Can you improve your aim with a long thumbstick?

Updated: Jan 8

Have you been looking for some sort of way to improve your aim when playing on your Playstation or Xbox? Maybe you don´t like the feeling that the thumbstick has, or maybe it has been worn down by years of use. In any case, there is an easy solution to your problem. But first...

Are there different types of thumbsticks?


Now, if you want is to improve your grip and precision, any raised thumbstick will do the trick. However, if you are really competitive and want to squeeze any and all advantages that you can out of your accessories, there are more specialized alternatives. Some, however, require you to unscrew your stick to replace it with another.


As Scuf, one of the leading producers of these replacements indicates. There are at least four main types depending on their shape and length:

  • Concave Thumbsticks for more movement control.

  • Domed Thumbsticks for more accuracy.

  • Short Thumbsticks for quicker movement speed.

  • Tall Thumbsticks for more precise aiming.

The idea behind these sticks is simple. The shorter the stick, the more it reacts to small movements of your hand, so the faster the cursor moves, the more "twitchy" it is. The longer the stick, the opposite happens. You need more pressure to move the camera, but it moves exactly where you want it to, and it stays there.


The shape of a concave stick it´s better to hold your thumb, while the domed it´s better to push it. For this reason, some people recommend having a concave right stick and a domed left one.


But, if you don´t want to decide or replace your stick, a simple extension will work wonders.


What is a thumbstick extender?


A thumbstick, or analog stick, is the little nub at the bottom of your controller that you push with your thumb, usually to move your character or the camera. If you ever played on a gaming console before, you have used a thumbstick.


The problem with thumbsticks is that sometimes they are made out of cheap materials or badly constructed. This can lead to all sorts of problems, like the dreaded drift, but also minor things like having a bad grip on your thumb or even sometimes falling off entirely.


You can mitigate these effects, and even increase your performance, by buying a thumbstick extender, or a long thumbstick (they are also sometimes called raised thumbstick). But what are they?


As the name suggests, extenders are little caps that you put in your thumbstick to, well, extend them. They are not replacements, they are grips that you put on top of the stick. These extenders are different from your usual grips because they extend the tip of the stick to make it easier for your thumb to reach it.


But why?


How do thumbstick extensions work?


After snugly putting the extender atop your thumbstick, you will notice that your thumb will have a slightly easier time reaching the nub. But, at the same time, it takes a bit more effort to push it and move it around.


The end result is that this makes the stick slightly less sensitive to little twitches and movements of your hand, therefore increasing the precision of your aiming.


The raised stick also helps keep your thumb from sliding down the nub and thus keep it steady. Most raised sticks have a special surface (at least in comparison to a normal thumbstick) that gives you a better grip when you hold them.


Is a long thumbstick good for improving your aim?


It doesn´t matter if you replaced your whole stick or bought an extension, do they actually work? Will they improve your aim with a controller?


Yes, they will modestly improve your aiming, but don´t expect it to be day and night after getting a long thumbstick. It´s a moderate improvement, not enough to gain the edge in most cases. However, once you try them, you might find them to be more comfortable than the default stick most of the time.


Luckily, thumbstick extenders are cheap and easy to install, so you can try them yourself to see if they make any difference. They have a bit of an adjustment period, but if you try them for a couple of hours you should see a small improvement... or at least you´ll know if they aren´t for you.


And if you still feel like it´s not enough, you can always try to connect a mouse to your favorite console, although it will not always work as expected. Or, you can try overclocking your controller to increase its response rate.