The Professional Gamers Guide To Lighting Fast Reflexes

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The bomb has been planted. 

You are the last player alive, facing down the whole enemy team. With an adrenaline kick, one empty magazine, three enemies dead with lightning-fast flicks and you draw out your pistol to finish off the last poor guy in seconds who is already shaken over your inhuman performance. Even after you officially win the round, you can not believe what you have done there in the blink of an eye. 

For you, the hardcore and competitive gamers, this is called “reflex”.

What Are Reflexes?

By definition though, a reflex is an “involuntary and nearly instantaneous movement in response to a stimulus”. The reflex is an automatic response to a stimulus that does not receive or need conscious thought (Source: https://www.physio-pedia.com/Reflexes). The simplest example of a reflex is when a doctor hits your knee with a small hammer and your leg kicks out right away. We do not kick out consciously or do not even think about it, but it still happens anyway. That’s how reflexes work in general. 

For competitive gaming, we have a slightly different formula.

In competitive gaming, what seems like a “reflex” is actually the “reaction time” of our brain. The speed of our neural connections for motor skills that expand from our central nervous system to our hands.

We do not make “involuntary” movements, but what seems instant or involuntary is the brain getting used to certainly expected stimulus and reacting to them since this expectation creates a state of readiness to execute the premeditated action.

At Esports Labs, our mission is to help you achieve optimized mental readiness and maintain it throughout the competition, giving you the edge you need to overpower your opponents.

Why Reflexes Are Important For Competitive Gaming?

We all remember some insane, mind breaking plays performed by the most famous professionals. Some of them are still as vivid as yesterday’s memories. While some of those plays are a result of the huge experience that comes with years of competition, a few of them are actually happening thanks to inhuman levels of reflexes.

Check this out: Inhuman flick shot by Hiko

Oh. My. God. It does not matter if you have two years in gaming or twenty, these kinds of moves are not just explainable with experience or how “warmed up” you are. Watch carefully, as the players featured in this video are two legendary CS:GO players Hiko and GeT_RiGhT. This happened in a tournament. Until GeT_RiGhT shoots the second bullet approximately 0.3s later than the first one, Hiko’s brain perceives the first gunshot, processes the distance, direction, potential position and commands his hand to flick the mouse and shoot a bullet into his opponent’s head. There are two components in this movement – reaction time of the brain and trained reflexes of the body. This is entirely genuine, and within human capability. This means only one thing.

You CAN do this too.

Such success surely requires thorough and extensive hard work in all cases, and the change definitely does not come overnight. On the bright side, you get to land such shots (or do anything equivalent in your own game) more and more frequently as you improve yourself. Once you get to know how to pull the trick, it comes down to how well-trained you are mentally, and how ready your body is to repeat the same trained pattern without hesitation or fear. To keep your body entirely ready for a battle, remember this one rule below.

You are only as strong as your weakest link in the chain.

What does it mean? Imagine you are about to have a football match. Weather is nice, the pitch is smooth, you have good equipment to provide good control over terrain and the ball, you have been training for weeks, you have already studied your opponent’s game many times, but you are sleepy and suffering a hangover because of a very close friend’s birthday party last night. With that immense mental fatigue, sleep deprivation and extra slow reflexes due to lingering effects of alcohol, you can hardly catch half of the passes from your teammates like you normally do. This weak link in your chain causes you to lose regardless of how many other factors are actually in place.

For this reason, just like any other element in your gameplay, razor-sharp reflexes are very important especially in high-tempo competitive games like Valorant, CS:GO, PUBG, Fortnite, Overwatch, League of Legends, Dota 2 and many more. Since we know what reflexes are and why they are important in competitive gaming, now it is time to learn how to improve them in different steps from the professional gaming optimization team at Esports Labs.

How To Develop, Improve And Maintain Good Reflexes

  1. Exercise – Beast’s Prowess

When people hear the word “exercise” it usually reminds them about some either boring or hardcore workout routines. The reality is, exercise never has to be boring or too hard. On the contrary, there is a very simple way to combine generic exercise and reflex training.

How? A very easy-access method for this purpose is running or jogging a nature trail

The logic behind this “as simple as it could get” method is also quite simple. Uneven terrain causes your body to perceive a state of imbalance under your feet. Since reflexes are the autonomous layer of motion-based protection for our body, all sorts of dangers that involve a sense of “falling” causes our brain to activate the reflexes in order to maintain balance. When you run a nature trail, you will constantly be stimulating your brain about the potential loss of balance due to the uneven structure of the terrain you step on.

