Overwatch Trigger Discipline Guide

by StormcrowProductions

Greetings, rMy name is Spilo. I’m a Pro GM Coach, and I’m here to explain the concept of Trigger Discipline.

Due to the vast number of times the term “Trigger Discipline” will be written, I will abbreviate the term as “T.D.” for the rest of this guide.

I define T.D. for single shot heroes (McCree, Zen, Ana) as the conscious focus of only pulling the trigger when you believe the shot has the potential of landing. For tracking heroes, it’s better described as the constant evaluation of whether your crosshair is on target before holding down the button. Either way, it’s not simply a question of mechanics, but of mental focus.

To make sure the reader has a proper understanding of the concept I’m speaking of, let me refer you to some rough examples(pardon my patchy aim- I just recently made a significant change in sensitivity).

Bad Soldier (Tracking) T.D. : https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rowb52vRJe4

Notice the continuous flow on bullets despite the crosshair noticeably lagging behind target movement.

Good Soldier (Tracking) T.D. : https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QdByrjW8S34

Notice that, despite the lack of mechanical tracking skill, a continuous evaluation is applied by the shooter. Once the crosshair is misaligned for even the smallest of moments, the fire ceases, and a conscious effort is made to re-align the crosshair before continuing fire.

Bad Zenyatta (Flicking, Single Shot) T.D. : https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BHQT5Rjx67w

No effort is made to individually direct each orb at the target’s hitbox. Instead, an effort is made to “track” the enemy’s hitbox as the mouse button is mashed.

Good Zenyatta (Flicking, Single Shot) T.D. : https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=i5hXofpPogs

Notice that, despite the lack of precise crosshair placement for each shot, a continuous evaluation of the previous shot’s accuracy leads to a brief evaluation before firing another shot. Underflicked the Ana? That information is given time to process in order to more accurately fire the next shot. Notice that accuracy often increases the longer the target is engaged, as the continuous effort to interpret in-game movements and translate them to external physical movements usually leads to more and more accurate results.

Now that we’ve defined and demonstrated Bad and Good T.D., you probably have a decent idea why it’s a harmful habit we should all strive to break. However, it’s probable that you underestimate just how harmful a lack of T.D. can be. Here are four reasons why you should attempt to fix yours:

  1. Fundamentally, training T.D. means you do more damage. Naturally you’ll be firing fewer shots which may lead you to think that you’ll be doing less damage if you are more cautious with your trigger. On the contrary, when you put more conscious effort into each individual shot, the percentage increase of shots landed will make up for the reduced number of shots fired- a simple matter of quality over quantity. This is especially the case for heroes who output high damage in small bursts (think Hanzo, Widowmaker, Ashe).
  2. Strong T.D. means less time spent reloading. In the fast-paced game of Overwatch, an extra reload mid-engagement can be a life or death matter. When more of your shots land and more of your shots matter, your reload-per-minute stat will decrease noticeably.
  3. T.D. encourages good aim training habits. Optimally we’d all like to be able to be mechanically gifted enough to output damage at the maximum rate of fire for every hero. However for those of us (99.99% of us) who aren’t trained to that level, better T.D. means faster improvement at our mechanical skill. This is because every shot/tracking endeavor we make is a conscious connection between our eyes and arm, not a random collection of mashed mouse buttons and fluttering eye lids. If every single engagement we take is made with T.D. in mind, that means every single engagement is being cataloged as learned muscle memory!
  4. Lastly, T.D. allows us to clear our minds, and approach engagements with greater clarity. Perhaps the most overlooked benefit of T.D., conscious T.D. effort made in engagements can often clarify your mental process in training other engagement habits. Perhaps your focus for training this week as McCree is waiting for perfect opportunities to flashbang Tracer. Tracer engages and panic ensues. You mash down your button, and frantically click wildly, missing your shots, and losing your focus on the engagement. Now, imagine instead of panic, a moment of focus where you only take shots that you believe you can land. With that level of focus on your aim, you’ll also be more likely to better calculate your flashbang timing. When you are focused on your opponents positioning for your crosshair, it opens up clarity for other training habits to be built with ease. Think about your last engagement as Zen vs. Tracer- did you do better in that engagement when you were calmly focused on killing, or when you were panicked?


Does Trigger Discipline apply to projectile heroes?

Absolutely. Trigger Discipline is incredibly important for projectile heroes, as it forces the player to better track and predict the enemy’s movement patterns, the most critical component of projectile mechanics.

How do I properly train T.D.?

While fully mastering T.D. is something that no player in Overwatch can truly attest to, it is something that can and should be purposefully trained in Warmup (Free For All Deathmatch is my preferred warmup). It is also something that can and should be purposefully trained in Competitive (although it holds less importance in Competitive in comparison to other focuses like positioning and cooldown usage). Don’t be frustrated if you don’t immediately achieve success- mechanics AND good mechanical habits take consistent training over long periods of time to “master.”

My mechanics aren’t good enough for me to consistently place my crosshair where I want to (for tracking or single-shot heroes! Can I still train T.D.?

Absolutely. Remember, T.D. is more of a discipline of the mind, not the body. At its simplest, T.D. is simply focusing on the effortof crosshair placement/target tracking. If you aren’t consistently placing your crosshair where you want to, but you are carefully selecting shots, and never blindly emptying your clip into open space, then that is the T.D. concept in application. Patient application of these concepts will yield results.

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