I've been training my aim intensively over the last 4-6 weeks and I'm noticing some things that made my aim terrible. They might be making your aim terrible too, especially if you're stuck in lower elos.
Let's start with the obvious ones.
1. Your Sens Is Wrong.
There are a ton of good guides (
) on this so I won't spend too much time on it. Overwatch default sensitivity is too high, and your computer's DPI is too. While a player's ideal varies person-to-person, a good starting point for tweaking is DPI 800, OW sens of 6. If you like playing scoped characters, make sure your relative sens while zoomed is set to mirror your hip fire sens. Fix your sens and I guarantee you, once you get used to it, your accuracy will go up significantly.
2. Your Gaming Station is Set Up Poorly.
Your chair, desk and mouse/ mousepad need to be set up properly for optimal aiming position. There are some great guides on this (I'm looking for a specific one I saw the other day and will add it as soon as I find it), so I'll just cover some basics here. You want your arm lined up so that your elbow hangs more or less straight down, with your elbow making about a 90 degree angle with your forearm. If your chair is too low or your desk is too high, your arm will be too high resulting in awkward arm position and inefficient movements. I've improved my aim dramatically by moving my armrest out of the way — it was too high and too wide, and caused a lot of resistance and weird positions when I tried to make certain movements.
Ultimately, aiming movements should feel smooth and natural. If your station is set up wrong, you'll not only be setting yourself up to miss, but you'll also be setting yourself up for some serious pain and possibly injury.
Another culprit in bad aim is using the wrong mouse and mousepad. A mouse that doesn't fit your hand comfortably or lend itself to a good grip will make things harder for you. There's a whole subreddit dedicated to mouse reviews at r/MouseReview. I messed with my partner's ergonomic mouse for a while and it was kind of beautiful. For the moment I'm happy with my Logitech G702.
As for mousepads, I played without a mousepad for my first year and it definitely made my aim worse. A lot of mousepads are also too small for the range of motion you need for good aim, or made of the wrong material. There's good stuff on this on MouseReview as well, as well as on the web.
3. You Don't Practice.
Some people argue that playing the game is practice enough. There's some truth to this — drills are not a substitute for in-game practice. But in-game practice is limited in how much it can help you refine your technique. There's so much going on in Overwatch that it's hard to focus on and pay attention to specific aspects of your aim. There are two other ways to practice that also have value. For starters, get an aim game!! There are free ones like 3DAimTrainer.com, and paid ones like Kovaak. Personally I love Kovaak as do a lot of people on this thread. You can also play custom games like Ana Paintball, PMA's improved practice range (great for practicing against Pharrahs and Pharmacies), and more advanced ones like Widow HS.
If you're not practicing consistently, you're going to make little to no progress.
Now let's get into a bit more nuance.
4. Your Posture is Bad or Inconsistent.
When I start missing in practice, the first thing I do is check my posture. Usually I'm leaning forward. Leaning forward puts more pressure on my arm and makes my movements more constrained. Sitting upright, supporting my spine and my breath, helps me keep my positioning consistent and reduces shoulder and back pain. One key to better posture: Your chair should be high enough that your hips are slightly higher than your knees. There are lots of methods out there to improve posture that will bring benefits both in game and in the rest of your life. I personally like
5. You're Wasting Motion.
Tim Duncan, NBA all-time great, was famous for his efficiency. He wasn't flashy or lightning quick, but he could score 20 points a night because he never wasted his movements. If you're missing a lot or struggling with inconsistent movement in your aiming, chances are you're moving different parts of your arm too much. My biggest culprit in this is lifting my elbow, a bat habit I picked up using my armrest. (Sometimes flaring out your elbow is necessary, e.g., when you're tracking and getting farther out in your range of motion, or if you use a super low sens that requires it, but I'll leave that debate to better aimers than me.).
One of the keys to good aim is Mouse Control. Erratic, twitchy, and exaggerated movements kill your mouse control, even if they give you the illusion of speed. Good, fast aiming comes from smooth, controlled movements (this may be less true of flicking, but most of us are not gifted, lightning-fast flick-aimers anyway).
6. You're Harboring Unnatural Movements.
The cousin of wasted motion is unnatural movement. If your mouse control is not consistent and smooth in all directions, chances are there's something in your technique that's forcing you into unnatural movements, or into arm positions that make it hard to change directions smoothly. In my case, I'm working through some issues moving down and to the right, and to a lesser extent to the left. The interaction between your elbows, wrists and lat muscles might be a culprit here. If you notice your body feeling constrained or twisted while you play or practice, take a moment to notice what's happening and then try out a more natural-feeling motion.
