Deliberate Practice Versus 10,000 Hours

Or how to get better at Fortnite around the rest of your life

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The Inner Game of Fortnite – Deliberate Practice Versus 10,000 Hours

Many of you have probably heard about the 10,000 hour “rule,” which was popularized by Malcolm Gladwell in his book “The Tipping Point.” I put rule in quotes because it’s not really a rule and it’s easily disproven. The theory goes that to become a professional at something, or to make it into the upper tiers of the competitive segment of players, that you have to devote about 10,000 hours to your practice. Do you have to play Fortnite for 10,000 hours to be among the best in the world? I don’t think so.

First, a counter-example; it’s simple but it works. Let’s say you learn the base chords to play guitar. C, G, D, F, Am, E. You can play a fair amount of popular songs with just those chords. You can play songs in the keys of C, G, and D. And you play the same songs over and over again. After a certain point (probably pretty early on), practice isn’t a challenge anymore. So even if you were to extrapolate your practice to 10,000 hours and you didn’t do anything new, you wouldn’t be getting any better past, say, hour 200.

Now let’s talk about Deliberate Practice. Deliberate Practice is designed practice. It requires us to consider where we’re strong and where we’re weak in our game and to think of ways to drill and exercise those strengths and weaknesses. It’s not fun; it’s designed to push us past our comfort zone where we can get the maximum amount of growth for the time we invest in our practice.

Without knowing you or your game, Deliberate Practice is roughly what I’m going for in the Sub-Skill Drills section of each edition of Fortnite Fundamentals. I’m thinking of things in the game that are essential but move a bit beyond the basics. Below, we’re going to talk about covered side jumps, an option when you get coned in a build fight. Since you know your specific strengths and weaknesses best, write them down. Work on them before you jump into a game.

Deliberate Practice makes us reflect on a practice session and ask, “what did I struggle with in this session?” and then drill on that before you play next time.

Let’s say last time you played you weren’t hitting your flicks. If we’re practicing deliberately rather than just playing Fortnite, we’d jump in Creative for 15-30 minutes before we play next and work on our flicks. Maybe we do that every other day this week. By Saturday or Sunday our flicks should be better. But after they get better, we don’t forget about them. We follow up with what are essentially maintenance workouts a few days later. Maybe we practice them again next Wednesday. Then next again Sunday for a little bit. We identified a weakness, then we drill on them until they’re stronger. Then we keep it up. Just because something is working doesn’t mean we stop.

I got notes from a lot of people when I posted about Fortnite Fundamentals initially on Reddit talking about how they have lives, jobs, friends, families, you know, stuff to do besides playing video games. I do too. That’s why I started this and have some more exciting stuff planned for this newsletter and beyond!

If we only have 2-3 hours to play a day, if we use that time effectively and deliberately, we can get better faster, and more methodically. If we think of the time we play as training rather than playing, we re-frame Fortnite from a game into a practice. That’s what I think is important here.

Deliberate Practice should fit right in with the other things we’ve talked about so far, like Meta-Learning, Marginal Advantage, Small-Sided Games, and Self-Talk. They’re tools in the toolkit to get better at anything, from Fortnite to violin, from drawing to cooking.

We’ll dive more into deliberate practice in future editions but that should be enough to get you started and get your brain tuned into the concept.

Sub-Skill Drills – Covered Side Jumps

Recently, FortniteTracker had a good, longer piece on how to do Bugha’s covered side jumps.

In the article, HindoG’s tweet is embedded if you want to skip the additional instruction in the piece:

I like what HindoG is doing here, setting up a ramp with a cone in Creative and practicing the singular move. If he messes up, he just edits that piece out and drops back to the ramp for another attempt so he can get more reps in quickly.

Today’s drill:

  • Practice doing 10 covered side jumps to each side, let and right, where you’re getting the floor and the ramp under you

  • If you’re not able to do that, work on just getting a floor under you, where you’re standing on the same level as the cone that was above you. Do that on both the left and right as well.

  • And think about when you might use this: you and an opponent are ramping at one another or you’re actively in a build fight. You add a cone over top to protect yourself and then jump out to the side to try to gain height. Give that a try in a game as well!

That’s it for today. Got a late start to my week but it’s feeling like a good one! See you Wednesday.

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