As much as it may sound too simple, simplicity is the key for best foundations. Besides, running for around 20-30 minutes a day has immense health benefits that cover all aspects of our lives so you can not go with this. Both your body and your mind will benefit from this habit greatly. Just make sure to start slow on uneven terrain, so you can avoid injuries. In time, you can surely get faster and this will also increase the difficulty for your brain to process these reflexes – thus making them sharper (https://www.wikihow.com/Improve-Your-Reflexes).

Before we step towards the next item on our list, we got our hardcore competitive readers covered too. Here is the top-tier exercise type that will transform your life entirely.

Martial arts.

Regardless of having a sparring partner, you can always have some simple equipment to train on your own and keep your nervous system up to the challenge. The discipline, mental development, all-around physical improvement and many more benefits are packed into “one single punch”.

A very famous motto of Navy Seals says “You do not rise to the challenge, you sink to the level of your training”. If nothing else makes sense, this motto should.

  1. Meditation – Predator’s Focus

Again, another overlooked and misunderstood activity that is unbelievably beneficial for every human being on the planet. While the conventional marketing methods mostly sugar-coat it like something very niche for just spiritual people, meditation is actually a great method to optimize your mental prowess.

For competitive gaming, we get much more than we actually bargain for.

First of all, it is no surprise that competitive gaming is a heavily tiring activity for our minds. Compared to traditional sports, our bodily efforts are mostly restricted to our senses and hands, yet our mind is constantly working like a beast to keep up with ongoing challenges. Therefore, cleansing our minds of distractions, negativity, tiring and exhausting thoughts and emotions is a natural refreshment. This alone helps us focus much more sharply, and needless to say that is a huge edge over any competition.

To follow, there is a scientific research that suggests reaction time is improved via meditation. Along with other benefits like calmness and awareness, meditation is proven to improve reaction times.[1][2] Remember how many times you missed a win just because you were slightly slower than what it takes to react on time. Even a 0.1s difference can be vital. With a clear mind, you will be able to focus easier and maintain your focus for much longer. When your opponents will be falling behind of the tempo and making mistakes, you will rise victorious thanks to your superior mental endurance and utmost precision.

Another serious matter in competition is the stability of your mindset. Most people start a day in a fresh mood, full of focus for a victory. As the competition goes on, unexpected issues may come up and lead to a demoralizing result. At this point, professional minds are easily distinguished from the amateur minds with this one specific factor: Resistance to being tilted. When you are tilted, your mind and body is taken over by your emotional reactions. Emotional outbursts are never good in life but especially in gaming. you lose precision of your actions and decisions. You lose focus, start making more mistakes and eventually snowball into a very sad defeat.

With meditation, you will have a stronger and more stable mind to maintain your emotions as you will get to know them in a much closer perspective. That is the reason that people who meditate are much calmer, and in control of their lives. They know better than letting out emotions right away, and they manage their situations to ultimate victory a lot better than anyone else with a weak mindset.

Victory is first achieved in mind. Later comes the action plan.

  1. Sleep – State Of Readiness

Alongside meditation, another total refreshment method is a good sleep. This one can not be stressed enough, as sleep is the prime regulator of our bodies and minds. We all know how bad our day is when we wake up without enough sleep. Restless mind constantly distracts us with unpleasant feelings, our strength fails, our reactions are slower and our patience is depleted at the first sign of trouble.

With a good night’s sleep, first of all you wake up with a much clearer and a peaceful mind. This situation alone helps you to plan your day effectively and carry out your plans one after another without a loss of balance during the day. Your hormones will be working properly and optimizing your body to perform at the top level.

Scientific research also suggests that sleep is immensely effective on reaction time, more so than any other factor! While physical power is not that hugely affected by sleep deprivation, cognitive resolution is immediately seeing serious drawbacks when a person does not have a good night’s sleep.[3][4] With this information, we also need to discuss another matter – sleeping issues.

Some people suffer a regular sleep disorder, and this should be always consulted with related physicians for best treatment. Though if you are only suffering a lack of sleep quality which is not a regular matter that affects your life, but only a matter of careful planning of the day, here are some advice for you to improve your sleep quality.

First of all, meditation also comes into play here. Even as short as 10 minutes of meditation after waking up and before going to bed is hugely effective on a person’s sleep quality. A clear and refreshed mind will help both falling asleep and maintaining a more peaceful sleep throughout the night.

Another point to be careful about is the timing and content of nutrition. While morning and noon meals are usually not very effective on sleep, evening and night times are relatively critical. Heavy, fatty food during these times or drinks with caffeine and/or various stimulants are definitely going to have a bad effect on your sleep. Switching to more natural, healthy food is also very helpful if your diet consists of mostly junk food. This also affects your physical performance on a regular basis and helps the exercise routine immensely. 

