Before everything, let me give you some background about me. I started playing rhythm game mania type mostly around 2008 and have been playing on and off until now. Now from my years of playing, some might think my skill level is that of a god, but sadly no my genetics are not that good and I wasted more than half of my experience with bad approach. I would fit in as an above average player hehe confident bastard. Anyway first I’ll be explaining bad approaches I did and what I should’ve done instead.
First one was no pain no gain. Back then when I first played o2jam one common answer I would hear from people was. The more you play the faster you’ll get better, Play hard songs until you can and if it starts to hurt go further it’s where the magic happens. Being the clueless kid, those sounded like the universal truth. So I played nonstop everyday, I would often get discomfort from my wrist and finger from extreme burning sensation to sharp pain. But hey guess what it worked, but this is mainly because of age and being a complete newbie. Learning how to press certain pattern is easy one could start from scratch and by the end of the year S rank some lvl 40s or up and being a kid with high neuroplasticity expect even better results.
Now this advice for me is complete garbage. While it’s normal to see improvements within a gaming session, it is actually not. From the start of the day you already have this capabilities and what made your score higher than your previous try was actually you tweaking your approach towards a song. From testing out different position, pressing late or earlier, relying more on hearing and less visual timing reliance. It’s just you experimenting on what you can push with what you currently have. Improvement happens after you played and rest as your body and brain sort things out and repair. This is why I like taking a few days or a week to completely feel refresh.
Second one was not understanding skill sets are and how to isolate them. Before I would just play songs I enjoy and expect to improve overall. One cannot improve on trills (Alternates) by endlessly playing 8 bit chords or spam songs and vice versa. Certain skillset can get carried over to other, but the best way is just to improve in all of it. Trills will be your foundation for speed and chords (8th measure with two or more notes) your foundation to being good at patterns. Personally I’m bad at trills my right could effortlessly do an extremely slow one up to 170bpm 16ths (consider your slowest trill your level usually your ring-middle finger) but my left one has a sloppy timing and speed at 110bpm 16ths. This is usually my limit as soon as a long continuous pattern containing principles of trilling on left side. All I can do is overcompensate by using wrist motion or spam it off and that approach itself is a bad habit as it instantly tenses up my wrist.
Now there are a lot of ways to train but to train effectively is different. You could abuse note editing and make your own song containing patterns you like to refine or find songs that is awkward for you and master it, but then start slow and work your way up. It’s all about perfect relaxed motion not jagged movement. Develop good form and technique and your progress will be smooth. If you can press things endlessly with ease without any tension then you have a good technique. Even at fast songs when there are pattern that you are good at even at high bpm those could even be your window to relax and ease up so once hard part comes in you have the speed and energy to burst it off. Playing is like riding a wave not flexing till the end. In the end this is just mechanics on how things go and by the end of the day only you can honestly judge yourself on where you are and what you need.
Now there are still things I might’ve missed or you’re curious about don’t be shy to ask. I love questions but give me time to think about it. Also if you have any tips or suggestion feel free to share yours.