How to Get Better at Fortnite: 10 Unique Tips For a Competitive Edge
Who’s excited for the Fortnite World Cup?
Better yet, whose moved on from Season 8 and now jet-streaming around Season 9!?
Well, if you’re one of the 200 million currently playing Epic Games’ brilliantly addictive online shoot-em-up, you might find yourself in a bit of a paradox. To get better, you need play a lot. But the more you play, the more it might come at a cost.
I’m not talking about the V-bucks needed to purchase the upcoming Fortnite Season 9 Battle Pass or the never-ending stream of creative Fortnite skins and accessories. I’m not even talking about the lengths one might have gone to just to flex the “Galaxy” skin (you know who you are).
I’m talking about your physical and mental health.
Let’s face it, Fortnite is as unique as it is entertaining. Yet you’re still prone to the stereotypical ravages of online gaming. The long sedentary hours on the grind, constant exposure to highly stressful situations, sleep deprivation etc. There’s the potential for stiff necks, sore backs, headaches, repetitive strain injuries and uncontrolled stress as far as a heavy sniper can see.
And it’s important to understand these qualities can “push back” and limit the boundaries of your physical and mental performance in-game.
Yes, you may already dominate most 1v1’s but how good can you actually be? How good should you be?
Consider the best round or moment you’ve ever had playing Fortnite Battle Royale. Why aren’t you that good all the time? Why aren’t you better than that?
Where are the unnecessary handbrakes to consistent peak Fortnite gameplay?
You Don’t Have to Be a Fortnite Pro to Play a Lot
Professional gaming is big business these days. The pros can earn millions of dollars a year from prize money and endorsements, but they have to put in the hours.
One of the world’s best Fortnite players – Ninja, or Tyler Blevins to his mum, was recently quoted as saying he streams his gameplay online for others to watch a “minimum” of 12 hours a day.
But he’s not alone. As consumers, a recent report entitled “The State Of Online Gaming 2018” noted that those who play recreationally average more than 7 hours of gameplay a week. Interestingly, a survey of Fortnite gameplay found 50% of it’s participants played between 6-15 hours a week.
We just love to play Fortnite.
So whether Fortnite pays your bills, you’re competing to qualify for the Fortnite World Cup, or you just love to box-trap kill your mates on the weekend, it’s important to understand there may be mental and physical consequences attached. Consequences that may in-turn effect your Fortnite gameplay.
So let’s work on combating these and in turn – using them to gain a competitive advantage on the lobby.
How to Get Better at Fortnite – Beyond Playing
Now this may sound strange, but if you’re a Fortnite professional, Twitch streamer, YouTube content creator, hardcore amateur, or recreational player – consider yourself an athlete. Or at least begin to think like one.
Perhaps not in the traditional sense of running fast or lifting heavy, but you’re still leveraging the function of your body to achieve your goals. Talk to any competitive athlete and you’ll appreciate the need to do more than monotonously practice your skills. There’s a need to prioritize the overall health, wellness and function of your body so that you can best express yourself when needed.
If you’ve been a part of Fortnite scrims or witnessed the final circle of the Fortnite World Cup Champions League, you’ll see some elite gaming. Quick edits, offensive and defensive builds, precision tracking and shooting, split-second decision-making – some truly elite mental and physical output.
The same applies to the many death runs in Fortnite Creative.
With this in mind, the following are tips to not only help you better withstand the physical and mental rigours of Fortnite Battle Royale, Fortnite Creative and the exciting Fortnite World Cup, but help you explore the upper echelon of your athletic gaming potential.
Let’s try to expose and eliminate some of those hidden handbrakes to getting better at Fortnite.
Make Your Fortnite Setup Ergonomically Sound
This won’t be groundbreaking but it needs constant reinforcement.
Whether you play Fortnite on console, PC or mobile (good luck with that), you must make sure you’re in the best position possible. Otherwise you’ll unnecessarily be at risk of a whole bunch of musculoskeletal stiffness, aches and pains.
