people that I'm frustrated because these mistakes are getting me raped, they say things like "everybody has bad games."  I am trying to explain that this goes beyond most people's definition of a bad game, and it happens with a consistency that people think I'm embellishing.

This would not be as big of an issue if I had some safe baseline to fall back on, some technical elements that I NEVER mess up so I can play safe while I calm down... except I don't.  I cannot handle the controller without some risk of missing buttons or slamming the joystick in some random direction.  Most people find themselves overreaching their tech-skill sometimes and saying "okay okay we'll tone it down."  I cannot tone it down to an error-free level.

Sometimes this is clearly tied to my mental state; when I'm frustrated or agitated I often play worse, and when I'm calm and focused I typically play better.  Durr, obvious I know, but yeah.  However, even when I'm practicing solo in a relatively calm state I will still make these silly mistakes.  When I'm nervous, in high-pressure tourney situations... well, most of you have seen what happens.

I have accepted that I don't really have a talent for this game beyond my obsessive nature.  But this is at an extreme that I don't know how to cope with anymore; the amount of practice I invest does not seem to correlate at ALL to my technical proficiency, and I'm starting to lose hope.  I come up with new systems and ideas to try and rectify it, but nothing's working.  My past month-plus of dedicated practice, of going back to basics and hammering them in with constant repetition, has yielded absolutely nothing.  I still screw up these fundamentals at a rate far beyond what is acceptable for any player trying to legitimately call themselves good at this game.

The worst part is that I can't just give up and call it quits because there's something inside me, a small petulant voice made of spite and ambition and idealism, that refuses to let me.  I'm not going to keep playing if I honestly believe I can't get any better, and apart from this voice, that's what I'm coming to believe the more and more I practice.

tl;dr: bah.  If somebody has any advice on how to fix this nonsense, please send it to me.


  1. i find myself having to think about the order of the button inputs for things like waveshining / ledgedashing because i'm trying to do them too fast

    also i recently learned that it takes 8 frames i believe to drop down from a ledge once you grab it

    i also heard you talk at apex about your hands shaking, is that only when you play Melee?

  2. also i'm probably saying things that you already know about >_<

  3. I have a minor neurological disorder that causes my hands (and other muscles, really) to shake and jump a lot, influenced by things like how much I've eaten (or not eaten), how nervous I am, how much caffeine I've had... at a tournament where I'm in finals and haven't consumed anything all day except for a couple cans of Dr. Pepper, it gets pretty bad. But I long ago stopped doing that. Hasn't fixed it really -_-

  4. it's pretty amazing that you've gotten to where you are despite that o_o

    unfortunately i have no personal experience in this so i can't really say anything constructive :[

  5. Okay, i totally know how you feel. Not just in smash, but in my sport (Tennis) as well. I put in so many hours of practice and it's frustrating to not see as much improvement as we like. There was a time not too long ago (6 or 7 months?) when i was seriously considering quitting both Smash and Tennis. I was so frustrated with my gameplay and my inability to be as good as i wanted to be (which is the best). But you know what got me through that? One of you're earlier posts. Emotional Control Part 1 really made me examine my attitude and remember why i was playing. "It's surprisingly zen. You have to hold two contradictory ideas in your mind at the same time. Giving everything you have to win and pushing towards perfection, yet being content with losing and making mistakes." Sound familiar? I've shown this article to 4 or 5 people who i've felt it would help. And while reading you're latest post, i felt like showing it to you. Except i think you should be fairly familiar with it already. Anyways, remember why you're playing the game. You have to enjoy it again, and the rest will follow. You're one of the best smasher's in the world! Have some confidence!

  6. First off. I'd be sad if you quit D:

    Some technical fail-safes: Just hold shield. [Pretty effective for IC], Wavedash downwards [if you're missing WD it's because your angle is too horizontal, also I've seen Mango use this technique on youtube which for some reasons makes people do weird things]

    I honestly believe that having to play a wavedash heavy character is going to be a weakness in Melee simply because every time you miss a wavedash it's potential free damage for your opponent.
    Solution to this? Well, I would say start playing different characters. I know this goes against some Ice Climber ideas since they play so differently from the rest of the cast, but playing Marth or Sheik may be more relaxing and it can actually help in precision.

