How to improve your reaction time

Learning to react like a god

Reaction time is critical in Counter-strike source for obvious reasons. In the end, Counter-strike source all boils down to who can kill who faster. If you have faster reflexes than your opponent, you have more time to aim, thus have a higher likelihood of killing them first.

Before getting into this though, we should cover a very, very important element if you're training your reflexes outside of CS.


Imagine being able to train your aim in Counter-Strike subconsciously, while surfing the web. Wouldn't that be nice? To not even be playing the game, yet still improving your cs aim. Well you can young grasshopper. The key word is synchronization. A huge way to gain an edge in CS is to make windows and your in-game mouse sensitivities nearly identical.
This is especially important if you are planning to train your reactions using any windows or internet game.

I will go into a lot more detail on synchronization in an upcoming mouse configuration guide, but for now, just make your mouse movement in windows and in CS, feel the same. I am lucky as my default sensitivity in game is very similar to windows.


Microsoft's mouse sensitivity algorithm is very bad for gaming. Anything other than the default sensitivity will cause you to lose precision. If you feel a large difference between windows and your in-game mouse sensitivity your only choice is to change your mouse sensitivity in game. You can do this by bringing down your console and typing: sensitivity "#".

Stress Training

Many average gamers think that Counter-Strike alone will improve their reaction time enough. The truth is, Counter-strike does indeed improve your reactions, but at a very slow rate. Counter-strike is a slow game. Players creep around to get the jump on each other, and when they finally do, the firefight is over in seconds. That's where stress training comes in. To take your game to a higher level quickly, you need to train your reflexes daily and in multiple ways.

Stress training is forcing your reactions to improve by placing them under extreme stress for several minutes.

Listed below are some great ways to improve reaction time

  • Counter-strike Deathmatch
    Great for building better reaction-time and aim, but has the adverse effect of making your game sloppy. Deathmatch servers are complete chaos. There's no time to stop, so it's great for rusty players who haven't played in a long time, or people new to first person shooters. If you play in a league, do not use DM as a way of practice or you'll find yourself getting yelled at by your team-mates for pushing and costing them the match.
  • Mission Red
    These flash games were designed for people to improve their reaction time and aim. I play these daily and recommend them as a short warm-up before a match. Reflex2 is my personal favorite.
  • 1 v 1 aim maps
    1v1's are great for building reactions and aim. Make sure you 1v1 someone equal or of better skill than yourself. By doing so you'll force yourself to be quicker on the draw. (Note: Aim_ak_colt is one of my personal favorites)

Physical effects on reaction time

  • Get proper sleep.
    I can't stress this point enough. If you don't get at least 8 hours sleep a night, you won't react as fast as someone that did. Don't let your opponent get more sleep than you.
  • Work off that moneymaker.
    It's easy to put on a few excess pounds while playing a FPS; it's even easier to become so fat that you blot out the sun. To be the best, you need to keep your weight under control. Heavy people are slow and it has been proven that people whom are in better shape, also have faster reactions, both mentally and physically.
  • Time your blinking.
    It may sound silly, but even blinking effects reaction time. Make sure you don't get gunned down because you blinked at the wrong time. Blink during times when you have team-mates covering you, not when you're on your own and anticipating an enemy.
  • Powerful tunes
    Music can cause a spike in your adrenaline which will cause your perceptions and reactions to be increased for several minutes. I remember back in the days of Quake-world Team-fortress, i would bind a key in game to play a custom sound file with my "hype-up" music. This was a great tactic to kick-start my reactions when they were feeling sluggish.
  • Energy Drinks
    Reacting quickly requires the mind to be alert, so energy drinks are a great way to temporarily boost mental performance. Make sure the energy drink you choose does not give you a crash effect, or worse, the "jitters". Cybershotsz is a fairly new drink on the market that claims to have no crash or jittery side-effects. Better yet, it's apparently been formulated specifically for gamers. I will review this drink as soon as i can get my hands on one.

    Most of these points are common knowledge, but even if you sparked one idea off this post, you're in the right direction for improving your reaction time. Do you have any favorite ways to improve your reaction time? Share them with us!

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