So the other day I was catching up with a friend who’s an avid player of Fortnite on PC. Over a hot cup of coffee, we got talking tactics and techniques, and then she mentioned something that really caught my attention… (Up to that point I was really engrossed in my double caramel latte!) She said that she plays with her keyboard turned 90 degrees from the normal position.
My literal first thought was – ‘How’s she been sitting there like that for so long!’.
It got me thinking, and I did some sniffing around. And it turns out I’m not the only one with this burning question!
Believe it or not turning a keyboard in a pro gamers world is actually super common! And there are loads of reasons why they all do it!
Pro gamers turn their keyboard for many reasons, including ergonomics, space, so they can hit more keys, size of the keyboard, and better control.
Now you know the reasons, let’s take a look at each reason in more depth!
Pro gamers turn their keyboard because it’s helpful in terms of ‘Ergonomics’
So, for those of you out there who might not be familiar with the word ‘ergonomics’, it means that whatever equipment you use has to be designed to fit a user organically in a way that minimizes the risk of injury or repetitive strain.
Think of it like this. You get a fancy new mouse mat with a big blob of gel on one end. This jelly is there to support your wrist as you play or work with your mouse!
Anyway, back to business.
Your average pro gamer spends hours each day practicing and playing games for real money! Which means that comfort is really important!
Turning the keyboard at an angle provides comfort to the gamer. Just like gaming chairs provide comfort for their bottoms…
But how does simply turning your keyboard increase comfort?
Basically, when you sit naturally at a desk with your elbows at the side of your body, your hand naturally sits at roughly a 45-degree angle. This means that to hit the all-important WASD keys, a person using their left hand has to uncomfortably cock their wrist slightly to the left to compensate for that natural 45-degree angle.
Over time, this can get tiring, and can even cause injury. So what is the answer?
Turn your keyboard so it’s perpendicular to the angle of your arm.
This should then reduce the amount of stress and tension placed on the wrist, arms, neck, and back!
Let’s check out some other reasons!
Pro Gamers Turn Their Keyboard Because It Gives Them More Mouse Maneuvering Room.
Picture this, you’re sitting at a small-ish desk, you’ve got people to your left and right, and you’re playing to win big bucks on Fortnite! That all-important one-shot will rule them all…
You don’t have the option of getting more room. But you need to be able to move your mouse around as much as possible. So what do you do?
You turn your keyboard!
Yes it’s as simple as that…
the keyboard at an angle frees up a lot of desk space for gamers to move their mouse around. This means that they don’t have to worry about hitting the mouse into the keyboard!
How annoying would it be to be sleuthing around the Fortnite map, lurking for your next target, you get a bead, you’re almost there… then BAM! You run your mouse into the edge of your keyboard and miss the winning shot! End game…
This could literally mean the end of a gaming career for some!
So, one tiny little space-saving action could really be the make or break of it all.
Let’s have a look at our next reason…
Pro Gamers Turn Their Keyboard Because They Can Reach More Keys
A slight turn of a keyboard allows a gamer, pro or not, to actually reach more keys!
Take Fornite again as an example, in this game you have to assign a lot of keys to different parts of the game! Some of the keys are going to help you build your defensible fortress, while others are your ever-ready weapons…
You see, most gamers default the trusted WASD keys to move them around. By that I mean, A and D strafe the player sideways. While W and S move the player forward and backward. The Thumb then sits on the space bar which is often used for jumping.
Your other fingers can then reach a lot of other keys for other abilities.
However, it’s not the best way simply because you’re actually limiting the number of keys your fingers and thumb can reach without moving your hand by using a Keyboard in this traditional WASD way.
If you turn your keyboard 45 degrees on its side, you can remap the keys so you can actually reach a lot more keys when you stretch out your fingers. In fact, when I’ve tested out remapping WASD keys to R56T, R, and 6 for strafing and 5and T for moving forward and back, I could reach nearly 60 keys which is more than double the amount in the normal WASD position. I know, the R56T combination sounds strange, right? But it really does work!
Let’s check out our next reason…
Pro Gamers Turn Their Keyboards because Some Keyboards Are Really Big!
While most would be happy to display their large keyboard, some pro gamers prefer to put their big boards to one side in favor of saving space!
Keyboards come in all sizes, and what can I say some are pretty gigantic! Which means they need all the room they can get. But…
If you go back to my earlier point about space being limited, you’ll see how having a huge keyboard in a small environment could be more of a hindrance than a help!
When you go to LAN tournaments, you’re in it to win it, so you’ll do whatever it takes to succeed. Even if that means your precious, expensive keyboard away from you to get more mouse movement…
Although if you’re looking for a decent-sized keyboard the ‘HyperX Alloy FPS’ keyboard is a good one to start with for FPS game lovers!
Check out our final reason below…
Pro Gamers Turn Their Keyboard Because It Gives Them More Control
When pros are sitting in the hot seat, waiting patiently for a game to begin, they don’t need to be thinking of silly, mundane things like losing control!
Yet, some do manage to lose control of their equipment, and then of their game!
But, one way of minimising this issue is to angle your keyboard!
The turning helps to bring all of the reasons I’ve mentioned already into action, which results in a gamer having a lot more control of themselves, the game, and of their gameplay!
Ergonomics + Space + Hit more key + Size of the keyboard = Control
Basically, adding all the reasons together is gonna bring immense control to you and the game. Control is essential during a gaming tournament.
Plus there is also the added bonus that you sort of balance your arm on the desk when you have a turned keyboard. So you literally have more control because you’re arms not flopping around!
So in theory, what’s not to love about a turned keyboard!
Limitations Of Your Keyboard
While there are many reasons why pro gamers turn their keyboards, there are many people who believe that turning keyboards might actually be more uncomfortable for a gamer!
Consider this, as you bring your keyboard closer to you, you might actually find that your elbows flare out more than they should. This, in turn, could lead to a painful shoulder, and a tightened neck.
Not to mention the position doesn’t even look that comfortable, to begin with!
Potentially the biggest limitation of all is that the everyday gamer will try this at home and won’t get success immediately. They’ll end up becoming more and more frustrated, and will end up losing faith in this method – when really it’s a pretty epic skill to have!
Don’t be “That” gamer! Practice, practice, and practice some more!
Before you go, if you do want to try this at home, you should check out my next section on how much to angle your keyboard!
How Much Should You Angle Your Keyboard?
I urge you to really consider what I’m about to say because, and believe it or not, you could actually hurt yourself if you don’t take what I’m saying seriously!
The temptation after seeing a pro gamer turn their keyboard is to copy them!
The pro gamer you’ve just been watching has had months, or even years, to practice using a turned keyboard! They didn’t just wake up and think ‘bam let’s turn this keyboard to 90° and we’ll still be a pro!’ They had to practice…
The same goes for those of you who want to try using an angled keyboard!
You could hurt yourself – arms, neck, wrists, and fingers
Damage something in your neck or back with all the twisting
The easiest way to start off is to move your keyboard a few degrees at a time! The optimum starting positing position for new keyboard turning users is about 20°.
Remember you’re not competing with anyone, you’re just trying something new!
Slowly and over time increase your angle, but only when your body has actually adjusted to the new gaming position!
On a final note, don’t expect to be a wizard to begin with. Learning your new angled position, like all skills, will take time. Set yourself a goal of practicing with the new angle for 10 hours. Then, only after you’ve completed the 10 hours, review how you feel about angling your keyboard. Do not rush to form an opinion that angling your keyboard is not right for you.
There are many reasons why pro gamers turn their keyboards! These reasons go from comfort to practicality, and all the way increased control.
There is not one ruling reason why pro gamers turn their keyboard. Rather it is a combination of all the reasons I’ve discussed!
If you mix the first 4 reasons (Ergonomics, Space, Hit more key and Size of the keyboard) you’ll end up with a lot of control in a game. Which is vital in any tournament!
However, I’m fairly confident in saying this, this keyboard turning skill is one of those skills that gets better with practice and time!
So now I know why they turn their keyboards, what keyboards do pros use? So there are thousands of keyboards out there for gamers, but CSGOPEDIA has made a nice list of the best ones out there. Check them out here.
Should I be using a mechanical keyboard? Mechanical keyboards are extremely popular in the gaming world, but are they really better than regular keyboards, check out what strore.hp said here.
How do pro gamers sit? We know why they turn their keyboards, but what other ways to pro gamers ensure they’re comfortable. Check out this article by ergodirect on the seating positions of pro gamers here.