Saturday, December 3, 2016

Coaching Abstract

I've decided to start experimenting with structured coaching.

The following is a proposal outlining the overarching design. I am open and expecting to tailor it to meet individual needs. If interested please contact me at acnesler@gmail.com on on fb.


Aim

My goal in coaching is to give you the tools that you need to improve as you want to. I want to be a resource that enormously benefits you by way of greatly simplifying/streamlining and the process of improvement. I cannot do the work for you but I can make sure that you are doing the most relevant work and doing it well, eliminating waste and confusion. It should have dramatic impact.

This all assumes that coaching is distinct from an analyst. Here I would define each as: an analyst dissects your gameplay and offers corrections. I already offer match analysis for $10 a game to fill that role. A coach analyzes your methodology (in and out of game) and offers corrections.

Qualification
alexspuffstuff.blogspot.com
lol
To be transparent, my direct experience regarding coaching is limited to working with Soft to construct our methodology. That being said, having tested individual ideas on Soft and myself and having thoroughly researched their legitimacy I am extremely confident in our ideation.

I know first-hand the frustration of a bad teacher or false information. For that reason I make a concentrated effort to purge anecdotal strats and make sure that anything I say can be verified in game or is supported by (usually empirical) research. I’ve spent a huge amount of time in debug mode and have had to read a lot of scientific journals/etc over the past year.

Pricing
I would ask for $30 initially to prepare personalized notes/schema
then $20 per prepared session +$5 for every hour.
I.e. 0-59 min=$20, 60 min=$25, 120 min=$30
This is much less than an LSAT tutor and I think I have higher efficacy.

A session may be done over skype or the equivalent. That time will be used that time to a) identify a systemic problem that needs solved and b) discuss the best way to solve it. Afterward you just have to execute whatever plan we make. When it comes time that you feel that you need more elaboration or come across a different and meaningful problem, we can set another session. This way you are in full control of your pace, we both make the most of the time spent, and you can stop at any time you want.

This is just my first impulse and it reflects me taking your coaching very seriously. Like, preparing you to be a top regional player or more levels of seriousness. If this is too ambitious or if you think there’s a better way to structure for you than sessions then I am naturally open to that conversation.

Working together to find the best possible personal solution is, I think, the core value of successful pedagogy.

Method
We will work together to identify a very clearly defined
* appropriate goal
* subgoal(s)
* optimal methodology per subgoal
* appropriate timeline for subgoals
While these will certainly be flexible and may shift/evolve, they should always remain defined.

Your Responsibilities
* Log your effort. We need to keep track of how long you spend working on anything that we talk about and how effective that effort is, otherwise we can’t truly track your progress.
* Open communication and feedback. If something feels like it isn’t working or is confusing, we need to identify the problem as soon as possible or it can’t get solved.
* Try to stick to whatever schedule we come up with. If you can’t/don’t that’s ok but again needs reflected in your log.
* Anything more that we decide together.

My Responsibilities

* Make quick and accurate assessments.
* Work with you to find the best solutions to specific problems.

* Keep a group of google docs
 - 1 to archive our conversation etc
 - 1 to organize notes tailored to your individual situation.
 - 1 to be your smash bible
* Anything more that we decide together.

Once more, please direct any inquiries to me at acnesler@gmail.com on via fb message.

Wednesday, November 30, 2016

Mixups

Mixups

Mixups are a unique mechanic that emerges from the inherent design of fighting games as character vs character, button vs button and a 2D surface. Developers have intentionally evolved and expanded the genre by using the concept of a mixup as a— perhaps the—core mechanic. I would personally venture to say that mixups are what make fighting games an enduringly compelling genre. However, the term is frequently used inaccurately or too ambiguously to describe what is actually happening in-game. In the following article we will examine the broader design of a mixup to distinguish mixups and pseudo-random move selection as distinct strategies.

What exactly is a mixup?

A mixup is a game within the game, a key moment most often seen in neutral that takes looks something like a cross between rock paper scissors and a game of chicken. Characters all have different options. Most options will beat some, but lose to others. In a well-designed fighting game, these options create a cyclical yomi system that resembles rock paper scissors. This is simple enough to recognize. But unlike RPS, fighting games are played in real time. They have a nuanced timing aspect based on frame advantage and human reaction speed. For this reason, scissors will only beat paper if the throws are simultaneous. If thrown too late, you lose. If thrown too early, the opponent will react to scissors with rock. In this way, a mixup incorporates aspects of both strategy (weighing the risk, reward, and likelihood of rock, paper, or scissors) as well as execution (perceiving and playing with the correct timing relative to opportunity and reaction times). It’s a singular, beautiful fusion or mental and physical gaming.

What isn’t a mixup?

In a fighting game, it is crucially important to recognize the difference between mixups and randomness. In order to truly work as a mixup, an option has to be systematic. To continue the analogy, let’s say that you have options rock, paper and scissors, as does your opponent. If you choose to instead throw pencil, an unorthodox option that beats paper but loses to both scissors and rock, this should not be considered a mixup. Because pencil does not beat anything that isn’t already accounted for and actually has a greater weakness, it is not truly a mixup. It is an objectively bad play. Although this seems brutally obvious in an RPS format, 90%+ of smashers routinely throw pencil in neutral. Some simply haven’t done their homework in identifying their character’s versions of rock, paper and scissors. This is understandable because it’s a large assignment that demands learned understanding. However, others vehemently defend pencil as a mixup, claiming that unorthodox move selection is a valid strategy. This is partially true, but it is not a mixup.

If a mixup is systematic, then what is outside of the system? In high-level play, unorthodox options are either a) niche or b) suboptimal. Maybe a pencil. Maybe a scissors that only nets you half a point. Maybe a rock that gets you two points but has to be thrown a second early. Assuming the meta is evolved enough, unorthodox moves are always unorthodox for a reason. These moves don’t work well enough in the mixup system to see frequent use. That being said, using seemingly random moves is a real strategy. It takes far less research/practice. It tests your opponent’s execution and/or knowledge of the proper punish. It creates weird, unfamiliar situations that you might be better at dealing with than your opponent. In a phrase, it invites variance. This is a real strategy that works specifically because mixups exist, but it is not in itself a mixup. Remember, by definition, mixups are systematic*. Inviting variance will get you individual wins, but because it is mathematically, objectively a worse strategy for winning than a solid mixup system it is on its own an objectively, mathematically worse strategy for winning the 12 consecutive sets or what have you to win a tournament. To win a tournament you can’t just win 50% of the 50/50s. You have to win more than anyone in the room. You have to eliminate variance. Good design on top of a good punish game can do that.


*at this point it could be argued that any given option can have niche uses as a valid mixup or is at least a bad mixup but still a mixup, This is true, but outside of the spirit of this argument. It doesn’t take many weaknesses for a set of options to start having exploitable holes or insufficient rewards for the risk. This is exactly how people lose games and as such a bad mixup is not deserving of the title.

Tuesday, November 8, 2016

Soft vs Atma Analysis

soft(puff) vs atma(sheik/fox) at a CA biweekly

http://flowfeedback.com/feedback/qvLWQBk8K6nh5vuHn

will do your sets for $10 a game

Sunday, October 23, 2016

breathing exercises

for reference
mindgames blog


Exercise: diaphragm only breathe

Place one hand on your stomach and one on your chest. If your entire breathe is from your diaphragm, then only the hand on your stomach will move, while the hand on the chest remains mostly still.




Exercise: sighing exhalation

Take several deep breaths pausing slightly at full intake. Do a controlled exhale along with a deep sigh. Allow the air to have a slight friction in your throat as it goes out, and make it as deep in your throat as you are able. Pay attention to the moment between exhalation and inhalation as a point of maximum relaxation.


Exercise: rhythmic breathing
Inhale on a count of four, hold for a count of four, exhale for a count of four, and pause for a count of four.


Exercise: rhythmic breathing 1:2

Take a full breath and release it. Repeat each of the following sets four times, then move to the next. Inhale on a count of four, exhale on eight. Inhale on five, exhale on ten. Inhale on six, exhale on twelve. Then go back down the series. Inhale on five, exhale on ten. Inhale on four, exhale on eight. Inhale on two exhale on four. If you run out of breath step back a count and try to breath more deeply and exhale more slowly. Try to control the exhale with your lower back as well and add a deep sigh on the exhale if the friction helps you meet the count.


Exercise: rhythmic breathing countdown

Take a full breath and release it. Visualize the number five. Choose relaxing imagery. Use as many senses as possible. As you get more skilled at imagery or this activity you will more easily incorporate more senses. What does it look like? feel like? What does the environment smell like? What sounds are occurring? What is the taste? When you are ready, on the next inhalation, mentally count down to the number four. When you exhale say internally, “I am more relaxed than I was at 5.” If you prefer, breath several times on number 4, or move directly on to number 3 on the next inhalation. Then on the exhalation say internally, “I am more relaxed than I was at 4.” Let yourself feel the relaxation spread from your chest to your limbs, and deeper into the body. Proceed the same way to number 1. It may take anywhere from thirty seconds to over two minutes to so the complete exercise. The important thing is the effect. If you feel totally calm and relaxed at number 1 then it is going well.


Exercise: rhythmic breathing counting
Breath on a similar pattern to simple rhythmic breathing. For example, four counts in, hold four counts, four counts out, pause four counts. Choose a count that works for you and then do it a few times till it becomes natural. Then start counting your breaths. Focus your mind on the rhythm of the breathing, and the relaxation that accompanies each exhalation. Allow the breath to wash away any intruding thoughts. See how high you can count, and then once you lose count start over. Try to allow your mind to be completely subsumed by your breathing rhythm and the count, keeping away any distracting thoughts or sounds. You can try this exercise in any position. However it may help to start by lying on your back on a flat surface. Place your feet a little wider than your hips, let your feet fall to the side. Hands should be laying alongside you with your palms up, as close to or far from your body as is comfortable. You can also place one hand on your upper stomach to enhance your connection to the rhythm.