From a performance perspective, everything functions better in a good position. There’s a reason the best runners move the same, and the best lifters lift the same. You can still dominate the competition from a bad shape if you’re talented enough, but you’ll never be the best version of yourself at the same time. Poor postures and shapes ultimately put a hidden “cap” on your peak performance.
How To Find Your Best Position
Once you’ve adopted a good posture support yourself with pillows, rolled up towels or cushions to make it easier. Don’t be discouraged if it feels weird, persist until your body loosens and re-strengthens.
If you’re at your PC, everything needs to fit around this exact shape. Your screen should be at eye level and your elbows should be at your side and resting on the desk. Your mouse and keyboard should not drag your elbows away from your side. Have the chair as high or as low as you feel best supports this boring shape.
If on console be aware of how easy it can be to sit hunched forward and rest your elbows on your knees. Do what you can to establish a more upright, shoulders back shape. Consider rolling up another towel and placing it in your lower back for support.
The point here is that you need to consider moving heaven and earth to protect good shapes. Your body will function better in-game and it’ll also best protect you from a host of unnecessary aches and pains down the track. Better yet…
Why Not Stand Up?
There’s a lot of information coming out about the benefits of standing over sitting. The reality is that standing trumps sitting in almost every conceivable way when talking optimal body function and overall wellness.
From a Physiotherapy standpoint (pun absolutely intended), sitting for long periods is a great way to accrue stiffness through lack of movement. The neck, upper back, shoulders, lower back, and hips are all at constant risk of stiffening.
Sitting increases your risk of heart disease, makes you more likely to adopt poor breathing patterns and be more stressed. So if needing to do something for a long period of time – try standing up.
The physical benefits of standing may not get you your next Fortnite Victory Royale, but the mental benefits might.
Clinically, standing has been shown to improve your ability to think and pay attention, make decisions, handle stress, battle mental fatigue, improve your mood, increase productivity and concentration among many others.
In short, your ability to think clearly and process information may improve as well as your ability to handle stress and mental fatigue.
Now does any of that sound useful for an online battle of life or death?
This works a treat for those on Xbox or Playstation as you have more natural freedom to move than PC, but a standing desk or tabletop converter may just be the ticket to improving your Fortnite gameplay.
Practice Deep Breathing
Despite breathing for your entire life, how much thought have you actually put in to it? It sounds insane but deep breathing is perhaps the single fastest and best way to enhance performance and overall health.
Constant sitting directs us to take more shallow, upper-chests breaths instead of the deeper diaphragmatic ones. The body associates upper chest breathing with highly stressed or fatigued states.
These effects compound when subjected to hight-stress gaming. Cizzorz deathrun anyone?
Clinically it can be used to great effect for things like managing regular and chronic pain, anger and helping the healing and recovery processes. More interestingly, this can be particularly useful for Fortnite gameplay.
We can use it to better tolerate and regulate stress, handle nervousness, improve focus and decision-making and improve sleep – things vital for consistent high-level Fortnite gameplay.
If you get that sudden rush of blood in a build-battle, you can breathe your way back to a more focused state. If you’re victorious, you can be instantly prepared for the next one.
Not only is it brilliant for real-time Fortnite gameplay, but it can also work pre-round to better prepare you for that inevitable adrenaline spike in-game. It’s far better to go from a 2/10 to a 6/10 and maintain a more level head than to go from a six to 12 and panic or choke.
Two great techniques:
This pattern cues your body into regressing from the shallow, faster breathing associated with a heightened nervous system to a more mellow, relaxed, state. Tinker with the numbers but after a few cycles you should start to feel your body legitimately shift down a gear or two.
The Wim Hof Method:
The idea is to deep breathe a bunch to supercharge your body with oxygen and then fully exhale and hold it for as long as you can. It’s brilliant because once you’re brimming with oxygen you just focus on relaxing during the exhale hold. In no time you’ll feel at ease and out of that heightened physiological state. It won’t disappoint.
“Enjoy” A Cold Shower
Be like Season 7’s the Ice King, and become friends with the cold.
