Before you start, you have to accept a few base assumptions.
* In a game, “skill” is just your ability to execute winning tactics/strategy.
* In this context, “improvement” is synonymous with “learning skills.”
* Skill acquisition is a function of the accumulation of focus-intensive work, not directly of time.
Remember the Four Stages of Competence? It works nicely with these.
It, integrated as a cyclical model found in Improved Drastic Improvement, is the best methodology known to me. At its heart, this model simply asks that you:
* Identify a problem.
* Identify the solution.
* Practice the solution until it’s in your unconscious.
Over time these correct solutions accumulate to form your unconscious gameplan. Each skill as learned individually measurably contributes to your results, ideally building on one another to create a juggernaut. With enough of the curated skills worked to the unconscious level, winning is inevitable.
But what does this process actually look like?
As of now, I think it’s best manifested in the following manner.
1) Record a (netplay/tournament/seriouslies) set.
2) Immediately break and identify the ONE most important lapse in your execution/strategy.
3) Identify the best tournament-viable solution to that lapse.
4) Practice executing this solution until it’s locked into your unconscious.
I’m sure that sounds a bit repetitive at this point, but in the past year or two the increase in popularity and infrastructure within the community has created a thriving netplay scene. Because you can record the equivalent of a tournament set vs a worthy human opponent at will it is now PRACTICAL to use the above model as your primary way to play, not just to color or elaborate on infinite friendlies. A like-minded friend that is able and willing to go through this process with you is obviously still a godlike asset, but it is a boon that this very rare kind of individual is no longer a requirement to go through it.
Before closing, I would like to make a few points.
* Working on exactly one issue at a time allows you to focus harder on it, increasing the efficacy of your practice.
* This issue could be technical/strategical/mental/health/attentional/etc. Anything that is an issue is an issue.
* Some issues might be completely solved in a matter of minutes, hours, or weeks. It might take some studying with debug mode, google, another smasher, or even a book to find the best possible solution for you. Who knows?
* The most effective practice with the smallest time commitment is two or three half-hour sessions spread throughout the day. Remember, intensity of focus is more important than time spent.
* What you choose to prioritize and what you honestly believe is the best solution will culminate into your personal style. It’s silly to worry about that because it will happen naturally.