I started playing FPS regularly after my 20th year of age, but still, all my friends were already pretty good at them and my progress seemed to take centuries.
I quickly realized through some common mistakes I made that I wasn’t doing the things needed to get better. I started correcting small things as posture when sitting on the chair, buying a good headset to raise my awareness of flanks and footsteps, and I already could tell the difference.
Below, I made a list of all the things I did to improve my aim and game-sense, on the following order. I still follow these steps like God’s orders, and I can definitely tell that huge progress was made.
Table of Contents
1. Posture & Chair
Fresh things first, comfort and proper sitting position is the starting point of everything in gaming, and especially FPS games. Finding the perfect chair for your needs is clearly up to the user, but the posture though applies to everyone, even the ones that just spend a lot of hours working on PC.
The chair you will choose is not limited to be a gaming chair. The most important features that a comfortable chair should have, are revolving around lower back support, adjustive seat and armrests, and of course, ergonomic build. These features are not limited to gaming chairs exclusively, as you can find many office and ergonomic chairs to fit your needs.
When you are sitting on a chair, your lower back must reach the back of your chair and your feet must be flat on the floor with knees straight and slightly downwards. Your neck must be straight with a slight back-push and chest up. To ensure this position keep the keyboard close to you and the monitor’s upper part should be in-line with your eyesight.
Also important is to keep your monitor in a distance of 50cm at least. Try to be conscious of your position at all times. if you feel like you tend to move your upper body forward, pull your shoulders and neck back to reposition right. Doing it frequently will slowly eliminate this bad habit.
2. Get the Proper FPS Gear
And when we say proper FPS gear, we are talking about mouse, headset and mousepad, that are core elements for your aim improvement. This combination is what you need to improve your game-sense, accuracy, and tracking in FPS games, thus you will have to invest in these three.
First of all, you should consider buying the right mouse for the right job. The perfect mouse should have customizable DPI (Dots Per Inch), from 400 to 1200, and even better if its software gives you the ability to create different profiles for each one of your main FPS games. You should also beware of the fit as if it is too big or too small for your hand, it will be proven a disaster. Last, it might be convenient for the mouse to have some extra controls and keys on it, such as DPI quick-adjust, and even some spear keys to bind in-game controls that possibly would be more convenient to use with the mouse than with the keyboard.
Along with the mouse, you should consider as an equal priority a good headset with surround sound. Surround sound basically helps you to understand footsteps and shots direction and distance. If you are not used to it, might feel a little overwhelming at first, but this will immediately “level-up” your game-sense, as you will be more aware of your position, and the enemy’s as well. Your headset must be paired with a decent microphone, in order to communicate with your team. Discord in our days is the first choice of gamers for team-speak, so most headsets now are Discord certified.
Last but not least, comes the mousepad. Your guts might say that it’s not that important, but you should not underestimate its importance. Mousepad should cover the largest area possible to eliminate the overuse of wrist-aiming, which is not bad, but you should learn to move your hand more than your wrist. This can be achieved with a large mousepad area, which must be smooth so you don’t need high DPI settings.
A small tip that saved my life, (as I’m a bit clumsy with drinks 🤣) is that the mousepad’s ends should be sewed with thread, and not glued, as it might save it from an accidental spill of a drink. My previous mousepad that was glued was destroyed after I spilled a soft drink on it and the fabric was detached from the corners.
3. DPI & Audio Settings
DPI and audio are not standard to set as a rule, as it is strictly a matter of preference and gear. Still, there are some tips to help you find what suits you best, but its still your decision to make after hours and hours of testing.
Starting with DPI settings, it is known that on average, 800 DPI is the “go-to” for most gamers and to be honest, this is where you should start testing as well. As we mentioned before if your mouse and its software allows you to create different DPI profiles, create lots of different ones, from higher to lower and start the testing.
Test these settings in Deathmatch modes (Overwatch, Rainbow Six Siege, etc.) and keep the ones that suit you better. Keep switching among your favorite ones until you find the one that suits your personal play-style.
Keep in mind that FPS games have their own sensitivity settings, which would be good to adjust to your preference. The whole testing and decision for what suits you might take a while, but its success over time is guaranteed.
As for the audio, things are pretty simple, as the only thing you need is to turn the surround sound on, get the volume up on the backline sounds and get it just a bit lower on your front sounds. This will help you focus on what’s happening on areas you don’t see, and lay on your eyes for what’s happening in front of you.
4. Develop Game-Sense
I think that the most important thing in FPS games is to predict your enemies moves, to be aware of your positioning’s advantage or disadvantage, and when is the right time to attack, defend, chase or hide. All of these elements together are simply translated to game-sense.
As we mentioned previously, a good headset with surround sound is the main key to maintain position awareness. Before you start chasing those footsteps you heard, try to count how many people you hear. If there is more than one, make sure that your position is better than your enemies’. Sit still for a while and try to figure out the direction and who’s the one with the high ground. If you are not the one with the positioning advantage, that might be a good sign that you need to quickly re-position to higher ground, along with your team.
