This isn’t a “what would it take to become a top player in insert game here” thread. I’m just wondering what others think the traits and qualities are that top players have that make them the best, and how do you gain such traits. I felt like making this thread after reading the “What Makes the Best Player?” section of David Sirlins “Playing to Win” book. NOTE: This entire thread is basically theory fighter, so if that kind of thing bothers you then you may want to avoid posting. Also, no hate in here either.
Part 1: Traits/Qualities of top players
When trying to become a top player, the first thing you must do is identify what makes top players good in the first place. Here are six different traits common within all top players:
Knowledge- Knowing the game’s systems and character match-ups.
Execution- Being able to perform actions and maneuvers.
Planning- Having a general strategy based on previous situations.
Adapting- Changing your plan based on new situations that arise during a match.
Predicting- Taking a logical guess as to what the opponent is going to do based on the current situation.
Experience- No matter how skilled/talented someone is, tournaments and other forms of high level play can be very taxing on a player. Having experience from previous tournaments can help you deal with the mental strain you will be put under.
Knowledge and execution are merely two sides of the same coin. Knowledge is knowing what to do, and execution is being able to do it, one is worthless without the other.These are the two most fundamental things you need to start off, but they are not the most important things.
The most important thing you need is decision making, which encompasses planning/adapting/predicting, this allows you to apply your knowledge/execution into a match. First you have a plan based on previous situations, then you adapt and change your plan according to any new situations, then you predict what your opponent is going to do based on the current situation.
Even if you have all of the aforementioned skills it will still be hard to compete at high level play. Most players don’t realize just how taxing a major tournament is until they participate in one. The entire atmosphere and environment is different then what it was like playing against local players. So you need experience to have the mental toughness to compete.
Part 2: How to improve
Now that we’ve identified the traits of top players, we must find a way to gain these traits and improve our game. The most simple way to improve is to continually play the game. Meet local players, participate in tourneys, attend gatherings, etc. By doing this you’ll steadily improve over time, but there is a trick to all of this. After every match you play you should do a quick evaluation, and determine why you won/lost. If you won then strengthen the skills that helped you win. If you lost then improve upon your lacking areas.
Part 3: Defining a good/bad player:
It’s actually important to be able to identify a good player from a bad player. Being able to do this will teach you the kind of mind-set you need to have when playing competitively. Identifying the difference between the two is not hard, all you have to do is see how they evaluate their matches. Good players will do what I described earlier. They determine why they lost/won and improve from there. A bad player will make excuses for his loses, and only focus on his wins. Common excuses will be things like “you were cheap”, “this game is dumb/random/boring”, etc. But none of those excuses matter since they’re just shifting the blame away from themselves instead of improving.