These days everyone’s trying to figure out how to become an aim god, trying everything from advanced Kovaak routines to metronomes and even sticking little sliders on the bottom of their mice.
Some of these ideas are absolutely insane and might end up being a complete waste of time. But of course, if even one crazy idea is right, and most other players think it’s too wild to try it out, then everyone who does use it will get much better, much faster than everyone else.
But if you really want to get better aim, and you’re willing to test out crazy aim-training ideas, then here’s my recommendation for you; you need to look to the science.
Think of it, if something is proven to work in a clinical, controlled setting, shouldn’t you put more faith in it than some random YouTuber or guy talking about aim geometry on Reddit?
Or at least put enough faith in it to test it out?
Of course, what I’m really doing is setting you up for the craziest aim-training tactic of them all – aim-training blindfolded, well, kind of… Let me explain…
An article on basketball free throws sheds an interesting light on what it takes to improve your motor skills.
In the study, they experimented with different training methods to see which was most effective.
The first method is what you’re used to in your average aim-training, its what they call error-based learning .
The error-based learning group got to shoot like normal, simply shooting, noticing when they missed their shots, and thus making immediate adjustments.
And the results were as expected, this group quickly got better and showed a significant performance boost right away.
But this is where things get strange… When they were tested 7 days later, those same performance benefits seemed to have vanished, their accuracy went all the way back baseline, as if they didn’t get that initial training at all.
And consider this in your own aim training – you could practice a specific tracking drills one day and feel that your tracking skill is quite good the rest of the day. Yet a week later, it might end up going all the way back to baseline.
But understanding why this happens might be the key to breaking through skill plateaus and actually getting good aim…
So let’s get a little sciency for a second.
When you learn a skill, your brain develops what’s called a motor controller – basically a plan for how to execute that skill. Then as you execute that skill or practice it with error-based learning, you’re essentially refining and optimizing that execution plan.
Unfortunately, these optimizations are very fragile – it’s often like editing a Word document but not being able to hit save on it. You’ll have those changes short term, but as soon as you restart your computer, you’ll still have the old document.
The sad truth is that a lot of our aim training feels like this – as if we’re editing a document that’s bugged out and can’t be saved.
Fortunately, there’s a way around it – which is to create a new motor controller, essentially like making the changes you want in a new document that actually lets you save.
This is where we come back to the study for what they called the reinforcement learning group. This group was able to start their trial with full vision of the basket so they could get an initial idea of how to throw the ball. But then their vision and hearing were blocked out so that they couldn’t get any more stimuli to help with the shot. They then had to take the shots, with the only feedback being whether they made it or not.
Because they were shooting without feedback, they were forced to focus internally and explore different motor patterns.
This level of challenge and the need to search for new motor patterns actually caused them to shoot worse, even when tested without the blindfold after. In fact, at baseline, they shot at 30.6% accuracy, and immediately after, they shot around 26%.
Yet when they were tested a week later, things reversed, their performance actually went up! Going from that baseline of 30.6% all the way up to 41.66% – overall around a 35% upgrade in skill.
Now it doesn’t seem to make any sense on the surface, but it’s exactly what I mentioned before. By training your skills with reinforcement-based learning, you’re forcing a level of exploration that creates a new motor pathway in your mind, essentially letting you save a new document.
This is powerful because it means we now have an answer to overriding our bad aim and creating new motor pathways so that we can finally see significant improvement…
Application to aim-training
But the big question is, how can we turn theory into reality, how can you apply this to your own aim-training? Should you run around your ranked games with a blindfold on? Or turn off your monitor while in aimlabs?
Well, the goal of applying the reinforcement method to aim training is to encourage the exploration of new motor plans and then reinforce the successful movements.
Limiting the visual and auditory feedback or even removing it completely can help us achieve this goal but it needs to be realistic.
Practicing your tracking skills without seeing where the enemy is wouldn’t make much sense. So for training with dynamic or moving targets then limiting your vision rather than blocking it out would be ideal. This might mean making your own crosshair and or the enemy more difficult to see, perhaps reducing the opacity of your screen overall to add that layer of difficulty.
When it comes to stationary aim training and practicing your flicks, we can relate much more to the basketball free throws. Here the ideal equivalent would work as follows:
Center your screen and make mental note of where you’re positioned in relation to the target – ideally starting with a rather large target.
Then close your eyes and attempt to flick to that target. As you’ll likely miss, you’ll want to recenter and keep trying. Ideally you’d want to practice on a target that requires multiple hits to break so that a new target won’t spawn until you’ve had good enough practice to hit it 3 or 4 times.
And if anyone who works at Aimlab or Kovaak is watching, hit me up so we can turn this into a proper scenario.
So I urge you to set up an experiment with yourself and try this for 7 days. Whether that’s applying my suggestions or setting up your very own experiment to bring this theory to life.
Make the focus on applying reinforcement learning with a realistic expectation for how it might affect you short term and long term.
Once you’ve found something that works, I encourage you to combine it with your normal aim training because while reinforcement training seems to be a critical aspect for improvement, it doesn’t mean normal training is useless, simply the other half of a 2-part whole.
So throw your experiment ideas in the comments, then come back a week or two later to give us an update on how it went.
Because as I mentioned at the start of the video, while many theories and aim training experiments might seem crazy on the surface, those who do adopt them might just get an advantage, an advantage that helps them improve much faster and farther than everyone else!