When you improve in a game you love, what comes to mind? Do you see yourself mentally learning to prepare better strategies like in a game like chess? Or do you see yourself powering up and ascending to new heights akin to a fighter in Dragon Ball Z?
In Smash, as with any fighting or competitive game, practice is truly important. But it’s more than just pressing buttons and getting techniques down pat while learning matchups. It’s more than just not giving up. You need to apply your fundamentals through your heart, your guts, and your mind. In order to do that, you’ll want to know the difference between each one.
Using Your Heart
When people say “he/she has a lot of heart,” they’re referring to someone’s devoted and unbridled passion for their craft. In doing so, you continue to practice what you do and not letting criticism bog you down. You’ll continue pressing forward no matter what.
This passion drives you to improve. It drives you to success and victory. Using your heart means not losing faith in yourself when you lose. Everyone loses. But when you’re making gains doing what you love, it shows in your results.
It also shows among your peers. People will talk about you. They will say that certain players have an inextinguishable drive for doing what they love. That continues to reinforce respect among your peers, inspire others, and also keep you going no matter what.
Using Your Guts
Undaunted players are the ones who aren’t afraid to challenge those better than them. You’re going up against a Power Ranked (PR) player in bracket. Does that mean he’s automatically going to win?
Players with guts don’t balk from a challenge. They embrace the opportunity to challenge tough players in order to learn from them or take them down. They don’t let scenarios in their head tell them that they’re scripted to lose just because the other guy has rank over them.
Additionally, using your guts during your matches means not giving up even if you’re down one or two stocks. You always have the chance to come back from a losing game no matter how slim it is. That comes from reinforcing your boldness and courageously fighting until the bitter end.
Using Your Mind
Your mind is responsible for your entire approach to the game. It comes from acknowledging when you’re winning, losing, and when you need to adapt. Three of the most important facets to improvement and victory are flexibility, patience, and confidence. Anyone can come up with a battle plan. But it’s how you adapt that makes it count in the game.
Using your mind means being aware of the situation at any given moment. Instead of auto-piloting, you know when you’re hit. You know when you’re in disadvantage state above the stage or recovering from the side. But rather than trying to go for an immediate counterattack, you’re reading out your opponent. You’re seeing what your opponent does *before* you mash buttons and take a guess at what to do. Reading out the situation goes farther in the long run.
You can use your mind to change the pattern and tempo on your opponent to throw them off. You can use it to retreat in neutral during a scuffle of whiffed exchanges to avoid getting counter-attacked. Using your mind isn’t just knowing how to play Smash or use your character. It’s how to adapt to your opponent that makes the difference.
In order to succeed, you need to use all three. Players without guts might fold under pressure and play poorly or even rage quit during a match. Players who lack heart might find themselves not believing in themselves and accepting their opponent’s superiority before reaching their potential. Finally, players who aren’t using their mind in battle may find themselves repetitiously using the same tactic even when it stops working. Failing to adapt to your opponent can cause them to take the advantage.
Continue learning the game you play, be it Smash Ultimate or another fighting game, but use these concepts to build your fundamentals. Learn the character, learn your matchups, but always keep these three concepts in mind. The rest will naturally follow.
I hope you found this guide helpful. If you seek coaching in Smash Ultimate, please consider booking me on Metafy!