Thursday, October 20, 2016

Ericsson notes

Anders Ericsson et al
Role of Deliberate Practice (aka 10,000 hours aka talent doesn't exist)
http://projects.ict.usc.edu/itw/gel/EricssonDeliberatePracticePR93.pdf

raw notes:

Ericsson claims that the level of expert performance/competency is directly related to the time committed to deliberate practice (10000 hours theory)
The biggest issue is that you can dismiss a case that does not correlate as “not sufficiently deliberate,” but this is not very worrying considering the strength of the positive accounts


Talent:
The science of talent is so complex, muddled, and non-conclusive that the concept itself is barely useful— rather, it is decidedly non-deterministic. The relationship between high performance and genetics is laughably feeble compared to its relationships with upbringing, motivation, and labor. In a mental sport (as opposed to a physical sport in which height and build, obvious genetic factors), natural ability so much less important as to be sufficiently useless, particularly when this ability cannot be specifically identified.

Throughout the history of the olympic games records have improved steadily and dramatically in every single event, even those with static rules and conditions.

The fastest rate of typing in 1904: 82 wpm
in 1923: 147 wpm
1959: 176 wpm

Perfect pitch is actually instructable in all young children and even adults (although adults will require a substantial amount of training).

A high IQ (already reflecting both genetic and environmental factors) has next to no real correlation with success in competitive chess.

At the time it was written, the best violinists in the country considered Tchaikovsky’s violin concerto unplayable. Today it is standard repertoire. Musical ability is so increased that in blind tests, world-class pianists of 75 years ago are lackluster at best today.

This all shows that the standard for excellence is steadily increasing as information accumulates. The human genome remains the same. At the time, the best violinist in Russia was obviously considered “greatly talented” but was objectively worse than most professional violinists today in terms of ability and performance. Today’s violinists are no more talented but instead reap the benefit of optimized methodology.

Neither does talent manifest as “learning more faster.” Expert status is uniformly achieved in an average of 10 years from initiation. Prodigies that begin earlier actually achieve mastery slower due to development and maturity. Even outliers (such as Fischer) don’t undercut 9 years. In terms of efficiency in a similar deliberate routine, the exceptional are not so exceptional.

Finally, it is possible that talent is a gateway limitation as opposed to a performance cap limitation but this is unlikely.
While aptitude tests do predict short term success, any advantages quickly disappear over time as experience accumulates. Aptitude has very little influence on performance over time. In the following model, predisposition to optimizing practice is more valuable or identifiable with talent.

Thus talent is, as far as empirical or pragmatic consideration for method go, a sufficiently useless concept outside of spurring activity and motivating someone to achieve.

-

more time in practice does not = increased performance
in fact, in many cases it can decrease it due to neglect and loss of attentiveness (performance and experience has a negative correlation in doctors).

Duration, structure, and intensity of training is the worth.

optimal practice requires:
motivation (incl focus)
information
optimization
feedback

stagnation despite motivation indicates a change in method is necessary
a teacher is there to monitor and shift the task to accommodate
the average personal-tutored student performed at the 98th percentile of students taught conventionally in a classroom setting
by focusing effort and solving for specific problems

transition from student to top professional is marked by transitioning from a mastery of the mechanics into an insight into the structures and innovative use of to arrive at new interpretations
this, I think, goes back to top-down to bottom up learning
this bit of the article is far less specific and I don’t think it is very well constructed
creativity is a wrench in all of this
but creativity is not a high priority among performance criteria

in early stages, exceeding 2 hrs a day shows greatly reduced benefit
practice without full attention defeats the purpose of practice

like training muscles, any training activity must actively push the boundaries of our ability in order to increase it.
strain, then recovery time. Both are essential.
Progress is limited by the limits of either. (stagnation/burnout)
novelists tend to work for only 4 hours in the morning, intensely, then break completely from their (long-term) creative work. This allows for recovery. Music students that go too hard too fast tend to give up their instrument at the first sign of fatigue.
The key, then, is slow adaptation. Burnout motivational or otherwise is a symptom of too-rapid a change.
Just as deliberate practice itself, in order to allow for our full attention and learning, starts with low-level tasks then slowly builds in scope, difficulty, and complexity, the level of commitment in terms of a schedule must also start small then gradually grow as our capacity increases naturally through adjustment. This can be optimized to avoid the consequences of overreaching and burning out while avoiding those of underreaching and stagnating.

mental fatigue is real https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3562167/
but much more subjective than measurable. The brain makes you perceive it very early 'cause it's potentially sooo damaging.
(in terms of performance, mistakes increase over time even with focus. A tougher mental load will also dull reaction time, though it will not increase rate of mistakes.)

novelists tend to work for only 4 hours in the morning, intensely, then break completely from their (log-term) creative work. This allows for recovery. This is matched by expert pianists and is accepted as a general upper limit for sustainable concentrated individual practice.

The key, then, is slow adaptation. Burnout motivational or otherwise is a symptom of too-rapid a change.

Just as deliberate practice itself, in order to allow for our full attention and learning, starts with low-level tasks then slowly builds in scope, difficulty, and complexity, the level of commitment in terms of a schedule must also start small then gradually grow as our capacity increases naturally through adjustment. This can be optimized to avoid the consequences of overreaching and burning out while avoiding those of underreaching and stagnating.

again, high levels of motivation are correlated with high frequency of practice and performance

getzels and csikszentmihalyi (1976)
Artists are drawn to painting most often because it allows for isolation. But when faced with the need to network to support themselves, a large number retreat not just from painting professionally but from painting altogether at the very moment that they commit to an alternative day job that prevents them from a quality routine. This indicates that the activity itself is not inherently motivating but rather producing quality work.

Practice is decidedly not motivational in itself. Thus motivation must precede devoted practice. It may come easily from social setting or goals short or long-term, most often through performance in competition etc.


Violinists
in young violinists in a top school, number of competitions entered correlates with skill as does repertoire in memory and length of practice sessions
practice alone is perceived as the most valuable activity. Averages 3.5 hrs a day (sessions averaging 1.3 hrs) among top performers, not varying greatly weekday vs weekend. Alone before lunch was preferred.
Average of 60 hrs (~7 per night) of nighttime sleep which also correlated with more effort compared with other students. Additionally, they nap more (3hr a week and usually between 2-4 after practicing).
They spend 3.5 hr a day on leisure, worse performers spend 4.3 and the average person spends 5.2. Direct negative correlation with time spent with music. Interestingly, the top performers were far more accurate in estimating their leisure time because they were better at time-management.

Experts should be able to accurately report/estimate time spent practicing because deliberate practice requires close scrutiny of time spent.

Practice needed to achieve a high level of mastery is massive. Practice needed to maintain or regain a level once achieved is significantly less.


Scientists
80 hrs a week in preparation
focused and extended work developing and refining generated theoretical solutions to specified general problems
knowledge-transform as opposed to knowledge tell
more eminent scientists publish significantly more. Darwin, Pavlov, Skinner, etc all started every day with a few hours of writing.
generally speaking, motor activities are enhanced in the afternoon, intellectual in the mornings.

Ericsson uses the word eminent for going past national notoriety and into genius by way of making new contributions. He claims that this is achieved by first achieving expert then directing concentrated effort at a specific goal (which is honestly not much of a claim lol)



Saturday, October 1, 2016

Proper Claw


Proper Claw

This is my method. I think it's close to optimal. No significant strain unless you tense your arms (which would cause strain using any grip).

 

Additionally I use a classic controller cap on my analog stick and have taken the spring out of my R button.

Monday, September 19, 2016

HBOX vs SFAT Shine 2016

HBOX vs SFAT Shine 2016

http://flowfeedback.com/feedback/WTXnfRnR5KgExCSpH

Reminder I still do these for $10 a game.

Game 1
BF

8:00 descending fair gets whiff punished
holy goodness that whole sequence of DI was pretttty bad lol, he kept going exactly where sfat could follow up
7:50 stalling over nair range for a spot to land, gets one then trades
7:47 interesting. Immediate fall through pounds at the DD spot, gets CCed though
7:45 lol look how confidently sfat presses down.
7:41 premeditated CC but sfat misses the grab for some reason
hbox is looking for one more aerial to break CC %
sfat confirms no approach then goes for a vertical hit
7:35 pretty ballsy/lazy ledgegrab lol
soooo lucky he didn’t die after that CC jab
7:31 sfat buffered a normal gettup so he gets punished, good DI off the bair though
7:29 lol what a whiff
hbox reads a dj option. sfat needed to delay his dj, which he wasn’t going to do there.
7:23 hbox avoids laser damage by matching inv, fox is going to get stage anyway
sneaks in an upair grab, I think sfat tried to CC but was too late so he walked into it
goes for dthrow trap, techchase, good spacing, regrab, idk why he chose to upthrow that time. I think a second dthrow was better. Oh my, great reaction to the ambiguous DI to get upair upair dash attack. Sfat’s DI makes him tech in. No idea if the jump at the upB was a reaction or read but it was sick.
lmaoooo
all that work to get burned
6:59 ok it sort of resets but hbox can’t cover ledge.
sfat ledgedash upsmashes again, whiffs but gets a vertical punish as hbox is slow.
6:50 hbox funnels sfat upward to get an upair but runs out of jumps lol
6:47 amazing spacing to get that grab
lmao same shitty as DI pattern makes hbox take a million damage
6:39 the sneaky dtilt. This is really hard to space over and normally puff wants to delay a bair in that situation.
6:33 hbox has to wait outside to make sure he doesn’t get vertical punished
misspaces and gets daired out of a juicy punish opportunity
6:29 nair covers fallthrough and land shield. Neat.
late reaction to sideB. He might have felt he was low enough and meant to rest the end of it.
6:27 hbox pokes high then immediately occupies the space that sfat left behind.
6:23 emptyland grab off a SH
reads a DJ, sfat stalls but for too long and gets clipped
6:15 sfat is just looking for some damage
hbox for an opportunity. He gets a little greddy and gets baired.
6:07 sees the upair before sfat does it and stops drifting forward. That was overzealous.
this time the tempo works in hbox’s favor and he lands the nair but misses the grab, gets jabbed, sfat flubs the kill
they move to center and want to bair each other, lol
5:59 sfat is obviously very confident just crouching bair.
He’s not confident about a dash back out of crouch though so he FHs then does a delayed jab bair
5:50 hbox reads a jump that doesn’t happen
sfat is putting moves out around his perimeter. That’s a little dangerous.
5:48 sniffs a counter attack and WD back grabs
more super shitty DI
5:42 the DJ fair was a good idea but done too low
5:40 this FH nair fadeback is funny. It would have hit but they’re both nervous about it.
FH nair fadeback is generally ok for a safeish way to challenge the space in front of puff.
hbox foregoes a direct punish attempt that would whiff and attacks the space behind the land. Happy with the damage, backs off, trying to bait aggression.
It works but he does this super slow platform drop upair so no dice.
5:36 hbox had a really good descending position but left it empty for too long.
5:34 sfat gets indecisive with DD spacing, gets baired.
wow amazing option coverage from sfat vs hbox’s approach. He’s very obviously studied. Gets the grab and the kill.
5:23 hbox throws out an invincible low commitment poke lol
sfat dashes right around it. In order to do that he has to be reading the timing of the bair itself which is impressive. Shows a lot of familiarity with hbox.
Running shine whiffs, gets baired. Knockdown converts to heavy stage and a grab.
Fthrow introduces a high/low mixup. They both choose high. Hbox waits for the inevitable upB and gets the edgeguard.
5:11 crossup after the nair is unsafe. That’s lazy of hbox.
shinegrab bitchhh
5:07 tight spacing by hbox vs sfat’s descent
but misjudges tempo afterward and gets vertical punished.
5:02 telegraphs the edgecancel, sfat just sits there and uptilts. Hbox isn’t used to people knowing his likes lol
4:58 I think that sfat’s jump is a read on some aggression. But he wasn’t sure if it would be a grab or a dash attack etc so he jumps over it.
whiffs the grab barely but shine is frame 1.
4:52 hbox slowly buys space, sfat gives it to him looking for a bair on an overextension but is a little slow.
4:46 lmao terrible read
4:43 look at how confident sfat is that hbox won’t approach any more than slightly with bairs. All of these bairs could easily hit but hbox is unwilling to give up the capacity to fade back.
4:39 CC run past vertical punish. Very safe.
misjudges the tempo, hbox gets a bair and a dash attack techchase
reads another shine sideB attempt and that’s the game
of would be but hbox suckkkkks
lmaoooo
sfat walks up calmly and uptilts the inevitable shitty nair
goodness.