If again you find yourself in a 1v1 situation, try to confuse your enemy with your direction choices. One usual trick is to reveal your position for a while, make him chase you, and quickly reposition behind him for an unpredicted flank. Never underestimate your enemy’s game-sense though! It is a fatal mistake and you should always consider an enemy equal or even better than you.
When you hear gunshots, try to cover and peak where these bullets coming from. If for example, you hear enemy shots when you are far, try to peak while covered and take your time to figure out the direction you are closest to. Always prefer surprise attacks on the backlines than a face-to-face attack.
5. Train Your Crosshair Placement & Tracking
A very common mistake new FPS enthusiasts make is that they tend to keep their crosshair pretty low. Most weapons have some recoil, which in simple words means that the gun “kicks” when you fire.
If you keep your crosshair high and try to make micro-moves downwards you have higher chances of landing more shots than doing the opposite, and especially headshots. Starting with low crosshair placement might get your aim off, as its always easier tracking downwards than upwards.
Tracking is the biggest difficulty you will face while training your aim and its probably the hardest technique to master. When you will start firing bullets on your enemy, he will probably start moving towards some cover, or even try to dodge bullets by jumping and moving left and right all the time. Depending on the recoil of the gun you are using, tracking might differ from Assault Rifles to Pistols or SMG’s.
The key of tracking is to predict your enemy’s reaction to your shots. Shoot him, stop a while to track which direction he is moving towards, and start shooting one step ahead of him. This will slowly develop your awareness of tracking and you will stop thinking before you track.
Remember, muscle memory in combination with game-sense is what will get you to success. Both need a lot of practice and patience. Be prepared to lose a lot, but this is how you will get better.
6. Use Aim Training Games
There are countless games to train your aim, especially on Steam, giving you the chance to develop muscle memory, without feeding on real games that other people might be depending on you as well. You will find games like Koovak’s FPS Aim Trainer, Aim Hero and more. My personal favorite though is the Aim Lab.
Aim Lab is FTP (Free To Play) on Steam, giving you countless options for aim training. Developed by lifelong gamers and neuroscientists, Aim Lab has countless modes such as Spidershots, Reflexshot, Microshot, Multishot and more. Each mode helps you improve tracking and accuracy by giving you useful tips, while you can see on your profile your weaknesses and how to improve them.
You need to know though, that these games will surely improve your accuracy and reflexes, but still, you are playing vs AI’s that will gradually get predictable. Don’t fully rely on aim training games, play PvP FPS as well, otherwise, you will not develop the right game-sense.
7. Play FPS Games Daily
If getting better on aiming is your real goal, you shouldn’t hesitate to play FPS games daily. Aiming is not like bicycle riding, you can easily lose your reflexes if you play just once or twice now and then. Aim skill needs to be warmed up daily, and not just with one game.
Make a list of 2-3 FPS games (PvP is mostly preferable) and play daily as long as you can. Obviously, this doesn’t mean you will have to quit life and play games all day 🤣. Just stick to this genre only for your gaming-hours.
A common mistake that is made is to stick onto just one game, which is terribly wrong. Playing a lot of different FPS games will help you understand and navigate maps better, and of course, to get familiar with weapons’ recoils, bullet travel speed, etc.
Not all games have the same weaponry and map build, so you will need to use numerous different strategies to achieve a win for each one of the games you play. This will help you to get better on the new games that you play much quicker than a regular-all-around-gamer!
8. Play With Experienced Players
If you have friends that are more experienced from you and you can play some FPS games with them, then go for it! Watching and listening to more experienced players while there is action, helps you to fully understand defense and attack strategies and positioning advantages or disadvantages.
Playing with more experienced that can teach you things in action, is far better than watching some streams of PROs, as most of them don’t explain their moves and strategies while streaming. Of course, watching PROs is definitely going to help as well, but playing with a PRO helps more.
You don’t need to be a friend with Shroud or something 🤣. You can play with friends that are just much better than you, so you can learn from them.
8+1. Drink Lots of Water!
This is the best tip I learned by playing Aim Lab! I’m not very dedicated to water drinking, as I mostly survive on coffee 😏! But then one day, I was practicing my aim on Aim Lab, and this popped out:
The human brain is made up mostly of water ( around 73%), and being dehydrated by even small amounts (starting around 2%) impairs performance in tasks that require attention, short-term memory, and visuomotor skills (like gaming). So be sure to stay hydrated while you train and compete!
So I immediately stood up, got to the fridge, and grabbed a big bottle of cold water. I started playing since then with a big bottle of water next to me, and I was taking small sips whenever I had the chance. To be honest, at first, I didn’t notice much. But gradually I started to be a lot more focused and my game awareness improved a lot.
Feel free to suggest more tips, I could use them all ✌