If you've ever watched pro gamers Dizzy or Ninja pop off an entire squad with 3 bullets, you've probably been left asking yourself, how in the world did these guys get so good? Obviously, they had to start somewhere, at one point they were just like you, missing 80% of their shots, and struggling just to survive. How can you improve the most vital aspect of any FPS game? The same way the pro gamers do, that is through practice, discipline, and purpose.
It isn't enough simply to play countless hours of a game. Sure that will get you more familiar with your playing style, but it won't get you aiming like Dizzy and Ninja. What you need are the essential skills to learn, practice, and implement into your game. It is a simple 3 step process which bridges the gap between a pro gamer and an amateur. Learn, Practice, Implement. In this article, I'm going to give you 6 drills that will help you learn, practice, and implement the essential skills to bridge the skill gap between you and the champions of Apex Legends.
The first thing you should familiarize yourself with in Apex Legends is the Practice mode. Above the "Ready" button in the bottom left-hand corner, you will see a button that says "Play Apex", click on that and switch it to the alternative Practice setting.
This mode is your source of improvement. After the first couple of tutorials, which take about 30 seconds or so, you'll be gifted with a shooting range. This beautiful array of targets is where you will make all of your progress. It's important to note that because Apex Legends is a battle royal, there aren't the constant gun battles which are common among most FPS games. Thus, the necessity to practice specific drills in an environment where you can relax and implement good habits is even more important. The following drills will get you shooting like a pro in no time.
How to Practice
The most important habit you can implement is this, no unnecessary movements. That means that you are only making the absolute necessary movements to make your shot happen. Don't get stuck in the common panic adjustments which most players experience. Practice implementing a purposefulness to your movements, regardless of your platform.
You want to make sure you are attentive and engaged in the practice, or else you aren't learning anything. Set a timer for 5 – 8 minutes per drill, and try to focus for the duration of the time. It's important not to set the timer for too long because you may lose focus and implement bad aiming habits. The point of practice is to make things perfect.
Drill #1: Headshots
Aim for the head, always. Grab a gun, set a timer, and aim for the head. There are 6 dummies in front of each gun type. Practice moving back and forth through the dummies, aiming for headshots every time. The goal here is to make it through every dummy in front of you without missing a single shot. If you can confidently take out all 6 consistently, you know you're implementing good aiming habits.
Drill #2: Strafing While Aiming
It's all well and good to be able to stand in one spot and hit your target, but in a real match, this isn't going to be the case. You are going to be moving, jumping and sliding around, and you need to be able to maintain your aim. For this drill, pick on of the dummies and strafe back and for while keeping your reticle on the dummy's head. The closer and more steady you can keep your reticle the better. This is one of the most important drills, you need to be able to maintain your aim while strafing back and forth. This gives you a huge advantage over your opponents who will most likely not practiced this specific skill and thus have far less accurate shots than you, you soon to be pro aimer.
Drill #3: Strafing With Headshots
Now that we've practiced headshots and strafing, let's combine the two into one drill. In this drill, you are going to be strafing left and right while taking out the dummies with headshots. The goal here is to take out all 6 in front of you, consistently, only with headshots. Combining these to micro-habits can improve the chances of winning gunfights dramatically. Set that timer and let's get to work.
Drill #4: Medium Distance Kickback Control
Kickback is a killer. For this drill, you are going to be aiming at a medium range target and trying to get a full clip off without missing a shot. You'll notice that your damage counter will reset if you miss your target. I recommend grabbing a light machine gun with a heavy kickback to maximize your progress. Being able to control the kickback of your gun is another essential micro-habit.
Drill #5: Long Distance Moving Targets
This is not an uncommon real match situation here, you might have an opposing legend raising across the Artillery early match and you need to be able to gun them down before they grab a gun. This is the drill for that situation. Pick one of the long-range targets that are moving and try to unload a full clip without missing a shot. I highly recommend using single shot mode if your gun has it, or using quick bursts instead of holding down the trigger in order to control kickback. Remember to use a timer and focus!
Drill #6: The Ultimate Test
If you can do this, you've improved! Try and hit every single target, moving from left to right, without missing a single shot, or headshot if it's on a dummy. If you can get to the points where you are confident with this drill, you've got some serious aiming skills. The Ultimate Test is ideally performed with a stopwatch (not a timer). Start the stopwatch before you go and end it as soon as you finish successfully. Use this time to track your progress, the shorter the time, the better your aiming skills are becoming!
The last step in your aiming practice is implementation. This step is arguably the most important because it doesn't matter if you have the greatest practice habits in the world if you can't perform in a real match. In order to implement your practice habits, you must consciously decide to act in accordance with your practice habits. What I mean is you must play with a focus on maintaining your cool and using your new found skills, even when the match gets heated. This might mean taking a step back and going into games with the focus being on implementing your habits, not winning. But don't fret, this brief setback is in the name of countless future wins.
Use your phone or your watch, set that timer, and practice for a little while before each gaming session. A little bit of attention and focus every day adds up quick. If you practice for 15 minutes a day, in a few months you'll have gained dozens of hours of experience aiming like a pro. It's only a matter of time before you start seeing this screen all day.