So my read on this game is that normally hbox gets some free stuff by playing puff and having a hella scary punish game that he’s not getting here and it makes situations that he’s taken for granted a little tense. Note how sfat isn’t allowing him to buy space with bair unless it means that fox can FH bair over them. The remainder of the time he challenges them with CC or thumbs his nose at the possibility of a fuller fade forward (a possibility that isn’t real because hbox won’t do it). Note the disrespect of puff’s unreal falling nair threat. Generally speaking, sfat is playing the MU well. He’s distinguished between perceived and actual strengths and weaknesses and I don’t think hbox went into this game quite prepared for that. However, hbox also dropped crucial punishes that would have definitely secured him the game.


Game 2
DL
gonna focus on positioning

8:00
hbox goeshigh to descend on any options, too high and allows sfat under
safe reads a bair, whiffs
7:54 FH back is safe vs everything but approaching nair, gets a punish
no direct followup so retreat and get another, should be a dead fox already.
7:45 have to stall off stage until fox gives a reason not to
dair was slightly misspaced and didn’t respect sfat’s capacity to do more shines
7:36 baits him up but suboptimal exacution
wait outside of bair
whiffs, FHs into retreating space again but misspaces pressure and overcommits so fox gets out
7:31 challenges for the punish with option to crossup without committing to a punishable one, neat.
7:22 doesn’t FH this time, stays low. I think because he was already close to center.
7:18 safe descending nair covers jump
techchase
bad spacing vs ledgedash
edgeguard was hard, didn’t want to commit so early
7:06 just holding center, fox is so high
6:57 bad nair because no fadeback. Keeps doing them in this spot.
6:54 waits outside of aggression again
6:46 another should be safe nair, could have gotten away with n earlier fair after. Soft would have done it lol
6:40 doesn’t have tempo so that bair is unsafe
scrappy rest of the stock.
6:22 whiffs a bair, second attempt is late
lmao dair upsmash on fox
6:08 gets center, burns it on a nair predicting a jump. Sfat continues to not jump there though so has to shield. This is an interesting nair but it’s obv that he’s just guessing. This isn’t a read, sfat has only jumped into one of like 7 so far.
6:05 upair was bad
6:00 goes to nair again, recognizes bad tempo, retreats to side
more safe FHs on prediction of fox running back
a stuffy nair which is super hard to punish, gets a WD back grab, should be dead fox
whyyyy is he doing this dash atackkk? Maybe because techcase on plats is harder? Dunno. Don’t agree at all.
sfat gets to ledge, hbox spaces around ledgedash which is clearly preferred, gets upair whiff punish
edgeguard
5:35 grabs ledge then ledge jumps with inv to avoid lasers and gain height
gets space with a nair crossup then takes center, would probably have gotten that grab
5:29 nair was too high but gets away with it
retreat after whiffed uptilt was predictable
5:25 takes possession of center, whiffs bair but sfat is late so uptilt is good.
no reaction
has to settle for grab
upthrow pound but not high enough for combo to rest
lol does it again but bair this time
sfat has great DI
5:13 good descent but misspaces
5:10 shitty nair
5:06 doesn’t do the hbox tiny drift this time so he gets baired lol
5:03 fakeout to get ledge
just have to buy space safely
4:55 nair works because of placement at top of jump. sfat was staying empty until low. Good recognition.
4:48 soooo lucky
4:37 great position to grab
4:34 crazy angle to get around that bair
4:32 position outside then whiff punish
4:29 whoops
4:28 actually really cool adjustment from sfat. This time he ledgedashes empty then fills the space that hbox stas in with FH nair.
4:22 just have to avoid getting baired
4:21 lol
4:15 accidental crossup. That sucks.
a bit too high vs retreat too, why is he thinking that?
amazzzing DD from sfat. Great awareness of options.
4:00 meh nair
hbox is staring to overextend. He’s doing a lot of immediate bairs and sfat can just run and gun. It’s ok if one lands and kills for now but if hbox misspaces and takes like 40 then it’s bad.
3:55 wow read the shittt out of that jump but fox’s nair is pretty darn fast
3:48 bad descent, had no tempo
ok close enough
3:35 stalls outside of bair range
high center vs retreat
does the bair nair, sfat doesn’t take it, idk what the roll was for
3:28 good angle for fair
whiff punish grab
misjudges % so fox lives, could probably have dj techchase rested safely
oh just does more upairs? I guess that works. Ok then. Sick.

Not getting so much out of neutral, not optimized reward in specific recurring positions


Game 3
FD
8:00
rising bair to cover self then short stall and SH bair for space.
covered land with uptilt but sfat is spacing so well!
7:57 multiple FH bairs to protect ascent from grounded fox then descending bair on unsure spacing
sfat moves out of hitstun well, gets another shine
7:52 hbox keeps doing uptilts after lands in case sfat is late to punish attempt
7:47 pound was on fall confirm, no followup
sfat crosses up after hbox doesn’t give himself enough space to react to dash
7:41 this is a neat bair
7:37 waits for roll in then jumps after the jump
takes some damage assuming sfat will back away
7:23 predicts that fox will run in but pulls back too far
7:16 moves to fall on the third fox running crossup
7:14 jumps too soon to react to techroll with grab so he dairs, then whiffs the followup
7:10 meh spacing
7:08 takes lasers as an invitation to gain vertical space
7:05 really good spacing but bair is barely too early
aerial then grab never works
7:02 poor spacing to punish a preemptive nair
6:57 kinda stupid
terrible jump by sfat
6:54 hbox was in a bad position where he had to telegraph which angle he wanted to cover
so it’s better that he preserved center
6:52 kinda cool nair, it covered that jump and was safe from a grounded approach
6:32 keeps doing these ledgejumps. Not sure if intentional. Not bad, not great, unless I’m not understanding something.
nair was a bait, sfat took it
no idea why he rolled of all things after the bair
6:22 shitty spacing out of inv
6:19 nair was started too early so no hitbox on landing
buys space with bair
6:15 grabs but sfat chooses to jump
6:10 either the worst spaced bair of all time or he read a jump that didn’t happen
6:03 actually a super dumb bair, sfat was clearly ready to CC, but he got lucky
went to empty land grab but sfat jumped preemptively
5:59 no reaction to DI
5:57 don’t agree with this fair, sfat has been CCing too much
5:52 bairs high to punish any more FHs from fox
he’s also high enough that he can drift over or away from a running approach on reaction
sfat would have to read the height and timing of a drift to punish it
slips through but doesn’t recognize vertical punish in time.
5:47 fox lasering means that hbox can assume a descent position at 1/3 stage. That’s pretty strong, lots of options.
5:42 bair is misspaced and overly eager.
5:21 at 144 the goal is to not get baired and get a grab so it’s ok to take a bit to get off ledge
sfat is good about not overextending
5:16 WD forward was tricky, sfat hesitated, that should have been the grab
5:11 pair of nairs catches all grounded options
5:09 fair is designed to catch the jump
5:08 probably a roll read. Should be a dead fox.
sfat DIs the pound correctly
5:04 horrrible bair
5:01 hbox thought that sfat meant to run away when he turned his back
4:54 shitty ass pound
4:53 don’t agree with this bair, should have gotten uptilted again for continuing to come straight down and play on tilt
4:48 sfat can’t dj from shine and sweetspot ledge so the shinestall just gets him killed for free
4:34 ok looks like ledgejump is on purpose to get high and avoid laser damage
4:30 sfat spaces so that landing is uncomfortable and challenging him is scary. Don’t want to trade with upsmash. Forces hbox to ledge
fair was a bait, sfat doesn’t bite
4:25 read the shit out of that WD back

positioning goals were not very clear and I think he played on tilt, swung at first given opportunity too often