Cold exposure works best when combined with deep breathing, and also flows into better sleeping and stress-regulation. Furthermore it can strengthen your immune system which could be under threat if gaming compromises your diet, sleep and stress levels.
Thankfully, you don’t have to throw yourself straight into an icy shower in the middle of winter. The best way to acclimatize to them is as follows:
It may sound weird, but consider having one post-Fortnite before getting in bed. It’ll definitely re-invigorate you. Much like an athlete’s ice bath, cold showers are an effective way to “reset” your nervous system and prepare you for that all-important sleep.
Give this a go for a few days and I challenge you to not feel better for it. Let me know in the comments below.
Equip A Blue-Light Filter
Our reliance on technology has many hidden consequences, one of which has to do with blue-light. Emitted by the screens of our PCs, TVs, laptops and phones, it can be disastrous for our sleep.
Our body relies in-part on changes to outside light, Circadian Rhythm and the chemical Melatonin to regulate our sleep. Blue-light plays havoc with this.
By staring at your screen past sundown, you are effectively telling your body it’s still day-time. To then immediately try and drift off to sleep can be hard. This is why a blue-light filter is so important to consider.
It’s important to mention that a blue-light filter won’t immediately improve your chances of getting yet another Victory Royale. Probably the opposite actually.
Filtering the light will effect Fortnite’s brilliant colour scheme and make identifying enemies, editing and recording a little trickier. But 100% prioritize this on any device you use outside of Fortnite.
Unless you play solely on mobile (again, oof), you’d be silly not to test this out for yourself. It’s an easy boost to your sleep quality.
Protect Your Sleep
Despite its importance sleep is still so criminally underrated.
We spend approximately one-third of our lives asleep, yet how often do you consider your sleep habits? How much do you value them?
The consequences of poor sleep are generally well-known. You can’t expect to be at your best if you’re not sleeping the best. Your Fortnite gameplay can’t be on-point if your sleep isn’t.
Obviously longer and better quality sleep will instantly improve your gameplay but how can you make that happen when peak gaming often plays out during those hours?
Consider pairing your shiny new blue-light filter with some black-out curtains and a sexy Fortnite eye-mask (it’s a thing).
There’s evidence that any light source can trick your body into thinking it’s time to be more awake. An eye-mask is an obvious fix, but did you know that your skin is one of the body’s most light-sensitive organs?
You may have your eyes closed, but your skin may still detect that hallway or alarm clock light. Ever had an amazing nights sleep when staying in a hotel? There’s a good chance they had some heavy duty blackout curtains. Try your best to replicate it at home.
Pair these tips with a cold shower and some deep breathing for a good quality sleep. This will also help optimize the next day’s Fortnite gameplay as well.
Eat Real Food
This sounds obvious, but sometimes it just needs to be said – eat real food.
The human body is a machine fueled by actual food. If it’s processed it’s likely not the optimal fuel for long hours of solo squadding.
If your car takes unleaded fuel, don’t keep forcing it to guzzle down diesel and expect it to perform. Make no mistake, the body does a great job buffering poor food choices. But you can’t be the best version of yourself mentally or physically if the basics aren’t there.
No athlete can function at their inherent best if their diet is poor and neither can you.
Generally, if it doesn’t rot or comes in a package it’s probably compromised.
Obviously do your research and go speak to a professional before making any drastic changes. But work out what you can do to optimize the foods you’re eating to better fuel the machine you play Fortnite with.
It’s obvious too, right? Similar to good food and posture, sometimes we just need a reminder.
In this instance, the body needs basic fluids to function best. Are you getting your 8 glasses a day?
The tricky thing here is that most don’t drink to re-hydrate, we drink for taste and “energy”. Sure a coffee has its performance benefits. But if you need one each morning to help you recover from all that restful sleep, then what’s really going on?
Perhaps reconsider any reliance on energy drinks, sports drinks and soft drinks (soda) for fuel. Again you may drink them for a specific reason, but what are you compensating for? Would they still exist with improved sleep and better nutrition?
