Every FPS player wishes they were an aim-god, but very few people ever reach that status.
But what does it take to make that happen? Does it rely on good genetics? Or are there advanced tactics for improving aim that can help anyone achieve insane aiming skills?
Well, when asking myself these sorts of questions, I thought of no-one better to answer them than the FPS Coach himself, Ron “Rambo” Kim. After years of playing Counter-Strike professionally, followed by years of coaching top teams like Complexity and Cloud 9, Ron has accumulated a wealth of FPS knowledge & aiming skill.
And so, by defining key aspects of aiming, teaching you the mindset needed to improve, and implementing an advanced perspective on how to play at your maximum ability, you might just end up on the fast-track to developing insane aiming skills and getting one step close to the status of an aim-god.
OTHER FPS ASPECTS:
Before diving too far into the principles for improving your aim, it’s important to note that aim is only one of several vital aspects when it comes to FPS skills, and any good FPS coach, including Ron, will tell you this. Basically, aim mechanics alone can’t carry you to the top; you need to combine it with great gamesense and positioning to unlock it’s potential.
Fortunately, having better aim can help you improve these other aspects much faster. The more you can rely on your aim, the less you’ll need to focus on it, and the more free your mind will be to focus on the other aspects of the match. And as you become more confident and consistent with your aim, you’ll become far more confident and flexible with your playstyle, able to experiment and try new things.
So as you embark on your aim training journey, keep this in the back of your mind – actively improve your aim alongside the other key skills like positioning, map awareness, decision making, and so on.
So, with that being said, what is the best tool to improve your aim? Well, I’m sure most FPS players know what aim trainers are. But there are still a lot of arguments as to whether they are really that useful. Many pros of the past got to where they are without them, so should you really be using one? Well, as an ex-professional Counterstrike player who grew up before aim trainers were around, I thought it was worth it to get Ron’s opinion on this matter…
RRKIM: So when they go in a game, it’s like, well when I’m playing, you’re not really practicing your aim; you’re practicing playing the game. So you build your game sense, but you, you know, how much aim training are you getting if you’re just like walking around a map not seeing anything.
And there may be 10 15 seconds, or you’re just holding an angle, and there’s nothing happening. Whereas with an aim trainer, you could in a minute you’re flicking and shooting 80-90 times, so you get this like instant feedback you see where you’re missing and stuff so, yeah, that’s the advantage.
For any of you guys who have taken our Esports Elite course, you’ll understand the value of frequency, and this is what Ron doubles down on here. And the importance of aim trainers can’t be overlooked for this reason…
So if you’ve hesitated to use aim-trainers in the past, wondering if they are really worth your time, then take notes. They can provide a significant advantage for you. Not only as a warm-up tool but a method for actively improving your skills.
But just by using aim labs, Kovaaks, or any other aim trainer, you won’t become an instant aim-god. And so I wanted to figure out the different factors that hold players back from getting good aim.
When thinking deeply about this problem, it’s common for many players to chalk it up to genetics… and for a good reason.
Let’s say you and your best friend both start playing a new FPS game, and each has never played with a mouse and keyboard in the past. Chances are you’ll both suck with your aiming. But for some reason, your friend might have a faster baseline reaction time or quicker hands, which allows them to do better than you.
It’s easy to label this as a genetic advantage and assume that they will always be a little bit better than you. This is what we usually think. But this is a flawed assumption. In reality, a head start doesn’t mean they will always have an advantage; in fact, the factor that will really predict improvement is your mindset…
RRKim: I think, I mean how much time and thought you put into something, too, will impact your improvement rate. So someone if the most important thing to them is getting good at aiming, they’ll figure out a way they’ll put the hours in, and they’ll put all that problem solving and brain focus and energy into it. Where other people are just casual, there’s not you know it’s not a big thing they just want to play, so yeah, they’re not going to get that return.
As much as it’s easy to label mechanical skill as a natural-born talent, it’s far more empowering to know that with a complete commitment to aim training, you’re able to see a massive improvement in your skill. But of course, this result doesn’t come with a casual mindset; it requires that you commit yourself wholeheartedly. You must be willing to not only invest the time but creatively think about how you can push your skills further!