Game 4
BF
8:00 challenges wait, then a run in, sfat nairs over. Could have maybe turned around in time to get the shieldgrab.
7:56 reads the jump but doesn’t respect low hitstun
7:51 another position read
7:49 I think that’s just a bad WD. Hard not to do that one though.
7:47 sfat makes a drift read, gets a great shine
hbox should have recovered under the stage right.
7:40 bad fair prevents a reaction to the jump.
smart lightshield by sfat
good spacing on descent by hbox
hbox flashes shield but drops it and gets shined, no idea why since he l cancels with Z
7:35 bair is ok
7:32 WD was really close to too slow but gets a juicy bair
SH then FH covers all tech options, was good
7:30 hbox reads a DJ, I think he could have reacted from that position
should have let go of ledge and immediate bair
7:26 hbox always grabs in this spot and sfat knows that
good reaction to the situation to wd out of the way
crossup bair is possible punish, probably safe
ftilt was almost definitely accidental
7:22 hbox was late to get there, he reads a FH out of the way which is weird to me since sfat literally just rolled in the same spot
7:16 looks like hbox uses dash attack at high %s like he uses uptilt at low %
7:06 super bad fade
7:04 I prefer uptilt here but bair is lower risk
7:03 baited/predicted a jump
7:00 positions to cover multiple angles
again
out of place to cover fall
6:51 committing so high forfeits stage
6:39 this bair is a problem, half a fadeback and half a commitment = a whiff
6:32 nair is really bad option coverage here
6:27 bad spacing
6:24 didn’t respect sfat’s capacity to be there again, gets shined
6:18 overextension
6:16 should be easy techchase rest, chooses to bair but there’s no followup possible
6:13 whiff punish, interesting because the FH bair was pretty safe and allowed specifically for this
don’t like this bair even on hit
6:10 this bair wasn’t safe vs jump
6:07 could have rested here too but the full edgeguard makes it worth it not to
5:54 stalls high then uses platform to maneuver out of fox’s way. Sfat could have predicted but didn’t so hbox gets to center.
5:52 no idea what this grab was
5:48 good reaction to the waveland
5:41 was a good dj by sfat
5:37 lol hbox was like “oh crap this nair is bad”
5:33 Hbox stalls outside and sfat gifts him some space looking for a whiff punish which hbox proceeds to give him but sfat chickens out
hbox is waiting for sfat to run into a bair but the longer he does this the higher the risk of a vertical punish
this is all moderate or high risk low reward
5:12 sfat just walks up into that space and uptilts
5:05 sfat reacts. I think that unless their shield is tilted for a drop then you should wait out their spotdodge
5:03 once sfat commits to the gun he can’t stop an advance with an aerial
5:02 oh ok so shine makes this upair unsafe without perfect timing. That sucks. Means that you have to settle for dair to a mixup.
good spacing
4:52 upthrow was probably better
bad spacing to trade with upsmash, you have to respect the ledgedash by now
4:47 terrible nair
4:42 bad jump
4:39 same iffy situation where first bair whiffs, second bair overshoots where an uptilt or dash attack wouldn’t but is lower risk
4:24 good spacing
4:15 no idea what this ftilt is
4:10 vertical punish, could have faded back on reaction to jump
sfat just waits under with uptilt

some bad plays in important spots, not clean spacing in general, lack of good punishes
can easily optimize recurring habits/situations

Unreactable Range Project

Flawed methodology, might come back to this, might not.


Tuesday, September 13, 2016

Wednesday, September 7, 2016

Refreshing Puff's Ledge Invulnerability

Refreshing Puff’s Ledge Invulnerability

Note: When you grab ledge you go through a 7f animation called "Cliffcatch." You cannot let go of ledge until the second frame of the following "Cliffwait" (i.e. you must wait 8f total). If you try to move before this then you will buffer an action from ledge. Conveniently, Puff's cute little grunt sound will be cut short if you are accurate, so that's a good indicator for your timing. If it sounds like one note then you're good. Two: you're late. Buffered an action: you're early.
You can practice this stuff in frame counter.



Aerial Refresh

Let go of ledge, double jump away, input an aerial, then fade back to ledge and regrab as it ends.
Fair is coolest because it shows off either your sick finger finesse or that you claw.
perfect execution:
grabs on 42
12f of vulnerability.


Sing Refresh

Fast fall from ledge, double jump on the 12th frame and rising sing
perfect execution:
grabs on 38
8f of vulnerability


FFDJ Refresh
Fast fall from ledge, double jump on the about the 12th frame.
perfect execution:
grabs on 38
8f of vulnerability


Pound Refresh
Let go of ledge, immediately rising pound.
perfect execution:
active on 13-28
grabs on 47
17f of vulnerability (30-47)


S0ft Dashing

This is like a hax dash for puff but requires interacting with the stage's solidity.
Let go of ledge, fast fall for 5f, then double jump while pressing forward to grind against the side of the stage. Once you’ve popped up over it enough, waveland backwards and tap down to buffer a ledgegrab.
perfect execution:
grabs on 30
0 frames of vulnerability


For ease of reference:

Puff's perfect ledgedash has up to 9f of inv, allowing shield, dash attack, jab, ftilt, uptilt, grab, up smash, and down-b, but due to her traction/jumpsquat poor range and no invincible aerials.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9Flj_QcVeQM

Puff's fair is active 7-22, IASA at 35 (13f endlag)
bair is active 9-12, IASA at 31 (9f endlag)
nair is active 6-28, ends at 49 but will likely be ACed after 29.
https://smashboards.com/threads/jigglypuff-hitbox-and-frame-data-nsf56k.303202/

CC is extremely strong vs all of these, usually leaving the victim at a minimum of +9 in frame adv
https://docs.google.com/spreadsheets/d/1WOSYc6yx8cSp7oFrfTYpwZcBZEoGTy1dO5bpaY-O4AY/pubhtml#

Tuesday, August 30, 2016

Endgame First

Endgame First

"In order to improve your game, you must study the endgame before anything else; for whereas the endings can be studied and mastered by themselves, the middlegame and the opening must be studied in relation to the endgame." - José Raúl Capablanca, world chess champion 1921-1927 

Chess grandmasters frequently maintain that new players should make a thorough study of endgames before moving on to openings or middlegame principles. In the following paragraphs I hope to illustrate their foresight and how it might inform a better structured learning in Melee.

In chess, the endgame is quite naturally the goal. When playing chess our primary goal is to checkmate the opponent’s king. It follows that we should examine the most common situations from which this is possible. We don’t want to drop opportunities for an easy victory due to negligence of clear-cut and completely solvable situations. This idea is easy enough.

Second, In the case of chess, the endgame emphasizes fundamental principles by reducing the complexity of the gamestate to the extreme. This is of course exactly why the endgame is clear-cut and solvable in the first place. With only a few pieces left on the board and the end so close, the control and potentiality offered by each and every piece of material is very important and very explicit. Thus, in addition to consistent victories, study of the endgame instructs us in no uncertain terms as to the individual strengths and weaknesses of individual pieces and positions when pushed to their extreme conditions and how best to work them.

The endgame also provides clear and unmistakable feedback as to the success of our learning these principles. The situations are simple enough that we must win without leaving room for error. If we draw or lose from a favorable position then we haven’t demonstrated competency. Consider Critical Squares. Without an understanding of why these squares are critical and the capacity to follow through, the concept itself is useless. We have failed the principle that we mean to embody. The same can be said of many concepts. Although they would be quick to call Critical Squares (or Stage Control) valuable, too many players have neglected to do their homework. They might occupy the winning position, but their gameplan contains sizable and exploitable weaknesses. Without understanding and execution, a winning position may as well be a losing one.

All of this should sound very familiar to a Melee player. In a nearly exact parallel, edgeguards and extreme stage control simplifies the gamestate. The number of options available to the opponent goes from overwhelming to totally containable. In many scenarios, a character trapped deep in the corner should rarely if ever survive without having first taken a hefty risk. What’s more, by removing the option to dash away from confrontation and creating an incentive to actively take space, we can more clearly demonstrate the essential strengths and weaknesses of any given character. A mastery of this extreme position translates directly to competence at center stage. Additionally it creates for other gamestates a clear and familiar positional goal. It is the simplest way to systematically reveal the principles of a MU in a way that is direct, meaningful and pervasive.

While it is true that on the short-term a novice studying openings will outperform one studying endgames, he will fall further and further behind as the endgame-minded student perfects his execution and knowledge of the principles defined by the individual pieces, and expands inward from guaranteed winning conditions to the positions that will bring them about. The same is true for a Melee player.

In our community there is an implicit understanding that you should learn the fundamentals of the game, then work toward specifics. This is backwards. Fundamentals are simply patterns of principles that persist over many situations. In such a complex game there are always exceptions, so any of these mysterious non-entities called fundamentals are unrecognizable without first knowing what they are as well as frequently temporarily unimportant. It takes intimate knowledge of specifics to make use of the patterns and to recognize their exceptions.

If we choose to follow the advice of the grandmasters and carefully analyze how to cover options from specific, endgame-minded positions, we will
   a) have a thorough understanding and better execution in that situation,
   b) recognize over time the underlying patterns that unite situations in and across MUs as well as their differences and

   c) learn the use of fundamentals much much faster.
In this way we have defined a pragmatic method of using specific situations to unearth meaningful patterns as principles, all within the language and logic of the game itself.

Learning according to CLARION

CLARION is a cognitive architecture.
http://www.cogsci.rpi.edu/~rsun/sun.clarion2005.pdf
http://www.cogsci.rpi.edu/~rsun/clarion.html
https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/2/2a/Clarion_Cognitive_Architecture.jpg

A cognitive architecture is basically a theory to approximate the process of cognition. That is,
if you sort information using these processes then you sufficiently mimic cognitive process.
Clarion does so with the basic assumptions that
a) cognition is always means of fulfilling motivation
b) motivation is either the effect of a drive or a goal structure
c) action and knowledge-bank both operate two separate processes, implicit and explicit (which I think are better called intuitive and declarative)


It should be directly stated that this is not literally true. The following subsystems are not associated with specific regions of the brain whose job it is to perform them. These are complex and loosely penned cognitive processes that are not comprehensive but are sufficient to approach cognition. If we better understand our cognitive process then we are more readily able to recognize hang-ups and solutions especially in regard to how we structure our learning.