In terms of dehydration, we know it can suck the life out of your mental and physical function completely unnecessarily. Even mild dehydration has been linked with poorer cognition, fatigue and greater stress.
I go on about this a lot, but the brilliant Stacy Simms of Osmo Nutrition recommends adding a pinch of good quality rock salt to your water to aid in absorption. It’s a little known fact that just pounding down the water alone doesn’t necessarily mean your body’s absorbing it.
Proper hydration can be a simple way to keep your mind and reflexes sharp long into the umpteenth final circle of the evening.
Much like real food and water, we don’t have to overthink this one either do we?
The benefits are obvious but think of it this way – the body is wired for movement. It’s designed to be used in its entirety. If not used regularly it can become rusty and sloppy.
Fortnite gameplay exercises a lot of higher mental function and hand movement, but the rest of your body needs some love as well.
Clearly it’s hard to exercise while playing so this is another tip to help “future you”.
If you play Fortnite Battle Royale a lot, try and strike a healthy balance. Routinely hit the gym, engage in sport, or just go for a walk.
If that’s genuinely hard to stick to, consider making the rest of your life more movement rich.
Walk instead of driving, stand if you don’t have to sit, park further away, use stairs instead of the elevator. Why not get up and move between rounds? Bust out a few pushups, squats or your favourite Fortnite emote to keep you fresh.
The more you move the more you’ll offset gaming’s sedentary nature. More importantly, you’ll able to leverage this into better mental and physical performance.
Look After Your Neck
This one is very sneaky. Did you know that your hand and finger function is controlled by the nerves at the base of your neck?
Furthermore, guess what area of the body is constantly overloaded when we slouch?
Clinically, the majority of non-traumatic hand, finger, wrist and forearm dysfunction has strong links to the neck.
Issues like Tennis Elbow, RSI, Carpal Tunnel and hand weakness, tingling and numbness can all be indicative of poor neck health.
Even simple neck stiffness can lead to a decrease in hand strength, motor control, precision and fine motor function.
In short it can make your fingers and hands weaker and more sluggish. Not good for when things inevitably get sweaty in Tilted Towers (RIP).
To see what I mean, try this:
Practice some quick builds and edits, test out your aim or just go play. Get a sense of how those fingers are moving and how things feel.
Next, take a ball to your neck and upper back. Go hunting for any stiffness and tightness. Let the ball gently press in until you feel like things free up. Then re-test what’s important. There’s usually an immediate uptick in function once the neck is working a bit better.
With this in mind keep an eye on your postures and ergonomics as mentioned before. If you can you’ll be ahead of the lobby in more ways than one.
If you want to get better at Fortnite, look beyond just playing the game a lot.
There are a number of simple, peripheral ideas to consider. Ideas that can not only lead to better Fortnite gameplay, but help you withstand any long-term ill-effects of the gaming lifestyle.
The pillars of better gaming are the same as any devoted athlete. Protect your sleep and fuel your body effectively. Learn to manage your stress and your body’s ability to cope with it. Move and use your body at every opportunity.
By all means go HAM at the game, you have every right to – it’s a f**king cool game. But if you want to get better at Fortnite Battle Royal or be more competitive in the Fortnite World Cup, make sure there’s balance in the rest of your life.
It might sound strange for a Physiotherapist to be an advocate for spending hours online playing Fortnite. And despite how this reads – I’m not. If you have a choice between sitting inside, in front of your blue-light emitting screen, getting super stressed and pounding the energy drinks and junk food, or going outside, clearly choose the latter. Your body will thank you for it.
But if you’re an adult making adult choices, or a youngster having them made for you, then make the most of it. Strive to be the best version of yourself, not just the best. You deserve it.
We know that life often gets in the way of being a “perfect” human and that’s ok. But be aware that a healthier you is a better you. And a better you is better prepared to emote on the corpses of your enemies.
What are you doing to get better at Fortnite? Let me know in the comments below.
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