6. You're Practicing Wrong.
Again?! Yup. Practice is itself a practice. I've been playing music for over 30 years and practice is its own joy, and the better you practice, the more you improve. Lots of people waste their practice time by practicing the wrong things, the wrong way. I could probably write a whole post just on this, but I'll keep it short.
- You might be practicing drills that don't help you. Aimer7, an elite Kovaak player, has an awesome guide on this, and a lot of great stuff about aiming basics. I highly recommend it.
- You might be reinforcing bad habits. For example, if you're practicing click timing, you might be trying too hard to aim fast and not enough on smooth, controlled movement. (sometimes it's appropriate to focus on speed, just not in the specific example I have in mind.) Focusing your attention on the right things is one of the keys to good practice.
- You might be practicing too much. Practicing too much can reinforce bad habits and lead to fatigue and injury. Also, sleep and recovery are critical parts of practice (take it from a climber with tendinitis!) — your brain uses this time to integrate what your body is learning. That's why sometimes you go away from something for a while and come back somehow better.
- You might be tryharding. Someone on r/FPSAimTrainer gave great advice to listen to relaxing music while practicing and not focusing on getting high scores. When I constantly look at my scores and push myself while playing Kovaak, I do worse then when I just chill out and stay centered.
7. You're Not Accounting for Movement in Your Aiming.
Usually when you're trying to hit a target, you're strafing and so are they. This makes accuracy way harder, and if you're not paying attention to how you and your target are moving, your aim will be all over the place. ioStux has a
on this, along with a bunch of other guides I've been meaning to go through myself.
8. You're Tensing Up and Losing Awareness of Your Body.
My body sometimes reflexively sabotages me while I'm aiming. My thumb or pinky might drag on my mousepad in an effort to make micro-corrections. I might suddenly notice I'm bending my wrist or exerting my fingers in order to fix larger movement problems (some aimers do use their wrists and fingers in order to make fine adjustments. I'm planning to explore that more once my fundamentals are more solid.) A big tell for me is if I'm practicing tracking and my pointer gets tired — it means I'm gripping my mouse too hard, which can mess up my mouse control. Leaning forward, as mentioned above, is another example of tensing up. This usually happens when…
9. You're Tunnel Visioning.
Tunnel visioning is a bad habit in general — in addition to messing with your aim, it can lead you to lose awareness of your surroundings and get punished by the enemy team. In this case, tunnel visioning can lead you to overexert yourself while aiming, resulting in movements different from what you've practice. Tunnel visioning also makes you less likely to notice when you start tensing up or making unnatural movements when you're aiming. A great way to avoid tunnel-visioning is to focus on your breath and your posture. Meditation is a great way to practice this.
10. You're Letting Yourself Get Too Excited.
This is sort of a cousin to tunnel visioning. It's one thing to practice aiming in a controlled aim environment without competing stimulus. It's another thing to apply what I'm practicing when people are shooting at me, teammates and opponents are moving all over the place, and you have to react in split-second timing. When I get excited, I start overcorrecting my aim and moving away from the smooth, controlled movements and easy tracking I've been developing in practice. I'm willing to bet you do too.
Bonus Spinal Tap 11: Your Mouse Grip is Inconsistent.
Find a grip that feels natural to you in different positions and movements and practice using it consistently. There are a couple of well-known grip types like palm grip and claw grip. Here's
I found that helped me hone my grip. I use a bit of a hybrid with a goal of keeping my wrist and my hand in an unbroken line — that's a habit I picked up from playing piano, where bad wrist angles will screw up your playing and hurt you in the process.
- I'm not an elite aimer, so please don't take my suggestions as expert advice. I'm sharing what I'm learning as I'm learning it in the hopes it will help others who struggle with the same things .
- Please feel free to disagree! This is a first draft and I am happy for feedback, suggestions and additional resources.
- There are a TON of great guides and resource communities out there on different facets of aim, and by no means is this one intended as definitive. In this post I'm trying to point out both some obvious ones and some more subtle ones that I haven't seen talked about.
What works for you? What are some bad aiming habits you've picked up or shed that have affected your performance? What are your go-to's when you start missing? How do you get the most out of your practice? Looking forward to folks' reactions and thoughts!
- When to switch sensitivity ( Widow )
- I have a problem with tensing, and not breathing while I play.
- 1000 Kovaaks Hrs… Was it worth it for Fortnite?
More about OverwatchPost: "10 Reasons Your Aim Sucks (Worse Than Mine)" specifically for the game Overwatch. Other useful information about this game:
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