So consider if you’ve been casually approaching your aiming skills or if you really are dedicated to improving. This mindset shift is the first step to making breakthroughs in your skill development.
But then we run into another issue. Motivation is like getting a mushroom in Mario Kart; it gives you a nice boost forward… But, what happens if you’re giving yourself a boost in the wrong direction? In other words, you might have the motivation and drive to improve, you might be putting in the effort and time, but you’re not making progress. And the reason this is likely true is that you’re not training the right TYPE of aim.
In general, we can define aim as your level of control over the mouse. As you play the game and play aim-trainers, your brain naturally learns how much muscular contraction is needed in your hands, wrist, and arm to move the mouse to the appropriate spot on the mouse pad and thus the proper place on the screen.
But to train the right parts of your overall aiming skill, we need to break it down into sub-skills.
RRKIM: I like to think about it in distances. So if you’re aiming just a small box around the crosshair, uh, it’s what I call micromotion. So there’s not much wrist or elbow or forearm involved but just more of your hands and fingers like precision stuff. And then beyond those microbox would be what I call flicking. So just gradually building out um from distances so if you do 180s and stuff it’s what I call swiping because you start-up to now you have to aim beyond your wrist flick, so you’re using your forearm and elbow. And then there’s vertical motion, so when you aim up and down, it’s completely different biomechanics compared to flicking or swiping, which is naturally anatomically easier like going left to right then is up and down like shifting the elbow.
So using distances and the biomechanics needed for those distances, we can better understand aiming. With Ron’s break down, we have micro-motions or finger aiming. Flicking, which is more wrist aiming. Swiping which involves more forearm and elbow. And then we have vertical aiming, which requires shifting the whole arm up and down.
Now, which of these should you be training? Well, it depends on the game you play and your playstyle within it. For example, with games like Fortnite, Overwatch, and arena shooters like Quake, you’ll have a decent amount of vertical motion. But with games like Valorant and CSGO, you’ll have far less of it, making that aspect of aim training far less critical.
Then you need to consider your playstyle – how close are you to your enemies when you are engaging them? If you are a close-combat flanker, you may rely a lot on flicking and swiping skills. If you are a far range click timing player like a sniper, you may depend more on precision and finger aiming. And of course, the other main factor affecting this is your sensitivity. With high enough sensitivity, you’ll rely more on small wrist flicks and finger movement, and with lower sensitivity, you’ll spend more time making wide flicks and swipes.
So as you play your game of choice, start to pay attention to which aspects of aim you rely on the most and which you rely on the least. Then take the time to rank the 4 main types of aim in order of importance for you personally.
This is where I started asking Ron about more advanced tips and advice.
But as a quick side note, if you guys want to improve your skills a lot faster, I highly recommend our esports elite course and coaching programs. In there, we break down the science & advanced tactics on how to improve your mechanics faster, far beyond any of our YouTube videos. For more information, stick around to the end of the video or check out the link in the description.
While some people in the aim community use crazy tactics to improve their aim, like sensitivity randomizers, metronomes, or rhythm games, I wanted to hear what unique ideas Ron had up his sleeve. While he didn’t really touch on those other popular tactics, he did point out a factor of aiming that is far more important…
RRKIM: Most things that people are overlooking is how influential their body positions are, or their body alignments are. Figure out; hey, well, I’m making certain misses to the right a little bit; why is that? Like it’s happening every time. Well, if I angle my form a little bit differently or position it might it’s going to shift the entire rotation, the angles of um, so that might be a quick fix. You know, in a game wherein fps games where precision is everything and you know missing by five or ten pixels is killer death every time that two inches throws off all your alignments and your angles and your feelings so yeah makes a huge difference.
Think about that for a moment. In a game where being off by a few pixels can make the difference between winning and losing, how important do you think your body and arm’s positioning are. Sitting a few centimeters back, positioning your shoulder on a different angle than usual, or putting the wrong amount of pressure on your mouse can make a big difference. So how can we find the best possible alignment for maximum skill execution? Well, if you analyze the pros, you’ll start to notice how they each have relatively unique body alignments that work best for them based on personal preference, their in-game sensitivity, and playstyles. So the first thing for you to do is to experiment.
