Being a former competitive Madden NFL player, I know almost all there is to know about the Madden franchise. Today, I’m going to share with you 5 important keys for becoming a better madden player.

#1: Practice, Practice, Practice

I can’t stress this enough, in order to become a better player you MUST practice every chance you get. Whether that be going into practice mode (The ‘Lab” in madden slang) itself and testing out a new offense, or going into a unranked game with a player you respect and trying what you learned in game. Practice is so underrated to many players who play online, they don’t really see it as a place to get better.

I’m here to tell you they are wrong. Every blitz, passing concept, and coverage I’ve learned in the past, I have perfected by using practice mode or playing unranked games. It is a stress-free zone where you can learn the most, having microphones and talking to the person you are playing can also help, you are getting a different perspective to help you evolve your game.

#2: Have a short memory

There is nothing more stressful than throwing an interception at a key moment of the game. It may make the player feel hopeless, cautious, and nervous to attempt another down the field shot later in the game. I want to tell you all that throwing picks WILL HAPPEN, don’t let it make you lose focus.

In order to get better at Madden, you must have a short memory. Having a short memory helps you adapt to the game, if you a make a mistake, you can make it up by making a play on the next snap. Madden is like chess, don’t allow yourself to lose the game because of one misplaced move.

#3: Find a team that works for you

Madden is all about scheme. If you have a good scheme, you will win more often than you lose. Having a good scheme sometimes can revolve around what team you decide to use. Now, remember madden is like chess, so sometimes using the best overall team like the Seattle Seahawks isn’t always the wisest, due to what you plan to do on offense and defense.

Going into Madden NFL 16, I will personally be using the Tennessee Titans to start the year. My offense is a quick strike offense with a lot of quarterback runs. Marcus Mariota fits my offense to a tee and although the Titans are not a “Good” team in real life, they have the look of a great madden team. Finding a team that works well for you is a good way to get better as a player.

#4: Stay confident in all situations

No matter the situation, stay confident. Always believe that you can with the game, carry yourself with confidence and stay calm. Madden is a very intense video game and sometimes we can be taken out of our gameplan, forced into mistakes, and lose focus. No matter how many points you are down by, always believe you can find a way to win.

Having confidence in yourself makes you a better player by default, it allows you to focus and concentrate on winning the game. Personally I know I’m not the best player in the world, but I have the confidence of the best player in the world, it helps me get inside my opponents head. If you win the mental battle, you are more than likely to win the game.

#5: Surround yourself with better players

To get better, you have to up your competition. Playing opponents that are better than you helps you get better as weird as that sounds. You pick up on cues, tells, and any other little things that players do. These clues may not be important to you, but to high-level players, a cue can mean the difference between winning and losing.

Also, always ask questions to your lab partners or friends if you don’t know what to do in a certain situation. Asking questions will not hurt and will show the people you play against on a regular basis that you are willing to learn. Never take a loss as a true loss, you can always learn something to improve on after a game no matter if you win or lose. stay humble, and pay attention to what your opponent usual likes to do.

If you follow these keys, there is no doubt in my mind that with time, anyone can become a better Madden player. Everything you do that you want to do well takes time. Madden is no different. Stay humble when you win, and appreciative when you lose, and you will be dominating players online and offline for years to come.