Sherry Nhan's Tournament Tips

Sherry Nhan's Tournament Tips
By Sherry Nhan

We all know how nerve-racking it is to attend your first tournament. Hell, I've been playing competitively for six years, and my hands still shake after my first match in pools! But I've picked some things up along the way to help me control my nerves and prepare for tournaments that I'll share with you here.

1. Practice, Practice, Practice!

As obvious as this is, many players procrastinate practicing until a week before pools. I would know, because I'm surely guilty of it! 

First, focus your practices by keeping a goal in mind. Take a look at your pools, and try to do as much research as you can on your opponents by learning what character they play and their playstyle. Not all of their information may be online, so sometimes you just have to wing it. Study the matchups against their character, even if you feel comfortable--their playstyle could still surprise you!

P.S. I don't believe in the whole "I'm a badass, so I don't look at my bracket. I just play because I'm good enough." I have seen players like Daigo, Tokido, and Infiltration watch videos of their opponents before they play.

2. Get Plenty of Rest

This is probably one of the HARDEST tasks at a tournament. Once you arrive at the venue on a Thursday night, your first instinct is to run to the nearest money match room and play until everyone literally falls asleep sitting up. As fun as that can be, it isn't the best choice right before pools on Friday or Saturday morning. A blasting alarm and cold shower can only do so much. I would recommend 6-7 hours of sleep to avoid feeling sluggish. You have to make sure your reactions are on point in the morning!

3. Bring the Proper Equipment

Don't show up without a fightstick or pad to play on! I have arrived at majors in the past without a fightstick because of how much of a hassle it was to bring it through airport security. But I will be the first to tell you how vital it is to bring your own. Besides the inconvenience of asking someone to borrow their stick constantly, each stick has its own unique feel. It could be the same brand, model, and buttons, but the stick will still somehow feel different than the one you're used to practicing on at home--trust me. Clicking buttons and doing DPs on someone else's fightstick will never feel as natural as doing it on yours!

If you have a pad, you definitely have to bring your own. Finding a converter or someone in the venue who has a converter for your setup is difficult. Leaving your pad or fightstick at home is basically the same as forgetting your house keys when you leave the house.

4. Practice Good Hygiene

Last, but not least, bring wet wipes, body soap, hand sanitizer, etc. Being at an event full of people means the amount of germs will be overwhelming. Shaking hands, hugs, and even bumping fists transfers germs. I have gotten sick over a tournament weekend before, and it definitely kills the entire weekend. Just in case, bring some Emergen-C, as well. It's always better to be safe than sorry!

And take your daily showers. You don't want to end up being the infamous smelly person at a tournament!

These are the four basic steps I take before going to a tournament. If you follow my lead, I promise you'll feel more confident and prepared going into your next tournament.

Do you have your own pre-tournament routine? If so, feel free to share it below in the comments or tweet to me @sherryjenix.
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