I would say the first thing is experiment with different alignments and positions um how much form is on the table, the angle of the forearm there’s all kinds of grips you know claw grips finger tip grips overlap palm grip having different side pressures having the ring finger and the pinky on the side of the mouse or just the pinky. There’s you know how high or low you sit how close your chest is to the table. Like all these factors, just not even talking about sensitivity or technique, they have a huge influence on you know how you control the mouse and the angles that are set and how you perform the aiming motions.
So take on this challenge of experimentation. Pay close attention to how each aspect of your alignment affects your aim. It’s very possible that changing the angle of your arm, the grip of the mouse or any other aspect of alignment may actually complement your playstyle more than what you’re doing now.
Of course, it’s worth noting that changing things up and actively paying more conscious attention to yourself while you’re aiming will likely lead to a short-term dip in your abilities. But give yourself some time to adapt and see if those adjustments to your body mechanics lead to improved game results. A few days of experimentation might just lead to a significant breakthrough in your skills.
Now, this leads us to an idea that is a bit more controversial. Once you’ve found your ideal grip, posture, and body alignment, it’s essential to become consistent…
RRKIM: If you’re not able to consistently set up to your computer every time, the same way every time to your mouse pad and your mouse um if I’m sitting two inches closer than yesterday again that throws off everything and it feels like my sensitivity is different although it’s the same so say work on that work on the consistency of those positions and then finding ones that could work for you. There’s definitely pro gamers; you can change your sense, you can change your mouth and mouse and still play fine pro players do it all the time, but I think in order to get that true; like you play at 95 percent, but um if you want to get 100% and if you stay with one thing say with one thing and repeat it over and over again um it’s a small difference that I think matters so big believer in consistency and repetition.
Now, why is this a controversial opinion? Well, in the aim training community, there’s a hot debate around the term muscle memory.
But what is muscle memory? Well, as we repeat a specific movement, our brain learns how to coordinate our muscles to perform that action. When that movement is repeated enough times, long-term motor memory is created for that task, allowing it to be performed with less and less conscious effort. Such as riding a bike, typing on a keyboard, or playing an instrument.
Now, this makes sense, so why is there a debate around it? Well, some players use the term muscle memory to claim why their aim suddenly sucks. For example, they may play with a specific sensitivity for years, then switch it up for a few weeks. They adapt to the new mechanics for aiming during those few weeks, but then they might decide switchback at the end of it. Of course, it takes a little bit of time to readjust to the old sensitivity. But let’s say that they claim they never readjust. They claim that the new sensitivity experiment overrode their brian’s ability to use the past sens, and now they are permanently worse off for it.
When it comes to factual information, as the brain learns very similar new knowledge that is too similar to past information, it can cause conflicts and even overwrite memories. So some players assume that our mechanics work in similar ways, causing conflict with their aim. Fortunately, motor learning is much more flexible. When you temporarily change your sensitivity, it doesn’t delete your brain’s ability to use another.
So those who fear muscle memory and assume it will lead to their downfall often claim that consistency is the only way to improve. Obviously, their fears aren’t entirely relevant, but nonetheless, their emphasis on consistency still might have value.
Now Ron is also a big believer in consistency, but not in the way that changing your sensitivity for a few days, then switching back will somehow override the skill you’ve developed in the past. He knows that changing sensitivity isn’t necessarily a detriment to skill. But he does note how once you find a grip, position, and posture that works for you, staying consistent with it will help you reach the maximum of your ability; The way a pro golfer will try to master the mechanics of their personal swing or a basketball player will try to perfect the mechanics of their signature throw.
So, start to experiment, change things up for a few days and let your mind adjust to various grips, postures, sensitivities, and arm positions. With enough experimentation, begin to fine-tune your biomechanics. Eventually, when you find what works for you, stick to it and make it consistent. As you do this, push yourself to your limits during training, using drills that are most relevant to the aiming mechanics you need to develop for your game and playstyle. When you combine all of this with a mindset of ruthless improvement, you’ll quickly begin to see results.
Now, of course, in any FPS game aiming isn’t the only skill you need to learn, but as you build your aim, you’ll begin to unlock more opportunities to grow and learn, you’ll become a far more confident player, and you’ll make it one step closer to the status of an aim-god.