Basic Training

Break Down

If you are new to Overwatch or have been stuck at your rank for some time than this training regimen may help you to improve. Training takes time. This is not a quick fix to all your Overwatch problems. The basic premise of this Overwatch guide is to build the muscle memory you need to become better at controlling your mouse to improve your aim.

What do you need to start? Well, you need Overwatch to start with. The second thing you need to get the most of this regimen is Aim Hero from Steam. It not required but I highly recommend picking this game up from steam for $5. It’s a small investment if you truly wish to improve and get the most out of Overwatch. I will be using Aim Hero as a major training supplement throughout this guide.

Aim Hero is a simple mini-game that I refer to as an excellent aim training tool. It allows you to input your identical mouse sensitivity settings from Overwatch so your muscle memory when swapping from the two is not fouled. There is video evidence on YouTube of professional players using Aim Hero as tool to warm up and train with. Go browse YouTube and Twitch and watch how people like Effect use Aim Hero. If you choose not to invest in Aim Hero then continue on with the guide ignoring Aim Hero training and double up on the suggested in-game exercises.

Other items I recommend are a pen and piece of paper or even Excel. Track your progress, write down notes. Ask yourself in game “why did I just do that”, “what could I have done differently” and jot them down in a notebook for reference. Write things down!

I refrain from saying things like “do this for one week”. Everyone’s schedule is different and everyone can only allocate a certain amount of time into Overwatch daily or even weekly. Instead of time we will use in-game stats from both Aim Hero and Overwatch to track progress and use that information roughly define when to move on the harder exercises.

Attempt to view this regimen as your warm up program before hopping into Overwatch Quickplay or Competitive mode. Your ‘warm up’ will consist of 30 to 60 minutes of drills depending on the time you want to invest into training instead of playing.

The reason practice drills are more effective at improving mechanical skills than playing dozens of quickplay or competitive matches is because your mind is focusing on too many variables at once. Position, aim, multiple enemies, Genji hopping around you, communication, Ultimates, all of these things are going through your head at once and distract from improving your aim.

You will only get out of this training what you put into it. So if you are competitive and want to win, take it seriously.

Let’s get started.


Basic Aim Training

If you are stuck at a certain rank or are new to Overwatch start here. If you are already a seasoned FPS player on PC, try Basic out and move on if you truly feel like it is too easy and are meeting the requirements I implement.

The goal of these exercises is not speed. The goal is purely accuracy and smoothness of motion. Remember we want to develop muscle memory from the ground up which won’t come from twitching your mouse all over and spamming the trigger hoping you hit the mark.

Once you’ve selected an appropriate mouse sensitivity in Overwatch and feel it’s a good starting point, open up Aim hero and adjust the mouse sens to match your Overwatch sens. Also adjust the FOV (Field of View) to around 71 in Aim Hero (do not mess with Overwatch FOV, leave it at max). These exercises will help you feel out your mouse sensitivity settings and adjust them to your preference over time. Experiment with some the the game modes in Aim Hero and get a feel for how it works.


Drill #1: AH Fast Aiming 5 Minutes

Open up the Fast Aiming mode and put the difficulty setting to Low. This mode will end early if you do not eliminate the targets fast enough and too many are on the screen at one time. Focus on hitting each target smoothly and accurately. Remember that speed comes later. I don’t care if you fail to complete this mode over and over again. Strive for accuracy, always. If you complete the mode, great, if not continue restarting for about 5 mins. This mode is a good warm up exercise to loosen up.


Drill #2: AH Reflex 10-20 Minutes

The next mode to focus on is Reflex. Don’t worry about the difficulty setting here, go straight to custom. Adjust the settings as follows.

This mode is developing your flick shot aim.  Every second a target will appear and that target will stay on screen for one second. The goal here again is accuracy. Place the cross-hair in the center highlighted square and attempt to move your cross-hair straight to each target in one slow/smooth motion, click once on the target and reset to center. One click per target, do not spam the trigger, if you miss, reset set to center and try again with the next target.

Take it slow. You want your arm/wrist/fingers to memorize how far you need to move to hit each target in one motion without thinking. Continue this for at least 10 minutes. Do it for 20 minutes if you have the time. Did you get above 95% accuracy consistently? If not don’t worry about it, you will get there. If you did you might be able to move on to a more advanced setting. Adjust the the Target lifetime incrementally down to 0.9, 0.8, and 0.7. If you can maintain 95% accuracy at 0.7 without much effort then consider moving on to intermediate.

