Getting the most out of your play session
This is a translation of an article by DJ SGH (LR2IR), originally written in Korean, translated by Horie.
Every now and then, when you play IIDX or BMS, you might have “bad” days when things didn’t go well as you wished. There are obvious factors (like your health / physical condition) that may be outside your control, but here are some tips to make your day less disappointing. Just be clear, this is about getting the most out of your day, not improving your skills.
First of all, you should figure out which BPM range and patterns you are doing well with. Spend the rest of your day practicing more of them. BPM range should be in the range of plus or minus 10. Before starting a session, many skilled players would see how fast they can move their hands, recognizing what BPM range should be appropriate for the day.
“My hands aren’t moving as quickly, but timing is pretty good - so I should practice 150 BPM songs today.”
“I can hit trill patterns pretty well today, so I should focus on trills.”
Of course, it’s not necessary to figure all this out before you start playing. You can make a call while you are warming up, trying out different BPM ranges and pattern types as you warm up. That being said, don’t spend too much time doing this in the beginning of your session; e.g., if this feels like your 200-bpm day, but you spent too much time warming up with 150-bpm songs, you might confuse yourself.
Second - reserving your stamina.
If you fail to maintain your stamina, you might have a terrible session for that day. It’s difficult to know exactly how much strength you have left, until you are totally drained. To avoid this, set a clear goal for the session; to increase your earth power, play difficult songs at the upper limits of your skill range, to increase timing, focus on the lower end.
If you are trying to practice high density while your hands got used to timing (gachi hitting), your stamina will be drained even faster than usual.
Third, play low-level charts and high-level charts with the same mindset
When you play easy songs, you can make use of your whole arm (especially the muscles from your wrist to the elbow). For higher level charts, this isn’t possible. This introduces a disconnect between how you play easy charts (for timing) and how you play hard charts (for pushing earth power).
There are two options to fix this:
Option 1: Play easy charts using fingers only (and not your arm muscles)
- Pro - you can maintain this for hard charts
- Con - it takes longer to get your timing right when warming up
Option 2: Do use your arm muscles but slowly increase the difficulty, staying in the same BPM range
- Pro - you can time things well, at least until charts are in the middle of your skill range
- Con - you might not be able to play charts in the high skill range for that day
- Find your today’s best BPM range and practice songs in it
- Keep your sessions short, don’t try to improve earth power and timing on the same day.
- Find a way to make a connection between playing easy songs and hard songs.