Sunday, November 30, 2014

Can You Really Improve Your Reflexes For Gaming? (CS:GO)

Can you improve your reflexes for gaming?Can you truly increase your reaction time/reflexes for gaming?

As an avid FPS player who's constantly looking for ways to get better, I knew I needed to improve my reaction time so I did some research on it.

The first post that I came upon  had an incredibly detailed answer, and as I read it I realized that some people wanted to know whether the guy's method actually worked or not.

I already tried using it a couple of months ago, but I stopped within a week. However now I'm hoping to go through with it and try it for 4 weeks and see how it works.

I'm using the general plan that c0de offers with some small modifications to fit my lifestyle.

If you want to read his method you can go here and check out the most upvoted answer, but here's a short summary just in case:

I don't think his plan is quite doable for me considering the amount of work I have, so here's my plan:
  • Test my reaction time using 50 trials of the HBR Test And Sheep Dash
  • Do 50 repetitions of those two games once a day at least days a week. (He recommends doing it twice a day 7 days a week)
  • Do 5 repetitions of Shoot and 250 total targets of the Intensive Fast Aiming training_aim_csgo_2 mode using an AK and the default settings: 5 rounds of 50 targets. I am shooting from the SECOND level, not the one closest to the targets. (total of 10 minutes of CS:GO not counting possible Competitive or Deathmatch practice)
  • Add in 5 repetitions of Aimbooster after 2 weeks.
  • Listen to music for the last 2 weeks of practice except for test days
Some of the possible problems that I see with this case-study and how I tried to eliminate them:
  • Obviously I will react faster if I had more sleep and if I consumed caffeine, so I'll try to keep my caffeine consumption fairly low during this experiment and I'll start it on Sunday (My most awake day), and end it on a Sunday, so hopefully my results won't be too affected by my lack of sleep during the weekdays.
  • Distractions during the test could change my reaction time, so I will try to practice with only the game sounds on and nothing else.
  • I will also have my left hand on WASD during practice because I think it's a good habit to get used to the position of my left hand relative to the right.
Now let's see how I do during the first week!

First Week (Testing Phase)

Week 1 Reaction Time TestingMy reaction times are obviously pretty bad, but that's why I'm doing this test: to see whether or not I can improve them. My Aim Map average was higher than I expected, but I already knew that I'm better at aiming that at reaction time things.

I steadily improved for the next 3 days, but Friday I was extremely tired so my scores took a hit.

Second Week

Week 2 Reaction Time TestingOne week passed and my reflexes seem to be improving a bit. The HRT average dropped quite a lot, but the Sheep Dash average increased by an insignificant amount so it's hard to tell whether this is helping or not.
We'll find out in three weeks!
As you can see my Friday results aren't great and that's because I had a lot of trouble sleeping this week and I could actually feel my brain being slower than usual on Friday.

Third Week

Week 3 Reaction Time TestingThis week I'm adding it two more things: 5 Aimbooster attempts every day, and also musical distractions on non-test days. (All days except Sundays)

My Aimbooster average is incredibly high compared to what I used to get half a year ago. My average score used to be around 30 seconds and now it's double that! I wonder how much I'll be able to increase it in the next 2 weeks...

I also just got my new, huge mousepad and I changed the in game sensitivity to a much lower value because now I can aim with my forearm instead of my wrist. However, this means that the CS:GO scores will be a little skewed because I'm still getting used to it and I shoot worse now.

My first day with the music was quite interesting because my HRT average didn't decrease that much, and my Sheep Dash average stayed the same as my non-music test day! I expected it to go down immensely because I could no longer count on the distinct "Click" sound whenever a sheep is released and it was all up to my eyes, but I did fairly well! My best Aimbooster score was also a 1:31 which is a huge improvement from my previous ones.

Final Week

Final Week Reaction Time TestingThis week's test day is an outlier because I assumed that I would be the most alert on Sundays because I'd get the most sleep, but I slept terribly on Saturday and was drowsy for the whole day, which could explain my not-so-amazing scores.

My Wednesday scores are embarrassing compared to my other scores because I did a hard running workout in the morning, and I think that exhausted my nervous system so much that it reacts slower than usual.