    If you want to do your idea of concentrating on ONE THING, concentrate on ONE MISTAKE YOU WILL NOT MAKE in one specific game... You shouldn't tackle wavedashing first as it's an integral part of IC and it's also really common to miss it. It's too large to really try to tackle first, so I'd say... The mistake you make right after missing the wavedash. Do not make that!

    You've probably taken these things into account. I have execution problems all the time, being a smash player trying to play SF is absolutely terrifying sometimes (I try to DI) but just know that if you're not deriving happiness from the game, you can either quit or review your criteria for happiness. And quitting won't make you that much happier either D:

    Come on Wobbles. You're the best ICs. If all else fails, take a break, but never say never.


  7. i think alot of smashers have had a problem like this, but its very true that not many of us are in the same boat as you

    first off, i never knew that about your hands and its an incredible inspiration seeing that you have gotten to where you are while dealing with it.

    i would also suggest picking up another character. not necessarily a less WD intensive character but just another character so you start to dislodge the nuero-pathways connected to your IC play.
    i used to feel torn when wanting to play other characters besides falco because i would see falco mains like chops. chops knows his character so well, solely because he doesnt dick around with other characters. all the practice that goes into smash, goes into falco, in his case.
    this may work for chops but over the years ive found that it does NOT work for me, when i train with one character for a long period of time i find that i end up fucking up the things ive been practicing for so long. but when i pick up a character i have had experience with in the past, but have not been practicing, i do so much better.
    i think this is because i am not sure what to think about while playing, so i just play, thought goes into basics like edgeguarding and spacing, not delaying aerials and jumps to make my movement and combos work.
    my horribly punctuated, and very scattered paragraph(essay) pretty much leads to one question i have for you...
    what do you think about when you play?
    do you think about how important it is that you WD>Dsmash to get the kill?
    do you focus on reacting or do you leave it to instinct?
    these are all problems ive dealt with in the past, im not sure how helpful they will be to you seeing as you are much more experienced in the smash scene than i am.
    but every bit helps, or it cant hurt rather.

    also do you play other fighters?
    i would also suggest taking a break, letting those hands and that mind cool down.

    do you meditate?

    terribly sorry for how badly written this is, im meaning to help but i really do blow at getting my point across in a simple way.

  8. 1) I play a decent chunk of Fox, Falco, Doc, Mario, Falcon, Marth, Sheik, Puff, Pichu (what), G&W, and every now and then Luigi in when I'm playing friendlies, especially doubles.

    2) I have trouble concentrating most of the time. Some of my best success comes from trying to concentrate on certain phrases or concepts without consciously focusing on the match. One idea that has helped me play smarter is a based on chess, and the phrase is "You can't take pawns." What that means is just because you have the opportunity to capture a pawn doesn't mean you always grab it, because even though your Bishop will technically take it, there's no guarantee you don't just lose your Bishop. You have to force the opponent to give you the pawn under your terms.

    In Smash, that translates into "don't attack just because you want to hit the other guy. Apply positional pressure and force him to take risks or choose between two weak options." But I can't think that long of a phrase during a match so I try and think, "don't take pawns."

    3) 95% of the time my reflexes suck >_> usually I focus on guesses, reads, or just trying to pick the move that will cover the most options.

    4) I'm pretty bad at other fighters; I don't really have an innate talent for them--didn't have one for Melee either--but I also have a tough time playing things without getting obsessed and wanting to be the best at them. It's hard to resist that for me :D That would mean a large time, practice, and knowledge investment that I don't really want to make again.

    Thanks for the posts guys. I've been thinking a lot about this, I might have found my own way of dealing with it (I've said that before, lol). My tech-skill barrier is all mental, so it's really just how I can condition myself to think during matches that will make me or break me.

  9. nice :] glad to hear it
    im stoked to see what comes from this, i feel like its gunna be some super saiyan shit

    i brought up other fighters because they usually have alot more emphasis on learning and memorizing (muscle memory too) combos, which is essentially tech skill.
    about a year ago i got my hands on a copy of blazblue and fell in love with the most combo heavy character in the cast.
    her combos are not only long, but the timing is tight and if you cant use them effectively then you will lose every match you play.
    so after playing BB and putting an insane amount of effort into learning combos i came back to smash. all the tech skill i used to find challenging was suddenly horribly easy.
    just saying, might wanna give it a swing if you get the chance.

    loving the blog, its really incredible, keep it up :]