While I love playing competitive first-person shooters like CS:GO, getting good at them takes a lot of time and effort. When I'm serious about clawing my way into the next rank bracket, I can spend just as much time training as I do actually playing the game.
In the past, I've been spoilt for choice when searching for training exercises for Counter-Strike. The Steam Workshop is brimming with prefire courses on the most popular maps, exercises that teach you about specific weapon recoil, and basic reflex and aim training. These tools, meticulously crafted and shared by the Steam Workshop community, have been incredibly useful for focusing on improving specific skills. However, they heavily rely on already knowing which areas we want to target in our training sessions. If, like me, you're a bit unsure what your weaknesses are, I recommend trying out Aim Lab.
Aim Lab has been free in Early Access since 2018 and it features a range of exercises that are perfect for warming up for a competitive game. What sets it apart from other aim training programs is that it gives you a detailed breakdown of your performance after each task, highlighting specific strengths and weaknesses.
It'll point out common stats like accuracy and reaction time, but more importantly, it can offer more granular feedback to make your training time more efficient. For example, after completing its tutorial, I learned that I was actually worse at hitting targets situated in the upper portion of my screen. This is something that I wasn't aware of, as my regular aim training exercises haven't been designed to highlight these sorts of weaknesses before.
Having access to this information means that I can now use this feedback to tailor my training going forward, pinpointing the areas where I'm weakest. Rather than wasting time on tasks that I think will help me improve, I can hop straight in and work through my personalised list of suggested training tasks. Despite only spending a couple of hours with it, I'm already seeing good results. There's a leaderboard to make things feel a bit more competitive, but I'm more interested in the fact that I can monitor my personal progress as I continue practicing. It's also a nice confidence boost when I see my strengths list grow longer on the summary page.
Until now, I've been measuring my progress based on how quickly I can zoom through a training exercise. Faster completion times equals more accurate shots, right? While this is partially true, there are other skills that I've been neglecting, such as tracking.
Being able to accurately track moving targets is valuable in any FPS, but it's even more important in some, over others. I can get away with practicing my flicks and one-taps with an AK-47 in CS:GO. But if I want to take down an enemy at mid-range on World's Edge in Apex Legends, a single headshot won't get the job done. This is where the new Creator Studio should come in handy.
The Creator Studio just launched into open beta this week, but thanks to Aim Lab's $100,000 Creator Fund, a pool of 10 dedicated creators have spent the last few months crafting training tasks and scenarios for its launch. It's easy to find exercises made with popular games like Apex Legends, Valorant, CS:GO, and Overwatch in mind, so you're spending your training time wisely. You can even input your exact game settings without having to use an eDPI converter to ensure your training sessions feel as close to a real match as possible.
As creators spend more time with the new tools, I imagine we'll see more training scenarios appear in the next few weeks. If the Steam Workshop is anything to go by, these will be worth watching out for, as the new map creator offers talented creators the freedom to design their own arenas (or recreate old favourites) from the ground up.
The existing training playlists are an excellent place to start for now, and most of them are quite short, so they're easy to drop into for a quick warm-up before a match. Unfortunately, There's currently no way to link to the best scenarios and playlists, so I've listed a few below to help you get started:
- Apex Legends: Apex Aim Training, created by RingoSuOC.
- CS:GO: Warmup Routine 10min, created by JusTT.
- Valorant: Immortal Valorant Prac, created by Defyed.