We all know that online and offline play can be radically different. So much so, that some players refuse to play online at all. Rather opting to practice in person, even if it is at a lower frequency. However, we don’t always have the opportunity to play people offline or play the right people offline. In instances that we are forced to get our practice online, there are adjustments that we must make to feel confident in our next tournament or LAN performance. Let’s go over a few things that can help you get the most out of your online practice.
Let’s go over all the things that we hate about practicing online.
Varied Skill Level ✔
Queue Times ✔
Home Distractions ✔
What do all of these things have in common? You cannot control them. They are simply a product of the online environment. Let go of the stress and frustration that comes along with it, and just learn to endure it.
Be proactive in your mindset. Recognize these variables and go into your practice with an open mind. If something out of your control happens during a match, then it happens. There is nothing YOU can do to change it, and spending your mental and emotional energy on it, won’t make it go away.
Don’t Focus On Winning
With all the variables listed above, winning can sometimes be out of your control as well. Instead, focus on specific practice objectives. Things that you know will translate positively into your offline performance. That can be movement, strategy, or even experimental.
That doesn’t mean play to lose. Playing to win is still important for maintaining the motivation required to practice. However, allowing your want or need to win if the environment isn’t ideal opens the door for unnecessary frustration.
The most common thing that separates online and offline play for people is that winning or losing doesn’t matter. There aren’t any stakes involved. No money lost, no reputation lost, etc. So don’t put so much stock into how it makes you feel. Just simply try to focus on specific things you want or need to work on. If the match environment is terrible enough that you can’t, then move on to the next one. Stay in control.
(Side note: if winning is important for you because you compete in an online ladder, then refer back to the “Let Go” section)
Developing Bad Online Habits
This is another large concern for players. When you drop players who play on teams or play offline into the online population of players who only play online, it can get messy.
The differences in playstyles can be dramatic. There are a few reasons for this.
- Lag assists online players in letting them get away with things that won’t work offline.
- Players have more freedom to be reckless if the matches mean less.
- There has always been a psychological effect that takes place when you can’t physically see your opponent, leading you to make decisions that you wouldn’t normally make.
Besides shifting your focus from winning to specifics in your practice. You can also simply just play your game, and stick to it. Regardless of what your opponent wants to do or throws at you. Yes this means that you may lose in situations that you normally wouldn’t, but it helps you ensure that you won’t alter your playstyle just to get a win that doesn’t matter to you. Going at it in this method also can help you gain a different perspective on dealing with radical players. It’s not often you get them in the offline environment but they can sneak up on you.
I have watched several top players in many different genres stream over the years, and still compete at the top level. Nowadays professional players often turn to streaming as their main source of income. So how is it that they can play in the random, horrible, online environment, but still be top competitors?
Let these players be the example that you CAN do both.
(Side note: If you feel that you are developing a habit, make note of it and adjust. If you actually did develop a habit, it won’t take you very long in an offline environment to clean up your play. Have trust in yourself.)
Use Your Resources
There are better alternatives to random match making. Reach out to people that you know, and set up practice sessions. This way you can ensure skill and connection quality. There are tons of people who feel the same way that you do about playing online, and are willing and ready to attempt to simulate offline play to the best of their ability.
There are plenty of ways you can inject the competitive seriousness of offline practice into the online environment. You just have to extend passed the confines of random match making.
Being forced to practice online is a pain. It can be absolutely dreadful, frustrating, and feel like it’s not a proper representation of your skill. Just remember, the only way that matters is if you make it matter. If you’re utilizing the online system as a tool, that you can control until your next offline session, then you can get the most out of your online practice.