How to Practice Effectively in League of Legends
Mon 9th Nov 2020 - 7:28pm
If there is anything in life that you want to get better at, practicing that skill is vital to your success. The most important thing about developing that skill is creating an impeccable practice routine and consistently abiding by it. It would be foolish for anyone pursuing a skill (regardless of its difficulty), to believe that mastering it can be done without sufficient practice. League of Legends is no exception, and you must practice if you want to improve.
The Types of Practice
There are two types of practicing that should be considered. The first type, is practicing to learn something new or to improve on something. The second type, is practicing fundamentals of a skill to make it more effortless, minimizing chance of error, and keeping yourself in top shape. Unfortunately, a lot of league of legends players want to improve and know that practicing is important for improving, but still don't commit to it. So, if you really want to improve, consider these two types of practice and put them to use in your own play and schedule.
1. Learn Something New
The first method of practicing is in an effort to learn something new or improve on a specific skillset. In League of Legends, that includes things like, learning champions, champion combos, ability usage, CSing, build experimenting, and much more. With countless aspects of the game to practice, it can be overwhelming. Furthermore, how do you even go about practicing these skills? The most important thing is to set goals for skills that need to be improved upon. Not only do these goals have to be realistic, but you need to create a plan to achieve them that include benchmarks or "subgoals". Additionally, it is best to work on one skill at a time. Mastering skills involves putting as much time and energy into them as possible, so pick one at a time, and ideally, pick the most important one for you to fix first.
What Should You Practice?
How do you pick what is most important for you? If you have been playing the game for a while, you probably have some idea of what you could improve on, and if so, pick it and make goals for yourself. The other option is to watch a VOD of some of your games and look for common mistakes or missed opportunities. Otherwise, if you are newer to the game, I recommend focusing on these three aspects: CSing, Looking at the Map, and understanding build paths. Using these three aspects as an example, start with one (Ex: CSing). Once that is established, understand what your ideal goal is for this aspect. An example for a final goal for CSing is to bring your average CS per game up to 8cs/minute. Additionally, you can set up a subgoal of 7cs/minute, etc. The reason for setting up these subgoals that you should aim to achieve first, is to ensure that you aren't sacrificing any other skills to achieve this goal. It should be organic growth that happens over time and should not be a trade-off. Remember to make the right choices to get that extra one or two CS each minute and not to be greedy.
In practicing CS, I recommend practicing the essentials in practice tool first. Do your best with minimal distractions to CS as best as possible to get used to the feel of efficiently CSing with only auto attacks on a low AD champion. It is best to practice with a champion that you do play however, because it is important to know the auto attack range and auto attack animation speed, because they are different with each champion and affect your ability to CS effectively. If you want a tough challenge, try CSing as best as possible on LeBlanc or Anivia with no abilities and no bonus AD stats as they have low AD and slow attack animation speeds, making the timing much more difficult. Another layer of difficulty is locking your XP gain so you stay level 1 while you practice so you keep minimal AD.
Quick tip: if you are worried about missing a CS because of your attack animation speed, move closer to the minion to minimize the distance that the animation needs to travel to the minion, making the timing easier (this is why CSing with melee champions is easier). Eventually, work up to Co-op vs AI games to try to CS just as well while playing in a lane against an enemy, albeit an easy one. Once you are comfortable with that, I suggest taking it to some Normal games first, and eventually once you reach that goal, bring it to ranked and watch how naturally you'll be CSing and how much more gold you'll be earning! This type of strategy for practice is vital to improving on aspects of the game that you are lacking. Create goals and incremental goals to help you reach the end result you want.
Going melee range helps reduce the travel time when CSing
Map Awareness and Itemization
The same rules apply for the looking at the map and itemization. Looking at the map can be quantified by how often you are looking at the map every minute. The minimap is crucial for gathering information that will lead you to be able to play proactively and effectively. Although you need to think about the information you are gathering from the map for it to be worth looking at, looking at the map often is obviously the first step. To make it a habit, one of the best ways to check the map is to quickly glance at it while you begin an attack animation to CS. While channeling that attack animation you are committing to standing still for the brief second and you might as well look at the minimap as nothing else is going on. In terms of itemization, I recommend trying different popular builds for the champions you are looking to play and experimenting in practice tool against the dummies to see what build is most efficient for what you think you need to provide for your team. Whether is damage, stats, utility (CDR), etc. and get a general sense for what is best in what scenario so you are ready to choose the right items in the right games.
You should make sure to check your minimap to see if the enemy jungler is near your wards.
2. Brushing Up On Your Skills
The second type of practice is practicing the fundamentals of the skills you already know. In a way, this can be considered your warm-up. This is the type of practice you should commit yourself to before each play session. What you do in your warm-up is completely up to you. But, I highly recommend creating a warm-up that is purely based on fundamentals and warming up mechanically. Start in practice tool with CSing for a couple of waves with a champion you are looking to play in that session. Then, use the practice tool to get the gold for several different points in the game to practice the fundamentals of your play with different points in your build. For example, practice kiting efficiently as an ADC at different points in your build to get the feel for your power spikes and the timing to properly kite at varying attack speeds. I recommend adding whatever else you think you should to your warm-up. Once you are satisfied, make it a habit before each play session and when you feel you're ready, start the queue to find a game.
An example of practicing kiting using the scuttle crab speed boost.
With both of these methods of practicing in mind, the more you implement them, the more you will see an increase in your play in due time. Keep a positive mental and reassure yourself that practice makes perfect. So take the time now to assess your play and figure out what it is that you wish to practice and how you want to warm-up before each of your play sessions. Good luck, Summoners!