How to Improve Reaction Time for Gaming
If you are a competitive gamer and you want to strive for optimal performance there are always things to work on – consistent aim, good positioning, smart strategies, and finally fast reaction times.
In this article specifically, we will discuss how to improve reaction time for gaming, simply because all other aspects have been deconstructed to the bone, while not many gamers talk about the importance of the latter.
Why Is Reaction Time Important for Gaming?
The truth about playing games competitively is that no matter how structured your game plan is there are always variables that cannot be accounted for. In those situations, you have to rely on your pure, raw skills and reaction times.
If you play Valorant or CS:GO this situation might be familiar: you are caught out of position while pushing a plant site BUT you manage to 1-tap the guy wide peeking a corner. What carried you there was 100% your reaction time and aim.
The same example can be applied to battle royale games like Apex Legends or Call of Duty: Warzone. Being able to react in time to all of the hectic information visible on your screen while a big fight happens in those games is part of your brain’s capacity to quickly process information a.k.a reaction time.
How to Improve Reaction Time for Gaming – Input Devices
The fastest way to improve your reaction time for gaming is to improve the hardware you play on. In many cases, the limiting factor in your gameplay might not be you, but the mouse & keyboard you are playing on.
First of all, you need to make sure that your inputs are registered properly by using a good gaming mouse and a good gaming mousepad. You might be tempted to cheap out and buy a regular mouse but that investment will backfire as it will simply bottleneck your growth.This video explains very well how a good gaming mouse with a 1000 Hz polling rate and DPI adjustability can help you lower your input latency while gaming!
A good (even budget) keyboard might not seem as important in improving your reaction times while gaming, but you have to remember that moving in sync with your aim is extremely important, therefore, once again, DO NOT cheap out on a decent keyboard!
Although a less popular form of input on PC, having a decent controller that can keep up with your aim and movement will help greatly reduce the input lag you perceive and speed up your reaction times.
How to Improve Reaction Time for Gaming – Output Devices (Monitors)
An extremely important aspect of improving your reaction time for gaming is the monitor you use. This topic is especially important if you are playing FPS games that require split-second reactions.
Higher refresh rate monitors do not only provide a smoother image since you see more frames per second but also translate into faster reaction times from the player.
Quick monitor response time comparison:
- 60Hz monitor: 16.67ms
- 144Hz monitor: 6.94ms
- 240Hz monitor: 4.17ms
- 360Hz monitor: 2.78ms
Going from your scrap 60 Hz monitor that you found in your grandmother’s basement to a 240 Hz monitor will yield you 12.5 ms in response time which in terms of FPS gameplay is the difference between getting headshots on the entire enemy team or just dying yourself.
How to Improve Reaction Time for Gaming – Your PC
You can think of the peripherals mentioned above as cogs in a big machine, but the truth is that without the engine running nothing will work properly.
In this case, the engine is your PC that needs to be well maintained and prepared for high FPS gameplay.
The truth is, if your gaming rig is lagging and is not pushing out the 240 FPS for your 240 Hz monitor, that fast refresh rate monitor is wasted. If your monitor is lagging then all of your inputs from your mouse & keyboard will feel delayed and your reaction time will suffer greatly.
You get the point – optimizing your PC to produce as much FPS as possible is key in cutting down those milliseconds from your reaction times by having low and consistent input lag.
Turn off background processes, lower your graphic settings, and lower your resolution if necessary because all of those things are impediments to achieving the lowest possible reaction time while gaming.
How to Improve Reaction Time for Gaming – The Human Factor
First of all, what is a good reaction time for gaming that you should be striving for? The Human Benchmark site which is widely used by gamers to test their reaction times shows that most gamers average around 200-250ms while most professional gamers average 125-160ms.
How did the pros get better reaction times then? There are a couple of steps you can follow:
Consistent aim practice with KovaaK or Aim Lab
To achieve the best possible reaction times, humans need a night of restful sleep, a balanced diet, and also consistent physical exercise. Being sleepy or dehydrated leads to significant “brain lag” or processing times, therefore, increasing response time in games!
Tuned in mental state
Wanting to play is a huge factor in how fast you will respond to the things on your screen. If you are really bored of the game you are playing, chances are, your response times will be way slower than when you are playing something interesting to you.
Taking vitamins or small doses of caffeine is proven to boost your concentration and decrease reaction times for gamers. Just make sure to take supplements in moderation as there are also possible downsides.
Well then gamers, now that you know what hardware you need, and what lifestyle changes you need to make, it is time to put in some effort because those milliseconds won’t slim down by themselves! GL!
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