The illustration looks much more complicated than it actually is. Let’s look at each subsystem.
  1. The kickstarter of cognition is the Motivational Subsystem. You start with a drive. Cognition itself is specifically designed as an instrument to fulfill this drive. It can range from food, water, or avoiding danger, to autonomy, dominance, recognition, or belonging, etc. We are pretty familiar with this kind of psychological assumption. You may also be motivated by a process created by a goal structure that in turn services a drive. That's fortuitous for us, since we want to use our natural tendencies to procedural ends and like goal-setting anyway.
  2. All explicit knowledge constantly cycles through Meta-Cognitive Subsystem. Meta-cognition is simply monitoring and direction. At this stage, your brain decides what is appropriate to do. The MCS filters, selects, and regulates information to be acted upon. It reviews progress, reinforces positive processes, and sets goals to solve for unsatisfactory processes.
  3. The Action Subsystem controls thought/action. It has an explicit and an implicit level that operate simultaneously.
  4. Non-Action Subsystem maintains your knowledge-bank. It has explicit and implicit resources.
  • Explicit: declarative, specific, more accessible.
    Explicit knowledge is representable. It can be communicated easily through words, symbols, or named concepts. In a melee context, all knowledge is procedural, a rule for action. I like the term Declarative because it can be and very often is declared.

  • Implicit: intuitive, holistic, fundamental, less accessible.
    Implicit knowledge is not representable. It is automatic and outside of our verbal grasp. Colloquially we sometimes hear it referred to as Unconscious but in this context that’s extremely confusing. I prefer Intuitive.

We can now discuss the two learning processes suggested by the model and its researchers.

Top-Down
Learning principles to apply to action. The design is placed before the experience. This knowledge is either heard and then internalized through practice in its application OR it is intentionally sought out in experience, then sorted. Anything that is or can be “worked out.” This is the method that is most familiar to us as an educational model. It is on the whole very efficient. A Top-Down approach is weak in two meaningful respects. First, the knowledge is only as good as how well it is understood. A limitation in understanding is an immediate limitation on knowledge and capacity. Second, this knowledge is limited by the capacity of its delivery. If the words fail to sufficiently address the situation then the knowledge fails to sufficiently address the situation.

Bottom-Up
Trail and error to arrive at unconscious mastery. The experience is placed before the design. This knowledge is necessarily out of reach of our conscious meta-cognition and thus poorly understood if understood at all. In this way it is almost entirely built from experience. The best example of this is grammar. Although we can learn grammar using declarative rules, most of us learn a language at too young an age to use them. We internalize the correct rules of grammar through a huge amount of trial and error. We have an acute intuitive sense for these rules but it is extremely difficult for us to formulate them on demand. Intuitive knowledge is incredibly profound, capable of magnificent complexity, and effortless to put into use—we rarely even notice. However, it is obscenely inefficient. Running yourself through the trails and errors required to assuredly arrive at correct intuitive knowledge is a monstrous task. It is also highly susceptible to misdirection by biases in interest/activity/wrong opinion/etc.


But the beauty of the dichotomy lies in the overlap. These models are not mutually-exclusive. Because they operate simultaneously, a conscientious learner can actively take advantage of both. He may gently guide the progress of his bottom-up learning with focus and mindfulness or later conceptualize the solutions that he intuitively arrives to as if by accident. This is the optimized form of Bottom-Up. He may intentionally internalize his top-down assumptions with practice, allowing a methodology to sink into an unconscious procedure that is more sensitive to exceptions. This is the optimized form of Top-Down.

Monday, August 22, 2016

Two Types of Approaches

Two Types of Approaches

In the following article I will discuss how human reaction time can be accounted for in terms of spacing and approaching to create a dynamic system of offensive option coverage. I will be pulling examples from Mango's tournament matches to best illustrate how a good approach game is much more intricate than "always doing nutty options in your face."

Unreactable Range

Before we can talk about designing effective approaches we have to discuss the ramifications of human reaction time. Humans have a natural lag in their response time caused by the mechanics of the brain sorting information. Because visual information is somewhat complex and the electrical signals go through several steps before they are comprehensible, an average response to visual stimuli is about .25-.3 seconds (15-20f). Because it requires less processing, your response to audible stimuli is faster, averaging at about .17 seconds (10f). Additionally, reactions are additive. If there is visual and auditory information your reaction speed should increase slightly, even more so with regular and focused practice. However, it should be noted that these estimates are for simple reactions in which there is only one possible trigger and response. Complex reactions in which there are multiple possible triggers and responses are significantly slower, although your exact reaction time will vary considerably depending on a) the complexity of the situation and b) how practiced your response is. It is possible with dedicated practice to reduce your reaction in replicable scenarios such as in punish game to under 18f, allowing for something like consistent reaction techchases with Sheik or Falcon.
I suggest checking your personal levels at
http://cognitivefun.net/test/16 (simple audio)
http://cognitivefun.net/test/1 (simple visual)
http://cognitivefun.net/ (tests tab for more complex scenarios)

Applying this temporal limitation to the neutral game, we run into an interesting spatial problem. In every matchup, there is an invisible range that, once passed, prevents you from being able to cover options on reaction. Some players refer to this as an “attack bubble” or “range of effectiveness” or something similar but to preserve a clear distinction between the full spatial range of a nair and the range at which you can no longer react to and shield/CC a nair, I’ll call the latter the unreactable range. Using an estimate of 20f (this number can and should be individualized for personal levels) for a reaction, the outer limit of the unreactable range is located at exactly where a given character can have an active hitbox after 20f plus the startup time of whatever your reaction is. Keep in mind too that this range can change with relative frame advantage. If a character is experiencing 15f of endlag then they obviously can’t begin to move for 15f, reducing the unreactable range. If you are in lag then that range may effectively increase. When making decisions from within the unreactable range, you accept that you cannot account for all options on reaction and are in essence making a guess. When making decisions from outside of that range, you accept that with good execution you can react to anything that happens.

Understanding and recognition of the unreactable range allows for a very useful model for approaching in two variations.


Type 1: Incremental Approach

In this approach, you aggressively move forward to the very edge of the unreactable range, then you stop.
Because for the entire length of this approach you maintain your capacity to react to any counter-measures by the opponent, it is completely safe. But because you are rapidly closing space, this movement is still hyper-aggressive and frequently prompts some kind of response by your opponent. By your design their impulsive response is reactable and can net you a large punish on top of the ample stage control.
The incremental approach is most difficult when your opponent decides to run at you at the same time. When this happens the space between the characters closes extremely quickly and it is more difficult, though still possible, to stop/shield/DD at the correct spot.

Examples:
Mango(Falco) vs Mew2King(Marth)
Mango(Puff) vs Scar(Falcon) note the very precise and consistent location where mango shields/starts his jump. Mango will often flash shield to stop in place when an incremental approach is his intention.
Mango(Fox) vs Hungrybox(Puff) at 0:40, 1:18, 3:10, 3:41, 7:48, etc


Type 2: Running Mixup 

In this approach, you aggressively move forward into the unreactable range and initiate a mixup. An approaching mixup should be specifically designed to cover options. For example, a Fox can mix up between running shine (beats shield and in place options), deep nair (beats a WD/dash away/jump) and a WD back (beats an attack). A fox that actively chooses between those three approaching options can beat most of his opponent’s options. He can alter this set of mixups as the MU or the player demands, but this is the rough design. It is as close as melee gets to rock paper scissors, and a player that frequently initiates mixups is either a) confident that he can consistently out-guess his opponent in an unreactable situation based on past interactions and outpunish off of trades or b) stupid.

Examples:
Mango(Fox) vs Taj(Marth)
Mango(Fox) vs Hungrybox(Puff) at 1:14, 1:32, 1:40, 2:21, 2:35, 2:52, etc


Just as Type 2 requires the Fox player to actively mix up his approaches to avoid being predictable, so too does approaching as a concept require a player to actively mix up between types 1 and 2. A player that never enters the unreactable range never actually presents a real threat when he moves forward and can be advanced on and poked without any fear, defeating the purpose of incremental approaches. A player that never stops short of the unreactable range is not making good use of his stage control and and can be easily beaten by a strong defensive game with good risk reward from the corner. In order for either type to maintain effectiveness and good risk reward for the attacker, the threat of the other must be present and respected.

In this way, the concept of approaching once again reiterates the importance of strong footsies.

Thursday, August 11, 2016

Intro to MangoPuff: Profiting From Risks

Intro to MangoPuff: Profiting From Risks
A guest post by Eru


In this article I'll be analyzing the neutral game of Mango's Jigglypuff vs. Fox with the goal of answering an important question: What can Puff players (and everyone else) learn from the neutral game of Mango's first main, specifically in the Fox matchup?

My answer is simple: quite a bit. But first, let me explain my method. I'll be drawing my examples in this piece from sets vs. Jman, Mew2king, and PC Chris*. I've chosen these players because at one time or another it's fair to say that they've all played the Puff matchup well. The more recent material from Mango's stream (vs. Lucky, Alex19, and S2J) is helpful, but not really appropriate for an introduction. I will use these examples to illuminate what we’ll call the two rules of MangoPuff:
  1. Getting hit is a good thing.
  2. Unsafe aerials are a good thing.
Obviously both of these principles need some explanation; so let's get to it!


Principle #1: Getting hit is a good thing.

For the rest of this piece I'm going to talk about the neutral game as a data-gathering mission. Every time you put out a move/jump/etc and elicit a response that response is valuable data. Ideally, once you acquire enough data you will be able to predict the opponent's response to a given action or situation and can maximize your profit on confirmation of their commitment. This model works very nicely for MangoPuff, particularly with the application of principle #1.

Simply put, MangoPuff prefers to hang close to the opponent and trade hits. This is because each time he hits or is hit he gains information. Take the opening of this set as an example. Mango nairs towards Jman three times and fairs at head level three times. Why? This is obviously unsafe and could be cc-grabbed, upsmashed, etc. The answer is simple: data. Mango is, in effect, asking Jman, “What do you do when I approach?" Jman's responses over the next few minutes determine Mango's course of action.

Moreover, it's also important to understand that principle #1 acts as a way of keeping the opponent honest. Think about it; are you worried about an opponent who never hits you? Of course not. When MangoPuff becomes a pest to the opponent, hanging around at head level like a swarm of bees, he not only gains data from that opponent, but he forces the opponent to respect his space.

Perhaps the most important aspect of principle #1 is that by the time you get to the end of a game you have so much data that you really don't have to fear the "random" upsmash because you will recognize when it's coming. In this example, even though Mango is at death percent, he nairs into Jman, fairs his head and grabs him (because Jman shields, a reaction Mango clearly anticipates based on past interactions), and nairs him several more times before ending the stock. There's plenty that fox could do, but only so much that this fox will do.