Be sure to write down all of your accuracy results from the Reflex mode.


Drill #3: AH Strafing 5 Minutes

Next mode to open up is Strafing. Set the difficulty to low and spend about 5 minutes tracking the target. We won’t worry about your score here. Just focus on smoothly tracking the target and taking careful shots at the target. The value of this mode is to adapt your arm to making smooth left and right motions and your reaction speed to enemy movements.

Do not linger too long in Aim Hero. Try to keep to this guide as much as possible as far as time allotted to avoid feeling burnt out. Remember this a gradual process of improvement, not an overnight fix.

Close down Aim Hero and open up Overwatch. Be sure your sensitivity settings match each other from AH to OW.


Drill #4: OW Strafing 5-10 Minutes

Enter the Practice Range or an empty Custom game to any map. Find random spots on the map such as a sign or the head of a target dummy. Place your crosshair on that spot and take long strafing patterns at varying distances while keeping your crosshair exactly on the spot the entire time. Basically I want you to walk from side to side and prevent your crosshair from moving. This will train your muscles to adapt to your heroes movement giving you more mouse control. This exercise is simple and should be done during downtime of matches such as walking back from spawn, waiting in the spawn room,  skirmish, etc. Just pick a spot on the map and keep your crosshair there as you walk by. Do this for about 5-10 minutes and continue to do it through out your matches as well.


Drill #5: OW Reflex Aiming 5-10 Minutes

This exercise is simple reflex aiming in the Overwatch Practice Range. Choose McCree as your hero and find a stationary target dummy. Aim at various locations near its head. Similar to Aim Hero Reflex training, smoothly move your cross-hair to the targets head and fire. Move your cross-hair to locations all the way around the targets head (left,right,above,below) and focus on making a single straight line back to the targets head. Again, do not worry about speed, we are training your arm to memorize the exact distance needed to move the cross-hair to the target.


Drill #6: OW Ana Bots 25-50 Kills

The last drill is Ana bot training. Load up a head-shot only mode custom game against 6 Ana bots on easy. Your damage modifier should be set so that a single head-shot from McCree will eliminate the Ana bot. The settings on the right side on the screen should look like this.

There are plenty of YouTube guides on this if you are not sure how to make this custom game. Choose McCree as your hero, find an open spot on the map and let the Ana Bots mingle about you. I recommend staying near the capture point on the King’s Row map and the bots will duck in and out of various cover points. Don’t move from that spot while you are aiming or shooting. Track the Ana bots heads as they move about you best you can and only fire once they stand still (they will only stand still in skirmish mode and only for a brief moment) . The goal is to track them smoothly and fire once they stopped moving. Kill 25 or 50 but make a note of which and write your accuracy down from the Tab menu at the end. Do not spend more time in this drill then it takes to kill 25-50 bots. Spending too much time here is a relatively poor representation of how enemy players will move in matches and you don’t want to get used to how Ana bots move expecting players to do the same.


What Now?

Now head into Quickplay or Competitive and keep in mind everything you practiced. Don’t go into a match and wildly throw your cross-hair around. Slow down, track targets smoothly, make small flick shots. Constantly think about your aim and what you can to do make each shot count as you play. Everything you learn also applies to projectile heroes such as Hanzo and Zenyatta as well. You just have to adapt to the speed of the projectiles and learn to lead your targets appropriately.

Continue these exercises before every session of Overwatch and do them in your spare time if you aren’t in the mood to play Overwatch Competitive. These are basic training exercises you can do to build your muscle memory and improve hand/eye coordination.

During this time adjust your mouse sensitivity in small increments until you feel a high level of comfort. Track your accuracy progress with the Ana bots and Reflex Training in Aim Hero. You will start to see a trend of improvement over time. Not over night mind you.

You can confidently move onto the intermediate once you are able to consistently maintain an average of 95% accuracy in the Reflex Aim mode with a target lifetime setting of 0.7, can easily complete the Fast Aiming mode in the time limit with a high accuracy, and are able to kill the Ana bots with a 50% accuracy or higher. This may take weeks or longer to obtain depending on how much time you are able to commit. I am setting rough goals for you, it’s up to you to focus and achieve them

Basic Training Plan

  1. AH Fast Aiming: 5 minutes
  2. AH Reflex Aiming: 10-20 Minutes
  3. AH Strafing: 5 minutes
  4. OW Strafing: 5-10 minutes
  5. OW Reflex: 5-10 minutes
  6. OW Ana Bots: 25 or 50 Kills

Total Time: 40-60 Minutes