Super Smash Brothers pro William ‘Leffen’ Hjelte provided his best tips to not just get good at Smash, but any game.
The 24-year-old Swede, who recently came first in Melee at Super Smash Con, sat down with Team SoloMid to name tricks that have worked for him and should apply for any up-and-coming player.
Given Leffen’s long history of success in multiple games, it’s clear that he’s speaking from experience.
“Really these tips are for anyone trying to improve at any competitive game or sport or chess,” the former Evo-winner said. “I’ve played a lot of different games and these tips kinda apply to all of them.”
The first tip Hjelte provides is “play a lot of games” as in “play a lot of matches as often as you can and get that experience in.”
“There’s a lot of people who go to these types of videos that kinda look for a shortcut,” the Dragon Ball FighterZ player explained. “Everyone who gets good has been in a lot of matches. They’ve put in a lot of time.”
The next tip Leffen gives is “go to tournaments.” Due to Smash’s weak online play, going to local tournaments is key according to the TSM legend.
In order to get used to formats, stages and other rules, going to tournaments and putting yourself in that environment is a must.
Leffen’s next tip is to watch game footage. This is a more advanced tip to players who have played a lot and want to take their game to the next level. By evaluating footage, you can spot mistakes, learn from opponents, research habits, etc.
“See what other people are doing better than you, watch your own matches after you lose, after you win…no one is going to make you a good player. You’re gonna have to learn by yourself and sometimes you destroy your friends, right and you think you’re the best in the world. If you go to tournaments you’ll quickly see that’s not true. You’re gonna have to look at your matches… the more you watch the more you actively try to think about what you’re doing and why you’re doing it.”
The Swedish pro’s penultimate tip is to get your mentality in check and know how you deal with nerves.
“This isn’t a unique problem to Smash”, Leffen explained. “It’s a part of competition in general. People are always nervous. Even top athletes are nervous. People miss more free throws in the NBA finals than they do in practice. That’s just how it is. Pressure will always be there.”
According to Leffen, understanding that everyone gets nervous and figuring out how to handle it is a must. Asking others how they deal with nerves, like taking a break or focusing before a match will give you an advantage.
The final tip he gives is to get your shit and your life together. “Once you have all these other things you can clearly notice when someone is putting in the work… you’re going to have to live a stable, pretty consistent lifestyle if you want to be one of the absolute top players.”
“If you want to make it long term and if you want to compete with the absolute best people, and even if you just want to live a better life, you’re going to have to have set routines, you’re going to have to make sure you don’t burn yourself out, you don’t look at social media too much after your loses…you need to get your shit together and you need to work on your own weaknesses.”
Leffen goes on to add that sometimes your biggest problem holding you back could be your daily life. Sometimes your issues in-game are attributed to factors outside of it.