Near the end of the match, almost everything Mango does to Jman is technically unsafe, but in context it is not. Mango has hit Jman enough times by this point to know exactly what he's willing to do in most of these situations. But more importantly, Mango uses that knowledge to inform his play.  In the second game he immediately hits Jman twice with fade-back aerials. The reason? He has the read that Jman is attempting to dash dance and grab when Puff lands. This knowledge makes it easy to play spacing tricks on his opponent, especially with Jigglypuff’s aerial mobility. But what about getting hit being a good thing? Well, in this example, Mango is hit by Jman’s first full hop dair but reacts to and grabs the second, transforming a "safe" full hop approach by fox into what could be a rest.

Note: if you watch the entirety of the set linked in the examples, you'll see Mango get away with things that your puff/character could never get away with most of the time. The easy (and wrong) conclusion is something about "top player effect, blah, blah, blah." In fact, the reason Mango can do absurd things like this is that he has collected enough data to correctly create, predict and react to that situation. This brings us to principle #2.


Principle #2: Unsafe aerials are a good thing.

Most of the groundwork for explaining this concept has already been laid, so I'll use specific examples to explain it in more detail. When I refer to "unsafe" aerials I usually mean nairs and fairs that could be punished by cc grab, upsmash, a preemptive nair, etc. Mango uses nair and fair as spacing mix ups to allow his puff to achieve the equivalent of a Marth dash dance (Game 1, 10-12 seconds, 38-41 seconds  ) by subtly shifting his perceived threat range. Notice how in each of the cited clips Mango mixes up his spacing by feigning to move forward with nair or fair while anticipating a rush in and perfectly spacing a fade back such that he has space to react and punish. In one case it leads to a kill, in another, a whiffed grab that with better execution could have been a kill. Thus, an "unsafe" aerial is with intention actually clever micro spacing calculated to coax the opponent into a bad situation. Additionally, "unsafe aerials" are a calculation on Mango's part that in many situations it is preferable to trade hits and lose than to leave fox free to take stage, whittle away your options, and finally read an increasingly predictable fadeback.

Diving a bit deeper into principle #2, let’s take a look at the Super Champ Combo set vs PC Chris. This set is instructive for several reasons, perhaps the most important of which is that PC Chris plays this matchup in 2008 remarkably like many of the better foxes in 2016: the full hop aerials, the smart shield/spot dodge use, and the lasers are eerily similar to Armada's approach to the matchup today.  This match is notable for our purposes because PC plays patiently and only takes what he thinks is mostly guaranteed, though Mango will force him to make several plays he would like to take back. In game one, PC almost exclusively shields whenever Mango attempts to poke him with a nair or a fair (Game 1, :29, :48, 1:02, etc), and as a result, Mango gets frustrated with PC's distinctly un-M2K reactions and adapts poorly, losing game one, but not before downloading PC's reactions to several important interactions.

Games 2-5 are a bit different, though in game three Mango is clearly frustrated by PC's unwillingness to fall for his "traps." Hungrybox normally expresses his frustration in-game when he mindlessly bairs in the same pattern, allowing his opponent to wall him off or punish a telegraphed land/fadeback. When frustrated, MangoPuff will make this sort of decision. A badly placed nair that lands directly in front of Fox is easily punished and confirms for PC that he's beginning to wear Mango down. The rest of game three sees PC grow increasingly confident against Mango's approaching nairs and fairs, resulting in aerials out of shield, grabs--even a rare upsmash--while Mango is slow to counter-adapt. Slow, but not incapable. While it may seem as if PC is firmly in control of the matchup, Mango demonstrates in game 5 that PC's newly-discovered aggression will hurt him (Game 5, 0:14-16 and 0:53-55). In these early examples, PC survives but only thanks to a few well-placed spotdodges. Mistakes like this on PC's part eventually lead to the beginning of the end in this exchange (note the response to PC's full hops).


Let's summarize what we've learned from this short time with MangoPuff:

1. Mango prefers to risk trading hits over surrendering space to fox because it allows him to gain information. Information is king. 
2. One of the best ways to get the sort of information he's looking for is through "unsafe" aerials and approaches.

As an addendum, let me add that by recognizing when and where the opponent will try to whiff punish an unsafe aerial we've also been provided with a functional model for Puff's version of a dashdance and where it is most profitable to use her fade back. Finally, I think it's important to respond to the inevitable "he's just doing good player things" charge that is most commonly leveled at Mango's Falcon/Puff/Marth. The proper response for the thoughtful melee player: so what? Seriously, why is watching a good player do great things with your character somehow inapplicable to the development/theorycrafting that happens with that character? Let the "good player things" be a glimpse into the alternate potential of a character rather than an anomaly.  Melee isn't baseball. A small sample size shouldn't be immediately discarded or overlooked; rather, the nature of melee demands careful qualitative analysis that can yield impressive results--PPMD and 2016 Hungrybox are recent examples of the value of this approach.

There's so much about Mango's Puff that's still woefully neglected (run up shield and cross ups spring to mind), but hopefully this initial foray into MangoPuff analysis leads to a fuller understanding of neglected tactics with much to teach us.




* I would love to use material from his stream against Leffen last year, but it seems that no one saved that recording and it is forever lost to time. If, by chance, you happen to have/know where that recording can be located please don't hesitate to share.

Friday, August 5, 2016

Top Dog Notes

top dog: the science of winning and losing

raw notes:

Before studying under Socrates, Plato was a champion wrestler. To the Greeks, competition, especially athletic competition epitomized humanistic virtue. They have a word for it, Arete. Arete means “demonstrated excellence” but the connotation is of a supreme moral virtue. The Olympic games evolved from a footrace that was used to decide who would light a holy torch, who was chosen or worth to do so in the sight of divinity. This subtext persevered to the point that some generations later the greeks and the persians would actually call a truce during the olympic games so that they could travel through each other’s lands to compete fairly. This sense of and respect for sport as an moral human activity persists through culture and is at least partially innate.


Psychological factors boost the “competitive drive” which is something like your immediate capacity to unconsciously tap into extra focus, energy and attention.

Generally speaking, competition teases out better results. Bicyclists racing each other out-perform cyclists racing against a clock by 5 seconds per mile.

Competition is almost as stressful as jumping out of a plane with no training. But unlike jumping out of a plane, it is not acclimated to. The chemical levels in new and veteran competitors are effectively the same. The difference is the behavioral response (either natural or trained) to that stress.
Individuals respond naturally to the stress of competition differently. Naturally, approximately 1/2 benefit greatly, 1/4 to some degree, and 1/4 actually reduce their effort.

Focusing on the rewards of competing/winning is a stimulant, focusing on the odds of winning is a deterrent. People respond to the promise of a reward even if the text is flashed for less that 1/100th of a second and is not consciously recognized. This implies that self-knowledge of motivation is very unreliable.

In order for competition to be a stimulant, a victory MUST be perceived as possible.
The smaller the field of competitors, the more intense the competitive drive. Test scores are always higher with fewer students in the room.
In a boarding school setting, when paired with high achievers low achievers almost invariably shut themselves down while the high-achiever is unaffected. When paired against someone of similar skill, both students are likely to perform at a higher level.

When pitted against someone perceived as a rival drive increases dramatically, especially in practice.
When perceived as the underdog drive increases dramatically on the day of, provided that victory is still considered as possible.
(Yale vs Harvard football teams. When one team has an undefeated record, the other team wins in the head-to-head 70% of the time.)

Home-field advantage is very powerful and innate. This is a territorial behavior, an evolutionary advantage. Humans are more aggressive, competitive, confident, when engaging in a familiar environment even if this environment is only marginally more familiar. Conversely, we are naturally much less aggressive, competitive, and confident when entering into a space that we perceive as inhabited by someone else. Drivers are slower to leave a parking spot if they see someone waiting for it. Deals always go in the favor of whomever’s office the deal is held in (the exact reason that countries negotiate on neutral ground). We say "excuse me" and change our body language to be submissive as we walk past someone that is standing on the sidewalk. In a FPS, a person that arrives at an area 10 seconds before the other player is more likely to win an even engagement.

Other people watching your matches is a support and boosts success if you are comfortable performing/this situation isn’t unfamiliar. However it is a hindrance and inhibits success if you consider yourself to be learning.
For employers, intermittent/random checking in provides the best results. This preserves expectations without being a distraction (constant monitoring). More often for extroverts, less for introverts.

Comt gene: there are warriors that use up dopamine quickly vs worriers that use it up at a slower rate.
High dopamine levels correspond with stress and emotional/cognitive overload. Warriors are better suited for this but don’t perform at optimal levels without stress. Worriers are ill-suited for stressful environments but will outperform a warrior on the long-term after training to acclimate to the task and in peace-time.

Women largely refuse to compete until they have decent odds to win. They are not risk averse, they are simply better at recognizing when they are going to lose. For women to compete despite bad odds they must be in a social context that rewards competition for competition’s sake.
Men are not especially responsive to odds. Men can’t resist a chance to win and prioritize the best result over the probability of results.
That is, for men, competing for something is more important that the results of the competition. When the stakes are higher, men make riskier decisions and push for a higher level of play, women push for more consistent results resulting in a lower high-extreme (example: in a high stakes golf tournament the placing men score further below par than a different tournament on the same course while placing women are slightly closer to par than at another tournament). This is all of course typical, not a rule.
A feminine style is more successful in an infinite game where the object is to get and stay ahead. Female wallstreet speculators outpredict men by 7% accuracy.
A masculine style is more successful in a finite game with a defined finish line.

The social environment determines the form that competition takes.
When separated into groups and pitted against one another in a tournament, children develop real hatred for rival tribes and lash out in any possible way. But when given the opportunity to collaborate for the good of both groups (shared movie night etc), the divisive and violent behavior vanishes. This is almost certainly carry over from hunter-gatherer roles.

