Insider scoop time. Tips straight from the pros.
The top pro players usually practice combos with the volume turned off. This is to eliminate habituation of relying on sound cues when executing difficult links. In a tournament setting, the crowds can get so loud that you wouldn’t be able to hear the game’s sound effects, so you are expected to perform purely by muscle memory.
Ideally, you should be practicing with the volume off and play a loud audience track, possibly live metal concert footage. The deafer you are, the better you will perform at tournaments.
Bonus: At a tournament setting, your opponent would probably be smacking an empty button to trick you into thinking they are executing a move. This is a common bait tactic. If you can somehow phase out all the audience and button pressing noises, then you wouldn’t have to worry about this problem.
I recommend using noise-canceling headphones or earmuffs or even ear plugs. A lot of pro players started using these things until they fully mastered phasing out noise. It could take some meditation practice. If you look at some old tourney footage, you could usually find Mike Ross sporting some noise-canceling headphones.
If you aren’t planning to play at tournaments, practice with the volume off anyway. You’ll find yourself executing a whole lot better. The worlds best pianists are masters of muscle memory. Did you know Beethoven was deaf, but performed on the piano flawlessly due to amazing muscle memory? Now you know! :tup: