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When playing FPS or other games that rely on fast reaction/aiming, I often feel uncomfortable with the position and/or angle of my hands. I will frequently adjust the position of the mousepad, the keypad, but no position seems to be perfect. I will often die and think I could've nailed that shot if my hand hadn't been slanted at that weird angle, stuff like that. I've tried different angles, putting mouse and keyboard farther away from me, closer to me, closer to each other, farther away from each other ... there doesn't seem to be a sweet spot.

I think it's at least partially psychological, but I would still like to know if any of you had this problem and what I could try to feel more comfortable while gaming. So, what are some common ways to position mouse/mousepad and keyboard? How do I find the right one for me?
Or, in case you think it's mostly a psychological issue, how do I get rid of it? Are there any exercises I can do, any other techniques I could try out?

Playing with a controller is not an option. Thanks!

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In conjunction with Alok's answer, and as you suggested in the OP, "psychological discomfort" can play a part in this as well.

Basically, when playing, there can be just one tiny feeling that can set the whole thing off, and this is usually caused by being stationary for too long. Perhaps a feeling in your wrist leaning on the edge of the desk - causing you to notice your posture, leading to the circulation in your legs etc. It all builds up making you feel like your sitting incorrectly.

Some things that can assist you with this issue:

  1. Your chair: When sitting in front of the PC, your chair is the foundation of your posture, so you want to make sure your chair is positioned correctly to accommodate you:
    • Height: Sitting at the correct height can fix several issues like slouching, pressure on the legs from "hanging" off the chair (which, if unavoidable using a foot stool can lift the legs off the edge of the chair), and pressure on your wrists by lifting your elbows above the desk height.
    • Position: Distance from the desk can account for posture issues, like leaning forward or back too far. Sometimes even using a rolling chair can help, depending on how you're sitting, and can allow you to easily move without disrupting your focus.
    • Padding: Obviously, if you are sitting on a hard chair for extended periods of time, this is going to cause discomfort. Try using a chair that is suitably padded to avoid this.
  2. Your Desk: There are a few things like the location of your keyboard and mouse, light reflection, screen angle and height that can contribute:
    • Screen: Light reflection, screen angle and height can cause discomfort if set up incorrectly. The top of the screen should be at eye level or below, and angled up towards you. The light should be behind you, but not directly on the screen- you want to avoid glare.
    • Keyboard and Mouse: these should be at the same height, and within comfortable reach. Stretching to reach them or even cramping to reach them is not ideal.
    • Desk Surface: Like sitting on a hard surface for extended periods, leaning on a hard surface can cause discomfort. Try padding your wrists (you can find gel cushions in office supply stores for this purpose).
  3. Most Importantly: You! Sitting still is actually unhealthy for long periods of time. So some things to make yourself more comfortable are
    • Avoid tight clothing. This can restrict circulation and breathing. Sometimes even wearing shoes or tight socks should be avoided.
    • Take regular breaks. At the end of a match, or at another regular interval (generally every 20-30 mins) get up and walk around. Grab a drink, go to the toilet. Exercise your body. Even changing your focus regularly helps. By looking out the window or down the hall, you exercise your eyes.

Just by following these steps you can avoid any "tics" that can set you off. Static breeds discomfort!

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While I can't find any resource to specifically mention ergonomic placement in the context of gaming, there are definitely keyboard and mouse positions that would increase muscle stress and fatigue over a long period of time (or frenetic activity like gaming). The U.S. OSHA has an article on keyboard placement. A quick search also found another one on MedicineNet that seems mostly similar.

Some companies such as Razor market ergonomic gaming keyboards, or have other alternatives such as a keypad that might make more sense. Unfortunately, if you're one of those who would prefer a split-type ergonomic gaming keyboard - apparently there isn't one. Of course, you can use any high end split keyboard but it may not support simultaneous presses of multiple keys etc. which can be very important depending on the games played.

Similarly, there are different mice that have a natural contour that makes it easy to rest your entire palm and access multiple buttons without too much movement from the rest position.

With both keyboards and mice, the final choice will depend on you. There is a far bigger choice of right handed gaming mice for example, if you're left handed then probably just settle for a neutral symmetrical design. Also sometimes it might be more about the relative height of your desk and chair, and unrelated to the input peripherals.

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