Last but not least, it is no surprise that you will need to sacrifice some late night entertainment to achieve a healthy sleeping cycle. Constant or frequent nights out with friends, full-night binge watching on Netflix, scrolling social media because you can’t sleep or even excessive training for your game should be diminished if you care about performance . If you can’t sleep, you can’t wake up. If you can’t wake up, you can’t keep up with the pace of life.

Feeling more energetic and lively will prepare you for every battle you have!

  1. Focused Training – Hunter’s Precision

Here comes the actual work of a competitive gamer. Like in everything else, competitive gaming also requires a lot of effort to excel. As much as it looks like all fun and entertainment to play those games, competition transforms it into a totally different experience.

Prepare to train more than you actually “play”.

As we mentioned the motto of Navy Seals, you sink to the level of your training when you are facing a challenge. All of the professionals we are watching in awe today train under very heavy schedules to achieve their goals. Regardless of playing in a team or flying solo, they must train every single movement they are supposed to make during the competition.

When it comes to training, running and gunning mindlessly is a fool’s path. What makes “training” different from “exercise” is the purpose. You exercise to maintain a good level of health in general, but you train to excel at a certain skill. This brings us to focused training on your reaction times. With advancing technology and a wide variety of tools in your disposal, you have all the means of training to carry your game to the next level. What you need to do is have a certain and solid goal set in mind, create a plan to improve certain skills and master that skill to the point where you combine your laser-like precision with the fastest reaction time possible.

For example, in shooter games you have both training maps, plugins or external applications which provides you with all sorts of customized training grounds. One good and free example of those applications is Aim Lab (https://store.steampowered.com/app/714010/Aim_Lab/). You can use such applications to customize your training sessions to what you need and this also includes reaction time training. Even an hour of focused training every day will bring incredible improvements to your performance.

Another easy but overlooked tip to ensure an optimal reaction speed is warming your hands up before the game. Literally heat them up. All of our muscles and nerves experience reduced performance in cold weather. Cold hands will be significantly slower to react compared to warm ones.

Moving and flexing your hands, wrists and fingers before a game will have a serious effect on your agility. If you live in a colder area try keeping a cup of something warm nearby so you can hold it to warm your hands, and drink it to warm yourself.  A small heater could do the trick too.[5]

Hard part is, you need to maintain your focus and be aware of every second you spend training. Each move, each flick, each second must be full of exerted efforts to perform better. Easier said than done, but no one promised an easy way to victory, right?

  1. Nutrition and Supplements – Fuel To The Fire

Finally, we have come to our last and most overlooked component for success. We all know the gamer stereotype that is defined with a fat body, bad diet full of junk food and fast food, zero training and non-existent daily routine except waking up to play until falling asleep again.

The reality of competitive gamers is entirely a different story.

People used to tag us “insane” and “loser”, but times have changed a lot. Back in the day we have paved the way stone by stone that eventually led to today’s highly disciplined and successful competitive gamers rising up and enjoying the glory of the spotlight. We learned from both our mistakes and others’ success, coming back from days where people didn’t know how to become a world-class competitive gamer that rocks the scene with inhuman performance. 

At Esports Labs, we carried our efforts to the top level so you will be on top of your game. 

As in every branch of sports, or any kind of competitive goal, nutrition plays a key role. On top of a healthy and balanced life, you need a proper nutrition plan to keep your game on top level every day. May it be your training day or actual match, you need to fuel your body to achieve true and sustained improvement. Without the right components to maintain the resources for your brain and your body, it can not work in a fully effective manner to provide you with what you need. This does not only apply to a single or few components of nutrition, but works as a whole. You need your brain to process the information properly and quickly transmit that info to your body to achieve the results you seek.

Remember, you are only as strong as the weakest link in your chain. Your body is like a machine, without regular maintenance it will not work properly.

But for a moment, let us leave the complexity and remind you of the single most critical rule for everything related to health and performance in life.

Drink water!

Water is basically responsible for everything in our bodies, as our bodies consist of about 70% water. While our liveliness depends on it, so does our performance. Make sure to stay hydrated. Our bodies go through the reserves much quicker than we imagine it, and this causes our performance to drop. 

For maintaining general health, a balanced diet of carbohydrates, fat and protein combined with a moderate exercise regimen will take care of most needs easily. To tip the scales in your favor, you can surely include slightly more Vitamin B series and phosphorus alongside plenty of water in your diet so your brain will be replacing the depleted resources that allows it to work in an optimized manner. 

