All hobbies require dedication and hours of practice, and playing video games is no different. Some people feel satisfied cruising around in single player mode day after day, but what if you want to hone your skills and gain an advantage in the online multiplayer mode?

This represents a new and exciting challenge that’s full of possibilities, because you never quite know what the other players will do. Follow these tips to hone your skills for the online gaming arena.

Know All the Controls and Possibilities of the Game

Most games introduce new tactics throughout the course of the single player mode, but hidden strategies may exist. Your online opponents probably know these little tricks, so you should too.

Watching videos of more experienced players on Twitch or YouTube is a great way to pick up solid tips and tricks for whatever game you play.

For example, when playing a combat game, you certainly know how to aim, shoot and duck for cover. But do you know how to disarm an opponent in hand-to-hand combat? For games with third person perspective, do you know how to change the rifle from the left shoulder to the right to better maintain your cover?

Practice Solo Before Going Online

The only way to improve is to practice. You can think about the game all you want, but until you sit down with the controller and learn how to move with precision, you will always struggle to gain an advantage in online gaming.

Stay in the single player story mode until you feel truly comfortable. Beat the easiest mode and then go back to replay the next-hardest mode until you’ve conquered everything the game has thrown at you. Then, you’ll be ready to tackle the other players’ strategies.

Listen in With a Headset

Invest in one of the best gaming headsets you can afford in order to maximize the experience and to gain an advantage in an online setting. You can talk to the other players and listen to their commentary. This can prove useful if you need to team up, but you should also listen in to what your opponents say. They might unwittingly give away their strategy, tactic or position, instantly giving you an advantage.

Watch Gameplay Videos for Strategy Ideas

Have you hit a wall in your practice sessions? Do the other online players seem to know something you don’t? Take a look at gameplay videos to get some inspiration. For example, you might discover that you need to just run past a tank to safety instead of trying to take it out. Or perhaps there’s a key object that you need to pick up, but you haven’t noticed it yet.

Watching other players successfully beat the same portion of the game can give you a necessary boost while also teaching you about the way the gameplay is set up. Next time you get stumped, you’ll have some new strategies to try.

Just remember that gaming requires skills and practice like any other hobby. If you want to get good at it, dive in head-first with no regrets.