Men are predisposed to groups, women to pairs.
In a group, self-assertion socially or in terms of improving results is necessary for communication. This breeds localized competition. A group is a flexible and purpose-driven (groups almost always form around a common interest) model that allows for, encourages, but isn’t overtaken by individualism or individual conflict because there is always at least one mediator. In a pair, the purpose is rarely defined and emphasize commonality and suppress difference to avoid a conflict without the tools for resolution.
Pairs are fragile. This necessitates a keen perceptivity as well as a disinclination to compete needlessly and instead an emphasis on mutual reliability. Newcomers are not assets, they are threats to stability. Competition within a pair looks to achieve equality, not superiority.

When boys are paired, the lower achiever becomes embarrassed and frustrated. His ego is at risk.
When boys are put in groups, boys immediately assume roles and assist one another in order to achieve the best result for the group (implies competition with other groups).
When girls are paired, the lower achiever asks for and receives help.
When girls are put in groups, they are less engaged and work less efficiently because they feel a need to first establish good will within the group so as not to outpace the others.

Being a small fish in a big pond is amazing for girls, but absolutely terrible for boys.
High achievers pull other girls up, they push other boys down. This is only really meaningful though when the competition is pervasive and not localized (example: a charter school, where you feel like you’re competing in life all day with no release or recuperation. This effect is not present when competing in a game that's only played for an hour at a time).

Successful teams are as small as possible to get the job done.

60% of a team’s success is predetermined by the members’ ability and the goal
30% is determined by the initial interactions that determine the roles/internal network
10% is what they do from middle to close.

red team members introduce themselves as a niche skill/subject expert and how it could benefit the group
blue team members introduced themselves as their job
red team is by a consequence outcome-focussed from the start, completely outperforming the blue team
interviewing each other about interests and expertise as an interview is a consistence performance boon because individuals are much easier to use well.
Teams work best when participants know their roles when the pressure is on. Not every role needs to be equal, in fact focussing on equality in a group setting greatly reduces efficiency.
Team performance drives inter relationships, not the other way around.
The best method for increasing team effectiveness is to identify and double down on your individual function within the team, be that as an instigator, a support, a leader, an aggressor, etc.


gain vs prevention orientation
playing to win vs playing not to lose, fight vs flight.
these are two distinct brain operations, one of which might overtake the other in the moment.
in competition, gain orientation has proven superior at a higher level of play.
it is easier to maintain a gain orientation with nothing to lose.
this seems irrational and it is but consider the reality of it. Would you rather take a penalty kick when the score is 2-3 and missing makes your team lose or a kick when the score is 2-2 and scoring makes your team win? You prefer the win. Everyone prefers the win even though the situation is mechanically identical. It’s just a penalty kick. Only the perception differs. The statistics for the win are much better than the not-lose, 92% to 62%. That’s the reality. The brain system used in gain orientation is better for performance.
Language wise, one is a challenge, the other is a threat. Sometimes changing the wording of directions is enough to change results on the test.

Prevention orientation makes heavy use of 4 discreet regions of the brain and is more conscious, both significantly slowing the brain down. It highlights risks over rewards.
In a challenge/gain state you are not expected to be perfect, you are more interested in rewards. It stimulates both the reward region and hormones that induce comfort and familiarity, allowing for a more automatic and faster response.

OMG
when your brain detects an unexpected mistake, it flashes an electrical pulse within about 70 milliseconds to identify that a mistake was made. First, there’s a drop in voltage corresponding in intensity with the shock, then a recovery period lasting maybe 500 milliseconds = .5 seconds during which the plasticity of the brain changes to allow for "correct" neural paths to generate. When experiencing high levels of negative stress/overload a shock is accompanied by a shorter recovery period. This obviously means less learning. Less efficient use of the system. This often triggers hard onset of prevention orientation and mistakes lead to more mistakes with minimal opportunity for learning from them. Downward spiral.
Interestingly, via empathy/displacement, this can even be triggered by perceiving mistakes made by other competitors! There was a figure skating competition where a star couple got injured and had to withdraw from their retirement routine, much to the dismay of everyone in the room. From that moment, every competitor’s routine was marked by more and more errors.

Prevention orientation is highly sensitive to details, ravenously consumes information, and works hard to resolve ambiguity before moving on, immediately losing sight of their goal. With time, this might be optimal. But in some contexts, the game is moving on without you. Gain orientation marches toward the goal. You learn the most from feedback on your mistakes.
Just as consistency by definition reproduces the same results, growth and creativity require disinhibition and mistakes to learn from.

YOU CAN’T CONTROL YOUR EMOTIONAL STATE, YOU CAN CONTROL YOUR REACTION AND YOUR INTERPRETATION
Any emotion is amazing IF it is used/channeled as a motivator.
competitive fire cannot exist when the goal is to make it through the day.


anxiety is chemically identical to excitement. Competitors that interpret the raised stress as excitement have a performance boon.
Individuals have different zones of anxiety levels that are for them optimal. Might be low might be high, might be in between.

The mental states needed to compete are NOT necessarily
socially palatable
long-term sustainable
related to well being

perfectionism and intolerance for mistakes is essential during practice
reassurance and positivity has a negative correlation with success
(consider, a lottt of people say that their best performances ever were marked by being angry)
angry is better than fear, it’s a mental stimulant on the fight path (provided a distinction between anger and indignation)

visualization
german children learning english
asked to visualize the best possible scenario having learning english (parents are proud, talking with english rock band etc). Then half of the kids are asked to write a list of possible obstacles that might come up, the other half is not. The kids with visualization alone have a C average 16 weeks later. The kids with visualization and problem anticipation have an A average. 10 minutes of critical thought influenced learning over an entire semester.
visualization as a method to prepare for a scenerio is amazing, visualization as daydreaming is harmful. Which one is the motivator/stimulant to make a real change? If success is taken for granted then effort is inhibited.

an additive reaction says if only I had done _ then _, learning
a subtractive reaction says if only I hasn’t done _ then _, regret
additive thinking prompts improvement, subtractive prompts worse performance


Creative fields are not immune to competition as a motivator
rennaisance artists’s contracts usually said “better than ___”, mattise vs picasso, picasso vs braque, van gogh and gaugine, etc
paragone assisted in the invention of “the artist”
improv contests have much better results than improv demonstrations
in a general population, competition stifles or stimulates creativity and quality based on the individual. Children with high agency perform well in a competitive atmosphere, children with low agency suffer. This is not to say that agency is a cause of creativity, but it is a prerequisite.


Hormones

Testosterone is motivation.
The longer your ring finger vs your index finger, the higher your sensitivity to testosterone, due to hormone levels in the womb.
When present at higher levels in anticipation of a challenge, T crosses the blood brain barrier and stimulates the production of extra neurotransmitters.
It dampens fear response, makes brain more responsive to reward, risk reward calculation changes and becomes more accurate by removing the natural aversion to ambiguity.
In a test, T tablets boosted math scores by 9%.
This persists in both genders unless you bond with the competitor before or during competition (pairing response. Consider: Michael Jordan purposefully taunts the opposite team). This diffuses the testosterone response, as it reduces the desire to win.
It goes both ways. Heavy inertia. High motivation increases T production, high T count increases motivation.
Note: in a complex test where the goal wasn’t to win the game but something tertiary, testosterone tablets made people play /less/ aggressively. Aggression is not a symptom of high T unless it is appropriate. High T is high motivation.
Testosterone is derived from cholesterol using zinc (beans, whole grains) and fats.

Cortisol is necessary for metabolism and repair.
It is associated with a number of bad stuff like depression, high levels of anxiety and impaired learning. But it doesn’t cause stress, it is produced as a response to stress. Administered orally it explicitly calms you. Thus temporary spikes are good. Reduces fear and manages noradrenaline vs adrenaline ratio (flight vs fight).
Cortisol is the foil to T. It makes you care less about the outcome, able to forget about a mistake, and normalizes body chemistry.

Oxytocin, the love hormone
forges deep and enduring bonds, lasts a few minutes in the brain, found after childbirth/orgasm/a close hug.
It increases sensitivity to body language/expression/etc. It prompts a friend vs foe response, then the body follows suit. Love and aggression intertwined, fighting out of care.






Tuesday, July 19, 2016

Diet Notes

Notes on Diet etc
will expand with time


Omega-3s
Reaction time potential is more or less genetic/uniform.
You increase your in-game reaction time in two ways:
1) The brain uses fats in constructing nerve cells and animal fats are less good for this than plant fats, specifically omega-3s.
Fish oil is basically exactly what you want because it's just all the stuff that you want from algae already in the right form. Alternatively, Rapeseed oil or to a small extent virgin olive oil.
You have to keep in mind though that farmed fish and animals are a poor source of omega-3s because they are fed feed instead of grass/algae at which point they aren't a good middle-man for your omega-3s.
2) specifically training an automatic response to stimuli via reinforcing brain-paths.



Theanine:

green/black tea are natural sources of theanine and caffeine.
tastes disgusting lol

intake 45min to an hour before needed
2.5-5 hours halflife

caffeine increases choice reaction speed
theamine when paired with caffeine increases decision speed and reduces body/mental stress

more theanine than caffeine increases cognitive performance
less teamnine than caffeine does not but is still removes stress
(relative to just caffeine)

your body builds tolerance so you should only use it for performance and cycle off of it if effects weaken.

1 cup of tea is about 40mg of theamine and 40mg of caffeine which is slight increase, no real increase if you are tolerant to it.
pills are 200mg (to pair with 100 mg of caffeine) which is the upper limit of what is recommended as a supplement.



Friday, July 1, 2016

TMGOP Notes

The Mental Game of Poker
Jared Tendler

Read this book this week. It has some strong echos with my reading on cognitive therapy but applied to sports psychology. Should be noted that I've never played poker and just pulled what I thought was useful and interesting to think about. Highly recommend for reading and thinking over the implications.

- - -

raw notes:

Structure

Inchworm Model:
SF ruler analogy, moving a bell-curve range that represents your gameplay
Your decision making, good or bad, in game or mental, is all a related network. You improve the whole thing by improving any part.
“When players constantly learn new things while avoiding, ignoring, blocking out, or protecting weaknesses, their bell curve gets flatter and flatter. Weaknesses haven’t improved, so the back end doesn’t move." Moving the bottom up is a high priority.


