Since compiling this document some years ago I've personally outgrown it. I'll leave it up 'cause it might be useful to some people to explore but rather than referring to this list I think your time would be better spent reviewing:
1) my blog posts because they have all the best info taken out and condensed into transferable models
2), the application of MAC is a lifechanger
3) Anders Ericsson's Deliberate Practice, the foundational document against which ideas about elite performance should be modeled and understood.
If that info is overly abstract or difficult then I'd recommend working out a deal with me for a coaching session. With some information regarding context I can delineate the relevant principles on a personal level.
End caveat.]

* Intro
* Mentality Resources
* Fighting Game Resources
* Practicing
* Tech resources

- - -

This is not very light reading. These resources will give you hints over time depending what you're receptive to. The function of many of these resources is to change how you think, now what you memorize.

Always take everything with a grain of salt.
Some advice from some people at some time will be amazing for you. Other advice will be horrible. Some of it won’t be relevant to the game or character that you play. You'll have to figure that out for yourself.

The most important thing is to teach yourself how to learn. You should pick up a resource and question it. Is this useful? Does this fit my needs? Is this the best conceivable way to improve myself? If not what would be? This is a good practice in and out of smash. Teach yourself to teach yourself!
Part of the usefulness of reading (and of writing/blogging) is to put words to everything, even obvious things. It will help you chunk complex abstract concepts into manageable principles that you can apply in and out of game. In this way, the development of your skill can correspond to your development as a person, and that's the beauty of being a competitor.

While improving keep in mind:

With Strategy Comes Execution
It doesn't matter how smart you are if you can't execute your strategies. The second component to every good tactic is its execution.
You want to take what you learn conceptually and apply it, turn it into a reality. Practice until it's in your blood. Then you can say you've learned it.
While this is 100% simply a matter of practice no one takes this (or their practice) seriously and it is in large part why it takes most players years to even get decent.

To Get It You Need To Want It
Everyone in the midwest knows that we have to drive two, three, or four times as far as anyone else to find a good player. Instead of complain about it you should take it for granted, get a job, travel, develop ways to get good practice on your own or with bad local players, whatever it is that you have to do.
If you want to get good at smash enough to find ways to travel then you will. If you don’t then you won’t. Either way is ok but complaining about your situation but not actively changing it is not ok.

Other resources that other people tend to like:

Playing to Win

Conquering your need to lose

- - - 

and the attached followups

OMG Footsies

Footsies in Context plus the following vid

Moves are the punctuation grammatically demanded by movement/positioning phrases.

Moves are the punctuation grammatically demanded by movement/positioning phrases.

Moves are the punctuation grammatically demanded by movement/positioning phrases.

Moves are the punctuation grammatically demanded by movement/positioning phrases.

Moments of Opportunity

What is solving for a MU problem?

(why mango lands stupid-looking things that you can’t. Hint: he has context and you don’t.)

(keeping track of key moments)

My Neverending Brainstorm (by kirbykaze, intro to teams and some other things)

Compete Complete & Eskimo Sister (writing blogs by wobbles)

search a keyword, posts by umbreon, kirbykaze, dr. peepee
much of the rest is garbage.
But make sure to review frame data and skim MUs for ideas.

Everything that I write is gold.

- - -

clowsui on using 20xx
Do Not Autopilot. Do not just mindlessly beat up a CPU. Practice your techskill with a mind for techskill, practice specific followups with a mind for specific followups or don’t practice at all.

FGC players do reps, they grind combos until they can’t drop them.
Because of DI this is sometimes not possible in the same way for melee (other times it is) but you can still practice effectively. Execution is still of primary importance.

Consider inventing exercises such as the following
Gravy on how to set up frame counter in 20XX

Fly on consistency with 1 frame inputs

Always practice with in-game applications in mind and be very careful not to develop bad habits or strategies.

- - -

TECH RESOURCES (search melee vids by player/MU)

Various Statistics

Kadano's analog stick input output maps

Kadano on modding your controller for better backdashes/shielddrops
Additionally I have little notches at 19 degrees down from horizontal for full wavedash and I cut maybe 25% off of the springs in my triggers to lessen their resistance (cut too much and you'll ruin them. The spring won't have enough force to return to no shield and you'll perpetually lightshield.)

Debug Mode Overview

Debug Mode Commands

arc on pivots

Gravy on Movement

Gravy on techchasing



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  2. After skimming through this blog post, I think I do not want to get good at competitive video games anymore. All of this stuff is too much of a headache for me.

  3. Okay, so I've had some time to reflect since my last post, and I think I might still like to try to get good at Melee or whatever other game tickles my fancy. It's just that it can be a bit dizzying & discouraging when you find out everything that you need to know to get good.

    Thank you for making this post, Alex. It's very well-written, and you know what you're talking about (which is a rarity among people that talk about things).

    1. I don't think that you /need/ to know anything specific to get good, let alone enjoy competing. Rather, some things at some times can help reduce or avoid road blocks.