Not all practice is created equal and some is better than others. Anders Ericsson shows in Peak that deliberate practice seems to have the biggest impact on performance than more casual types of practice.
To make the reporting of my practice more accurate I have broken down what I believe are the 10 types of practice in regards to Super Smash Bros Melee.
1. Tech Practice
Repetitious practice of implementing specific moves or sequences of moves.
2. Punish Practice
Practicing hitting a CPU or low level player with the goal of discovering or perfecting a high % combo ideally leading to the other player losing a stock. This also includes edgeguarding practice.
3. Shadow Boxing
A combination of punish practice and theory crafting at the same time. The player seeing in their minds eye an imaginative reaction by their opponent and practices reacting accordingly.
—–POTENTIALLY DELIBERATE PRACTICE—–
4. Focused Friendlies
Playing against other players with the primary purpose of implementing tech skill you have practiced alone.
5. Theory Crafting
Thinking about game situations and what you could do it each situation. Mentally playing it out in your mind to discover the best options.
Watching your own (or others’) games and analyzing where you went wrong and what could be improved. Generally focused on tech skill you are failing to implement properly, punishes that could be extended or avoiding getting hit.
6. Watching Pros Play
Watching someone else play your specific character with the goal of trying to learn new/better things to do. This may be punishes, tech skill or neutral game. It is from here a lot of your best options are discovered.
—–NOT DELIBERATE PRACTICE—–
Tournaments are the point of the practice, where you go head to head with other players to see who’s better. While I don’t consider this practice, tournament nerves affect performance and thus more exposure to tournament lowers these nerves and increases performance.
8. Unfocused Friendlies
Playing with friends with a focus on trying to win rather than focused on implementing tech skill. Good for learning neutral game, discovering best options in certain circumstance as well as implementing punishes.
9. Goofing Off
Unfocused game play, generally not playing as your main character but as a low tier or other character just for fun with no real intention of pushing yourself to improve. This often happens when doing friendlies with very low level players.