How Muscle Memory is Built When Playing Competitive Games

Speed and reaction time, are eternal subjects of interest for players who want to improve their gaming skills, the type of skills that can also prove very useful even in your everyday life. These capacities can be honed and improved if you play competitive games regularly in a way that builds and trains your muscle memory, which is the dwelling place of your gaming habits (good and bad) acquired by the repetition of various moves and actions. We know this is kind of complicated but we will explain everything to you in a very simple way. 

muscle memory gaming

If you want to learn how you can improve muscle memory when playing on PC, check out this article here.

So what is muscle memory in gaming, how it is built when playing competitive multiplayer games? 

The different types of memories and the definition of muscle memory  

The human brain is complex, it’s a science. 3 types of memories are generally accepted by scientists: 

Episodic memory

That of the events of our lives, linked to a specific date, a precise place. 

Semantic memory

That of knowledge. It is the memory of words, numbers, all the general information… 

Procedural memory

That which is used for practical things. Walking, cycling, driving, playing video games… It’s a long-term memory. The memories stored there are actually a combination of know-how: automatisms that we have recorded through repetition. 

The muscle or digital memory can be associated with the procedural memory described above. It corresponds to our capacity to replicate identically, without any prior preparation, physical action or a movement after doing it several times. But how playing competitive games contribute to the building of your muscle memory? 

The role of competitive games in building your muscle memory 

Here is an example to make things easier for you: Imagine that you are playing as a sniper in a competitive multiplayer FPS. You are playing regularly in order to perfect your aim and get more headshots. Aiming, moving the viewfinder and shooting…, these are the actions that you are going to repeat. Once you succeed in doing so after repeating the same actions multiple times, here is what happens next: 

This practice will allow you to feed your muscle memory in a way that improves your speed and reaction time. From a certain level of repetition, the movements will follow one another without you needing to concentrate. The simple act of pressing a button will make you press the next one and the next one again, it will become a habit. In other words, headshots will become a piece of cake for you and you will be doing them with less concentration and less effort. 

The process of muscle memory development thanks to playing competitive games 

Think about the first time you launched a competitive game; let’s take PUBG as an example, taking into consideration that you are not familiar with the game, here is the whole process: 

  • At first, you learn the controls (how to land, move, jump, sprint, and pick up your loadout…) 
  • You will be running without knowing what you are doing until you meet your first opponent and after exchanging fire, you will be easily killed 
  • You keep repeating over and over until you figure out how to take cover, where to land, you start making more effort to survive 
  • After several hours of playing, the development of your muscle memory begins; controls become smoother and you will be doing many actions with less effort until you start doing kills 
  • Then after weeks of gameplay, every move or action that you used to carry out with too much effort and concentration will be done effortlessly, because it is all in your muscle memory 
  • Doing many frags, contributing to the victory of your team or managing to be the last man standing, everything will become easily achievable 

PS: Be careful, bad gaming habits can also be stored in your muscle memory. For example, if you play a competitive game and you keep repeating wrong actions and moves (bad aiming, wrong time of reloading, erroneous landing…), they will be stored in your muscle memory and they will become bad habits. These habits cannot be changed easily. 

Why competitive multiplayer games are the best option to build your muscle memory? 

Here is why competitive multiplayer games, especially shooters, are the optimal way to build your muscle memory quickly and effectively: 

  • Most competitive multiplayer games are fights for survival so they are adrenaline-fueled and very challenging games that demand a lot of attention and concentration. 
  • Video games, especially competitive FPS and TPS (first-person shooter and third-person shooter) act as a stimulant for your brain. You become more alert and more vigilant because you are immersed in a dynamic environment that requires your full attention. 
  • Competitive Shooter games essentially require good hand-eye coordination, they also require you to focus your attention on many elements at once (you have to detect and follow enemies with your eyes, aim, shoot, move, etc.). 
  • Competitive games are kind of addictive, if you play a session, you want to keep playing over and over; this is where the repetition lies. 
  • They are very challenging and involve many players, so they encourage you to play regularly because the competition is fierce and it is not always easy to emerge victorious. 
  • Competitive games improve your visual acuity by allowing you to see more objects at a glance. This is particularly the case with FPS type games. 
  • Playing competitive games on a regular basis literally contributes to the growth of certain parts of your brain that are responsible for spatial orientation, planning, and hand movement. 
  • They also involve a lot of repetition and the rounds are short so you will have more time to play over and over; you land on a huge map, look for weapons, hunt the enemy, escape the shrinking circle and try to survive. You repeat the same actions in the same order until you build your muscle memory. 

As competitive games are difficult and challenging, you will be obliged to play more slowly and more carefully to avoid being killed while repeating the same actions each round. By repeating these actions several times, this will build your muscle memory and a habit will develop. Each time you perform these actions, your brain will create a neural pathway allowing you to reproduce these actions with less and less effort. 

In addition, if you play slowly and cautiously, this gives you much more time to think and perform the right action during your learning phase. If you keep getting it wrong, your brain will have a hard time building this path to help you automate the tasks at hand. By going slowly, you will consistently do the same things correctly. It will require less energy and effort the next time you have to repeat your list of actions. 

To make things clearer for you, muscle memory is nourished and built thanks to consecutive hours of gameplay and by the repetition of actions and moves, the kind of repetition that you can find in competitive multiplayer games. Once everything is stored in your muscle memory, your speed and reaction time will be enhanced and you will be doing the same actions and moves quickly, properly and with less effort.  

Playing competitive games is the optimal and fastest way to feed and build your muscle memory. Your speed and reaction time will be enhanced and you will be performing actions – that were once difficult and require too much concentration and effort – with less energy and effort, enabling you to outdo other players and become a Pro gamer.  

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