Supplements, on the other hand, is an entirely different matter. Let us start with the golden rule of supplements as many people miss this crucial point.

Supplements are never a replacement for nutrition!

This rule is often overlooked by bodybuilders who are aiming for a better physique, and investing heavily in supplements that help them to maximize their muscle gain while leaving their nutrition weak. Supplements are special products created for a very specific purpose and packed with certain ingredients and extracts that provide our bodies with rich amounts of materials which are hard to find in sufficient amounts in a regular diet.

While nutrition aims to maintain overall quality of health in every aspect imaginable, supplements aim to maximize a certain aspect. Therefore, desired results only come with a healthy and balanced use of nutrition and supplements together. At Esports Labs, our professional team researches the most effective and healthy formula created for gamers, so you can enjoy high performance without any drawback. 

Four unique blends of most effective nootropics for ultimate mental optimization are ready in VALIS, waiting to boost your performance to its limits.

In VALIS, you will find only the useful, proven to be effective and top-tier ingredients without any unnecessary additives that boosts price instead of performance.

  1. Cerebral Clarity Blend

CDP-Choline, Acetyl-L-Carnitine and Huperzine A create the intelligent trio of VALIS that simply acts like a cognitive booster that will help you think clearly, stay focused, learn faster and improve your skills with optimized stability. Also helping improve the blood flow to your brain, you will be utilizing your body’s resources much better during the competition and training alike. 

  1. Coolness In Chaos Blend

Taurine, L-Theanine and Phosphatidylserine come into play when it’s time to keep you chill as a Tibetian monk. Every competitive athlete knows that the biggest battle is the one we fight against ourselves. The reason behind this fact is our emotional volatility as they are always in motion especially during “high stakes scenarios”. Clear and cool thinking is a tremendous edge that wins you a fight, and here in Esports Labs we are fully aware of the importance of helping you maintain your calm and focused stance during the competition. Decision making, stress control, analytical thinking… All covered with this one strong blend in VALIS.

  1. Lightning Reaction Blend

Here comes the firepower support. L-Tyrosine, legendary nootropic with countless benefits Ginseng, and the one classic stimulant everyone resorts to in their daily routine, Caffeine. L-Tyrosine is a very critical component in Dopamine, which boosts mood and awareness in stress moments. With an uplifted and tight mental state, you will not bow down to stressful events in battle. Ginseng on the other hand, is an absolute miracle of Mother Nature for us. While it already has incredible benefits for human health, in our case scientific research suggests that reaction time and mood is crucially improved under effects of Ginseng. Alongside the reaction time benefits, it is also known to reduce mental fatigue greatly and keep our brains working like a clock. Last but not least, caffeine is already a well-known and prevalent nootropic which acts like a tank of nitrous oxide in our brains when we need that hard kick to go through the day. The catch with caffeine is, it leaves a mental fatigue behind. Thanks to VALIS, you will not be seeing such effects as the natural extract of L-Theanine in Coolness In Chaos Blend removes these known negative effects of caffeine while preserving all the boost that comes with it.

  1. Unbreakable Focus Blend

Last miracle of VALIS, the DMAE and Rhodiola Root duo, keeps you up with sheer focus for much longer periods so you can train, fight and win more. Many hardcore gamers know the famous medicine called Ritalin, and DMAE is proven to be on par with it in the scientific studies. Just like Ritalin, DMAE reinforces your focus with great resilience without having the negative effects of it. Rhodiola Root on the other hand is proven to improve and prolong the periods of focus to its maximum potential. With no distractions to break your focus, you will never be caught off-guard again.

Conclusion

Here we have listed the five critical pillars of ultimate performance in gaming, each being equally and highly important for your progress. Most crucial point to remember is, you will need them all to ensure desired levels of performance. None of them will be effective enough alone, but when brought together they synergize magically to help you rock the top level of competition faster than you could imagine. With a balanced and healthy lifestyle, you will already be on the right path to the success you have craved for so long. Once you have the fundamentals in place, VALIS will drastically speed up your journey to the top.

Sources

[1]https://www.miu.edu/assets/collected_papers/shaw1971r1coll1-45.pdf

[2]https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/12-benefits-of-meditation

[3]https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3307962/

[4]https://www.fatiguescience.com/blog/tag/reaction-times/

[5], [6]https://www.healthline.com/health/how-to-improve-reaction-time#for-gaming

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I'm Cameron Chittick

I founded Esport Labs and created the Optimized Gamer Blog to inspire and enable competitive gamers like you to dominate in-game and in life. Welcome to the #OptimizedGamer movement where we focus on the human side of gaming.

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