Practice Makes Perfect - How do top players practice?
On the 9th of January, Smash 4 players from around Australia gathered at Little Tokyo Two in Brisbane for Smashbox V. With a competition like this attracting so many of Australia’s top players, I wanted to take the opportunity to find out how they prepare and practice for big tournaments. These are the chats I got to have with Kira, Jaice, Villyness, and Jezmo.

Kira

Crabs: What do you do to Practice and prepare for tournaments?

Kira: Generally the only way I normally prepare for a tournament, whether local or national, is to play plenty of Smash in the weeks and day preceding the tournament. I play lots of friendlies, as many sets as I can or want. Keep in good Smash form to be as ready to perform at a tournament as you can.

C: Do you have any other routines that help you get ready for competing?

K: I think the out-of-game routines are just as important, if not more important, than how many perfect pivot D-smashes you can practice before a tournament. Sleep well the night before. Stay hydrated and energised so you can last the entire day. Try to get out of the tournament venue for a bit. Take a walk, gather your thoughts and return prepared.

C: What sort of advice would you give to players who may be unsure how to practice?

K: Some advice I would give to new Smashers would be to play more, record more, and strive to improve. Just play more Smash. Plenty of friendlies. Plenty of sets. Plenty of Cloud dittos. Reflect on your games. You'll improve if you want to.

Jaice

Crabs: What do you do to prepare and practice for tournaments?

Jaice: There’s actually a group of us that get together every Tuesday. We just play, and play, and play, as much as possible. It’s a very relaxed environment where we like to test out different match-ups. When I’m at home I tend to get a level 9 captain Falcon, it’s a cathartic experience dominating him. He is good because you can combo him very well, he has lots of openings that allow for punishment practice, he is good for practicing pivot grabs because he moves a lot on stage, and his up b allows you to practice teching stage spikes. I feel he is the perfect character to practice against, he is combo fodder. I spend more time at home practicing tech skill.

C: Are there any other routines that help you prepare?

J: I like to have a cup of tea in the morning. Relax and chat with other players, discussing meta-game. Things like match-ups. I love playing doubles before singles, it is a great way to warm up and get into the competitive mindset. But mostly I love a good cup of tea.

C: Do you have any special training or preparation you are doing for Genesis 3?

J: Mostly the same things I always do. Kind of related. Recently I was feeling a bit down about going overseas to compete. It’s a massive money investment to travel overseas, especially to America. I was thinking to myself, is it a waste? But coming to this tournament (Smashbox V) has helped get rid of my doubts. I’ve never been to America, and I really think Australia needs to represent itself internationally. We are hoping that showcasing our talent will attract some American smashers to come over here. I think our Australian smash community is so supportive and it’s fantastic.

Villyness

Crabs: What do you do to Practice and prepare for tournaments?

Villyness: I have a set daily training which is divided into three portions. Firstly basic investigation. Secondly basic tech. And lastly, fight someone (Villyness is a total thug). Basic Investigation involves me browsing around on Smashboards and watching videos for knowledge. Anything I find notable I jot down into a notebook. If I don't find anything particularly notable, I try brainstorming uses for certain underused moves and lab with them if necessary. Basic Tech is a list of stuff I SHOULD be able to do/muscle memory (e.g. Ness PK Thunder 2, B-Reverse Pocket). If I screw up my inputs, that's purely my fault alone and I won't tolerate it at all. I force myself to do it for at least 5 minutes straight. And Fight Someone is pretty self-explanatory. I always aim for at least an hour when playing (switching mains halfway in-between). I always try to play offline, but sometimes I play online. As for actual tournament stuff, I just remember to get enough sleep, wake up for a morning jog, and have a good breakfast beforehand.

C: Do you have any other routines or things you do that help you prepare for competition?

V: I fist bump the BAM 7 trophy sometimes.

C: What advice would you give to newer players who aren't sure how to practice?

V: Grab a mate and invite them over to play smash. Go to tournaments. Body some people. Get bodied. Rinse and repeat. If you don't have a mate who plays smash, ask on the forums to see if anyone lives around you. If you really don't have anyone, that's okay. Play online with people on QLDsmash. It's not offline practice, but so long as you don't get too used to the lag you will be fine. Less complaining, more learning. That's what I go by.

Jezmo

Crabs: What sort of things do you do to prepare for tournaments?

Jezmo: The hardest I’ve ever practiced was for SXC. When I heard there was a trip to Genesis, my heat was set on aiming for first. What I did was I got a group of players together in a Skype group to play Wi-Fi with. Players I thought could improve me as a player. As long as it’s not too laggy, Wi-Fi is great for match-ups because I can play with players from other states who use characters that I wouldn’t normally get practice against. Another thing I do is I go into training mode and practice movement, get fluid with my character. I think the most fundamental skill in any smash game that makes a good player is movement. I practice moving as fluid as possible, getting used to using platforms well.

C: So not really versing AI to practice?

J: I do verse the AI sometimes. Usually I get a level 3 or 4 computer to practice combos on. Level 9 computers seem to unrealistic and I don’t see the point in practicing on them. But mostly training mode. During SXC I was trying to at least spend half an hour in training mode moving around the stage.

C: Going in to genesis, what sort of practice are you going to do for preparation?

J: Jaice and I will be staying together in America. I think the time we will spend practicing at the hotel the week before Genesis will be some of the best practice I can possibly get. Five days of practice against Jaice will be worth months of what I would normally do on Wi-Fi. I’ll be taking my laptop with me as well and try to watch the latest game play from other top players.

C: Anyone you are keen to verse well over there?

J: DK Will. I could probably beat him. But a set against Zero would be an amazing experience. It would really expose your gameplay and show what sort of player you are. That experience would be so useful to improve as a player.

C: Any other routines to help you prepare?

J: I try to have at least 10 minutes of visualising what sort of play I want to emulate. Getting into the right competitive mindset is important. Having a plan about how I want to play helps. I try to take the time to create a game plan. Attitude and mentality is definitely important.

by crabs 01/14/2016 00:00:00

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