The Adult Learning Model = 4 stages of competence
When tied to tilting, performance, and the inchworm model this has bigger repercussions than are at first apparent.
Flaws or bad habits are ingrained skills that you no longer want to have ingrained.
“Not Trusting Your Gut
You know the right play, but go against it. Why? It’s because you don’t trust the answer your gut spits out. This leads us to ask, 'What the hell is the gut?' If you don’t know what the gut is, it makes sense why you wouldn’t trust it. Essentially, the gut is skills at the level of Unconscious Competence reacting to the situation with an answer. It’s the mental version of an athletic reaction in sports.”

The Process Model, 6 Distinct Phases (4 when cleaned up).
CUT OUT ALL CROSSOVER. Any time or attention spent focussing on one process while in another dilutes from the mental task at hand. Humans can’t multitask well. Your objective is to complete these tasks well, so you have to design your process to remove multitasking and allow for sole focus on executing the task at hand well. Quality and depth.
Fleshed this out in Improved Drastic Improvement.

1. Preparation
Thoroughly and pragmatically working on the inchworm as informed by previous analysis.
When solving problems, make a list
order and fix by
* small to large
* most costly
* most often
* cause emotional turmoil
one at a time.
Raising the floor.

2. Warmup/Performance
Executing the tournament itself.
Warmup is: being ready to play full and well from GO!
Performance is: Playing each tournament set well.

3. Results (the measure of success)/Evaluation
(note, including this as a step in the greater process orientation allows you the best of both so you don’t get lost in self-pity or dodge coming to terms with results)
How did you do? How did you play on a scale from 1-10? How did was your mentality on a scale of 1-10? What did you execute especially well/badly? What was your enjoyment on a scale of 1-10?

4. Analysis
What were the problems? What are the solutions? What more is there going on here that you didn’t know or didn’t know how to solve? Take a magnifying glass to your game, both on the screen and in your brain.
Raising the ceiling.


Variance
melee is complicated enough that in the moment some things are effectively random (later, when reviewing and learning they aren’t, but in playing they are sufficiently). This is nice because I realize that I have an implicit expectation that everything can be anticipated because everything is a decision. While this is strictly true it is not sufficiently true. When performing, a fighting game has variance to account for in your mental and technical game.


a scrub will
  • abandon a winning strategy.
  • try to win every hand.
  • believe they can own another’s soul.
  • play more or less hands when up or down rather than play to the gamestate.
  • play badly/negligently when stakes are small.
  • believe that emotions are problems.
  • believe changing habits is as simple as “don’t do it.”
  • believe you should avoid situations that make you tilt.
  • believe visualizing winning is the key to winning.
  • believe that playing their A game is chance.
  • believe the mental game is esoteric and complex.
  • believe that solved problems are no longer problems. Mastery is a moving target and the world moves in circles.
a scrub is just someone with false beliefs/misunderstandings informing their actions. These false beliefs can and will come out if we don't correct them thoroughly all the way to unconscious competence in the 4 stages.


by hating mistakes you hate improving.

Playing perfect or even playing well are moving targets. As you improve, your old A game becomes your B game. It’s unrealistic to expect yourself to play at the top of your game constantly or even more often than not. That goes against the concept of a range. You will play well and you will play badly and that’s expected.
Remember, you’re mostly not a juggler but an orchestrator of ability and habit (via unconscious competence). Your mind will play things out according to your design. There’s no use in getting upset when you can’t micromanage every little thing in the middle of the tournament set because that’s a ridiculous expectation and contrary to how performance works.

"The greatest predictor of long-term success is learning and improving every day."
Learning must correspond with the four stages of competence or it is imaginary.



Goals/Motivation

Realistic planning makes plans a reality.
When you have a flawed understanding of the learning process, it means you also have a flawed understanding of how to achieve goals.

motivation
1st sentence: “Chances are you’ve come to this chapter looking for a way not to be lazy.” lmaooooooo
“Motivation is the emotion or energy behind achieving your goals. It’s the fuel used to accomplish them. If you’re lacking motivation, you either have problems with your goals or the energy you need to achieve them. Here are a few examples of goal problems:
  • You’re only after results, and have no process-oriented goals.
  • You have high expectations.
  • You have no short-term goals, only far-off ones.
  • You reach your goals and fail to set new ones.
  • You have too many goals.
  • You have many interests and can’t choose what you want.
  • You have underlying goals such as looking good, avoiding mistakes, or keeping up your win rate.
Motivation is a marathon, inspiration is a sprint
they can both be positive but you can’t rely on constant feed of inspiration to do your long-term work for you or the work doesn’t get done.

Laziness is a learned skill, it takes work to replace it with something. Write down your excuses for hanging back and reply with a rational retort.
"If you want to stop procrastinating, you first must eliminate the belief, 'there’s always tomorrow.' Today is when improvement happens, not just in your game but also in reducing procrastination. Today is your only opportunity to improve. Tomorrow is a fantasy."

“Now it feels good to see progress because I know I’m working hard for it. My goals now are much more about improving on a daily or weekly basis—realistic stepping stones. Before, when I started cash games I would say to myself, ‘I want to be playing $10/$20 in a year,’ but I wouldn’t have a process to get there. Now, I am on a path where I can take little steps to be better every day. “

results orientation doesn’t get at the meat of improvement and is confusing. Just trying to win friendlies or even trying to win by a bigger margin is the equivalent of just wanting to try hard. If you don’t know what it is you’re trying then that’s not improvement, that’s just throwing intensity at an undefined problem like the farmer that thinks that farming out his field is just as viable as researching crop rotation. Working harder without smarter (defined goals and method) is stupid.

High expectations or goals that are too far off both defeat the purpose of a goal: a challenge that regulates immediate change in your behavior to enable improvement.
Indecision/Too many goals. Undefined goals can’t be achieved. Multitasking is just as bad as not defining your goals because it diverts your attentiveness.
Goals that can’t be measured can’t be achieved.




Emotions

Emotions are not a problem. Playing emotionless is not just overly difficult but definitely suboptimal. Emotions are your warning signs, canaries in the coal mine, letting you know what's up as it comes up. They're fantastic opportunities if you learn to use them instead of get overwhelmed by them.

Brain is in a hierarchy of functions
1 automatic functions (heart rate etc)
2 unconscious, learned habits
3 emotional response
4 conscious response
when one layer is overwhelmed it shuts down anything below

meaning that if you go on tilt your brain shuts down your capacity to think clearly, leaving you to act out any unconscious behavior (both competent and not)
this is why looking at videos of you on tilt is so valuable. It’s pure you.

emotional response appears to accumulate translating to a lower threshold for same emotional response if not addressed.

frustration to anger
doubt to fear
confidence to big head or laziness

Injecting Logic:
 reclaiming rationality. This is a temporary fix that deals with the issue at hand and the symptomatic emotional response. This is ineffective in the moment if you are too emotional to think (does not apply to writing because writing externalizes it to some degree, but obv cannot write during tournament).
1. recognition, responses are patterns and can be recognized earlier with awareness. To practice, set an alarm or time-measurement (maybe, when a song changes). At this point, check for your emotional state
2. return to breath, mediates the brain (in game equivalent = “what is the gamestate?”)
3. think of the rational retort.
4. if a repeating issue, in game solution is probably also repeating and you can just remind yourself of what that solution is

If out of game I prefer the cognitive therapy 3 column method
1. Write down unmediated thoughts and feelings regarding the emotion
2. What distortions are present
3. Rational retort. What is the actual issue that prompts your response and how do we address it pragmatically?

anger = conflict = disagreement. What are you disagreeing with and what is the in-game solution?
“I would get frustrated when players 3-bet me in position with hands they should not be playing. I would overplay my hands, and get really tilted at how they were playing. It was my weakest area, and I knew I wasn’t playing well, but couldn’t wrap my head around it. Jared laughed and asked, ‘So your opponents are not allowed to play in a way that puts you at your weakest?’ Seeing it in that context made me realize instantly that my emotional reaction was trying to protect my greatest weakness.”


Defending yourself with moralist claims is nothing more than trying to hide your mental and technical weaknesses from exposure.
but when recognized they are great opportunities to correct weaknesses that could have otherwise gone unnoticed.


Entitlement tilt, when you believe that you deserve something regardless of the gamestate. Believing that the better player, the harder worker, the smarter read, the veteran, or whatever else you think that you are deserves to win is a) silly and b) entitlement. There’s some amount of variance, you can always fall back on your low range with negligence, and you probably aren’t what you think you are in a heated moment.
overconfidence (like all tilt) means that you believe something about yourself or the game that is false.

Revenge tilt, particularly when percieving a lack of respect.
They’re just smashers. They’re doing what they know to do. You can’t control their behavior, just your reactions. Use that as an opportunity to buckle down and conquer their strategy completely.

Desperation tilt, the urge to do whatever it takes to win immediately except for play smart and patient. You don’t want to play, you want to win and win now. Hbox is the clutchest player because he’s so good about using this as a reminder to stay sharp rather than allowing it to cloud his mind.

Certainty is the antidote to anxiety/fear. What /do/ you know?
“Players with high expectations fear failure because they haven’t learned how to use failure to help them succeed.”

Boredom is a cue that you should pick something to work on, even if it’s something small (spacing a particular move, followup out of crouch, etc). It will be helpful to have a list for this occasion. Replace situations that are boring. Play with a player that is better than you or that you can brainstorm etc with together. Why waste your time being miserable/unengaged if you can get more benefit by making a change?

hold yourself accountable.
before you sit down, have a goal.
after you get up, review your progress and your discipline.
rate yourself 1-10 on gameplay and mindset.
This is easy, not hard, and makes a huge difference in the quality of the time spent.

Confidence is an unreliable measure of skill for two reasons:
Underlying flaws in your mental game create inaccurate feelings about the quality of your game.
Players cherry-pick results to form the foundation of their confidence.
you can win and play badly. you can lose and play well.
This applies to over and under confidence.
Overconfidence breeds lazy play and too-high-risk play. Underconfidence breeds lethargy and lack of engagement.

Your potential is what you believe you’re capable of achieving. Your actual skill or results is what you have already achieved.

Stable Confidence is an appropriate energy level and trust in your own capacity that does not swing with variance. It enables us to perform at a high level. It is best achieved with practiced focus and accurate understanding of our gameplay as a process. We know what we can do because we have worked on it all specifically and with a fuller engagement. We don’t know the results, we don’t know the other player’s skill, nor do we need to. We know what we can do and we’ve practiced doing it.