On Saturday I got 2:19 on one trial of Aimbooster, but I also got 43 seconds on another one, so I was all over the place. Tomorrow is the final testing day! We'll see how I do!

The End Results And Comparisons

On  my final test day I got a 221 ms average using HRT, 209 ms average in Sheep Dash, 100.2 seconds average in Aimbooster, and a score of 235 in the aim map in CS:GO.

How do these compare to my other scores?
My Aimbooster score is 43 ms better, my Sheep Dash score is 19 ms better, my Aimbooster score is  37.4 seconds better, and my CS:GO aim map score is 19 points better, and compared to all the other previous scores, my final benchmark is definitely up there.

So where does that leave us?

Here are the graphs of all of my scores with a line of best fit drawn on them.
Reaction Time Days VS HRT Average

My HRT average steadily went down as you can see in the image to the right. I had a couple of outlier days (especially the 278 ms day, but that can be explained by not sleeping well and being exhausted).

My Sheep Dash average reaction time went down about 1.5 ms for every day that I practiced, which I would consider to be quite successful.

I also had a couple of outlier days on here, but in general as I practiced more, my reaction time increased.

My Aimbooster score increased incredibly quickly (2.3 seconds every day that I practiced) and I didn't have any terrible outlier days in this game.
Reaction Time Days VS Sheep Dash Reaction Time

However, I did have some days where my best score was around 2:00, but my worst was around 50 seconds which does not seem right to me.

My CS:GO score also steadily improved. On average it increased .7 points for every day of practice that I did. That might not seem like a lot, but in a game like CS:GO, every little thing counts.

Reaction Time Days VS Aimbooster Score
In the beginning my scores were quite spread out , but in the end my scores were much more precise (after I got my big mouse pad and started playing with my forearm).

(this was before I had my big mouse pad, and I had to use my wrist to aim)

P.S. You can see all of the results here.

The Big Answer

So do online games like Aimbooster and Sheep Dash actually improve your reaction time for video games such as CS:GO?
Reaction Time Days VS CS Aim Score
In my case, it definitely seems to be the truth. However, keep in mind that this was only tested on one person (me), and the results are not conclusive until at least 100 people test it without changing any variables.

Now that my reflexes are faster, I feel more confident AWPing and trying to one-tap headshot people with an AK.

Even if you're skeptical about this "study" performed by me, I recommend you at least try a lighter version of this yourself for a month. If you do, please comment with your results in the comments below!

P.S. Even though no actual studies have been done about improving your reaction times for gaming, these two articles talk about video games improving your reaction time in life, and your reaction time improving after exercise.

What can we learn from these two articles?

If playing video games increases your reflexes in the real world, why can't playing games increase your reaction times within those video games?

And if you need a quick boost to your reaction time, drink some coffee and exercise a little bit before playing that important round of CS:GO!


  1. With 50 attempts of Sheep Dash does he mean 50x5 sheeps or 10x5 sheeps because 50x5 sheeps seems extremly excessive.

    1. 10 by 5 for a total of 50! 50 attempts of 5 is ridiculous!

    2. Yeah I thought so, but just to be sure xD i'll be trying it the next 4 weeks.

    3. Good luck! I hope it helps you in-game!

  2. My Old Reflection Time was 184

    Now İts 1.37 Thanks !!

  3. My old reactiontime was 167, now 10 years later its at 262 :x what can I do to still be in the game?

    1. From what I've heard from other people when you get older your reaction time will get worse.
      If you want to get better at a specific game you can't rely on reaction time or simply outshooting your opponent as more often than not you'll be playing against younger people with crazy reflexes.
      You have to outplay them using gun knowledge, map knowledge, and positioning/game knowledge. Good luck!

      You could also try doing the same experiment as above and that should bring your reaction time down, but I don't know how much.

  4. I play cs since 1999 when i was 14. i started to notice some reaction losing as i was 29 and now with 30 my reaction time just sux. some times its just hard to keep tracking my mouse when someone start to spam adadadadada. My aim is still good as before, but unfortunately i dont think i can improve reaction any long

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