Inchworm Improvement

Joe “JustJoe” Dattalo

Improving in melee can seem kinda stupid. Everybody has a different take on it. “I don’t feel myself improving until all of a sudden it’s different one day”, “I actually don’t even know what to focus on or for how long”, “I’ve worked so hard and haven’t felt any better as a player yet”, “I can even implement what I grind.”

The inchworm method of improvement brings structure to all of these issues. The method suggests that there is an A game, B game, and C game. To perform a full “level up”, bringing the C, B, and A games to the next level, improving your overall level, you have to improve each grade level of your game play to fully “inch” forward to the next level.

Sounds good, but how do I implement? I’m glad I asked for you.

Let’s say C game is your weakest game play, B is average, and A is the best you’ve got. You should have at least vague idea as to how you perform at these level, if not, try to be more mindful and aware of it.

C game – clean up your lousy movement. Note if something makes you break focus regularly. Whatever you think is you under performing is your C game more or less.

B game – this is about your average so it might seem like this is the hardest to specifically improve upon.

Say, all day you’re playing a B. Odds are, you’re still gonna mess up here and there. Note those mess ups, note what you’re particularly close to having down strongly.

Your B game is a good letter grade to bring with you into tournament. So if you’ve played solid in tournament and still lost, find how you can tweak it to be better.

One way to do this is through shadow boxing, which many people struggle conceptualizing. To keep things short;

  1. Execution in a vacuum- you just stand in place and execute.
  2. Shadowboxing realism- identify situations where this tech/movement is where you want to implement it. Say Fox visualizes Marth in shield and wants to practice wavedash down outside the range of short hop fair. A way for the fox in this example to really start the exercise is by having the moment fox dashes be the moment Marth leaves shield, or even the moment fox dashes Marth out of jump squat. You have a lot of control over how you shadow box.
  3. In game performance – after having 1 and 2 down you should be able to actually implement this stuff in game an see how it goes.

B is tricky to improve but it is arguably the most valuable to improve upon.

A game – implement new things to your game play. This is a weird one too because bringing new things into your game play, they’re inevitably gonna be not strong assets of your play. They gotta climb the rank from C level to A level.

Once that new thing is down though, it is clearly a big boost to your game play like tech chasing with crouch, optimizing punish further, spacing or timing mixups etc.

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