The Meta of Meta Learning

How to get better at Fortnite (or anything)

Editor’s note: Hey everyone! This first email is going out to over 270 people! So glad to have you all as part of this budding project and community. I’m Zack and I’m excited to dive in with you.

How to use these emails: We all play Fortnite at different times of the day. I recommend reading this whenever you feel like but then re-reading it before you play so it’s fresh in your head and you can apply what we talk about here.

Some days will have instruction on how to do specific sub-skills in Fortnite like box fighting or tunneling. Other days we’ll talk about performance anxiety, what that is, and how you can keep a calm head when you get focused or you’re in an endgame.

Let’s get started!

Fortnite is more like chess or basketball than it’s like Halo. You may never have thought of that, but it’s true! The reason I say that because there are specific sub-skills that you can practice and do drills on more than you can in your typical first person shooter.

In basketball you can practice your dominant hand dribbling and your then non-dominant hand. Then you can do the same with layups. Practicing each of those sub skills in isolation, when it’s quiet and there’s no one pressuring you, can pay dividends down the line when you play 1-on-1 with your teammate later in the day and then later when you play in a normal 5-on-5 game.

First we gain confidence in developing and improving a new skill in our own time and in our own way. Then we increase the speed and the pressure little by little over days, weeks, and months.

Fortnite is no different! We can drill on specific sub-skills of the game in Creative too. Whether that’s box fighting, practicing our 90s, or working on the best way to peek over a build, aim down sights, and shoot an enemy.

That brings us to Meta Learning and the backbone of everything I’m going to be teaching with this newsletter. (We’re also going to spotlight some amazing Creative courses and other teachers in the community who can help you get better as well, but those are for editions.)

What is Meta Learning?

In short, Meta Learning is learning how to learn. It’s a simple framework that we’ll frequently refer back to here at Fortnite Fundamentals because when we need to refresh and improve our skills, this is how the best people in the world develop and improve new skills. You can also apply this to cooking, dog training, basketball, the list is literally endless. Meta Learning is magic.

Here’s the framework:

1. Create a sandbox for experimentation and safety

2. Do the skill slowly but nail each rep

3. Get a little faster

4. Stop before burnout

5. Reflect on the session

6. Apply it

7. Repeat

Simple right? Once you start applying it, you’ll see how powerful this can be. Let’s break down each step.

1. Create a sandbox for experimentation and safety

When we have a place to safely try and fail, we can improve more quickly. When there’s no pressure or no stakes, we can play like kids without being in our own head.

If you’re trying to get better at 90’s, it’s far easier and safer to do that in Creative where you don’t have to farm, where no one’s shooting at you, and where there’s no storm to think about. That’s what I mean by a sandbox and exactly why Creative is such a great tool for us to use!

2. Do the skill slowly but nail each rep

Anyone who does a skill incredibly fast, like Bugha or Mongraal editing structures, first did that thing really slowly. They dragged their mouse in a specific diagonal hundreds of thousands of times, getting faster, slowly, over time.

Years ago, Patagonia did an ad campaign called “Slow is Fast,” where a guy biked up and down the California coast with a surf board in tow, stopping at various places along the Pacific Coast Highway to surf. I think his goal was to bike the whole PCH but not for speed. He was maximizing his surf time. He was going slow to go fast.

In your Fortnite practice, think about going slow to go fast.

Do slow corner edits 10x in Creative to make sure your brain captures the motion of your mouse or thumb, even if you’re already great at edits. Really concentrate on the mechanic and the movement.

It’s better to do 10 great reps than 100 fast reps. Your brain will internalize the mechanics more thoroughly and the next time you practice or use them, you should hopefully feel the improvements!

Improvement happens in your sleep too! But we’ll talk about that later.

3. Get a little faster

As you gain proficiency in your corner edits, get a little faster. Again, we’re not going for pro speed here, just a little faster than the last time you did it. Your only opponent is yourself right now.

Make sure you’re still nailing each rep. If you find yourself going too fast, as we all do, slow it down again.

There’s no shame in doing things correctly.

4. Stop before burnout

Some workouts athletes do to failure, other times they go into the gym, do a few sets of squats, get their reps in and leave.

We want to stop practicing our skill before we get sloppy because when we’re tired and sloppy, we internalize bad mechanics and build bad habits. We literally undo our work that we did before going slow to go fast.

It’s better to end on five good reps than it is to end of five sloppy reps.

5. Reflect on the session

Whether you’re thinking about your recent practice session, telling a friend, making an audio recording, a vlog, or journaling, recording what went well and what we can improve in a way that we can review - a training log - is a powerful tool. It allows us to see how far we’ve come over time, it also allows us to reflect before we practice that skills again.

“What did I want to improve on last time I practiced waterfalling?” “What was I struggling with the last time I played a 1-on-1 in Creative?”

Having a log gives us a place to start next time.

6. Apply it

Practice is only one half of the game. The other is application. So just like we practiced non-dominant hand dribbling and layups before calling a teammate to play with, in Fortnite we can drop into Creative, Team Rumble, or Duos with a friend and practice that new thing we’ve been working on.

Let’s say you want to get better at Edit Kills. First you run around in Creative putting up a wall, opening a window so you have a good right-hand peek, and switching to your shotgun and taking that headshot. Awesome.

Next let’s do that three times in Team Rumble! A guy’s coming at you, pop the wall, open the window, hit the shot, close the edit. Three times, that’s it! Great job.

We applied it! Next time we’ll do it in Duos. It’ll be easier because we learned safely in Creative, practiced it well in Team Rumble, and now when it counts, we’ve got those good reps in.

7. Repeat

Finally, repeat! We all get rusty. And with so many sub-skills to talk about and get better at, sometimes certain skills atrophy while others get better. That’s natural; that’s life.

In this newsletter we’ll come back to skills we haven’t touched on for a while to refresh them. We’ve all gotta get back in the lab and practice, that’s part of the game.

That’s it! That’s our first edition! I’d love your feedback and to hear from you. Feel free to reply directly to this email.

If you enjoyed Fortnite Fundamentals, I’d be honored if you’d forward this to a friend, enemy, squadmate, or duo partner. Let’s all get better at Fortnite together!

Thanks for reading, see you Wednesday.