The question I often ask myself is...
How can I actually train myself to become a better player?
The answer is simple -- every time you open up Sc2 you must be focused on improving your gameplay. Not forgetting that you are playing to improve your skill level is the life blood of a successful training regime.
Okay, that may be a bit vague.
So here are 5 specific strategies you can begin to implement today and start training to become a better player.
Links and strategy after the jump.
1. Practice building your macro play without combat
If you are not in the diamond league it is likely that you need to work on your macro. If you cannot build and sustain a successful macro play without an opponent, what makes you think you can do so while also having to worry about being attacked/attacking? A great way to start practicing your macro play is to create a custom game versus a very easy computer. You should be able to build a 200 supply army and expand at an appropriate time without getting supply blocked and without floating excessive resources. Also consider throwing some scouting into your practice sessions when you feel your APM can handle it. Check out YABOT training maps as well (Link).
2. Watch Pro-Gamers
Pro-gamers are the masters of the game and everyone can learn from watching them play. Here are some websites that I like to visit to download replays:
Here is a website where some Pros actually stream their live games so you can see them playing in action. Some of these guys even take questions! Very cool.
3. Read through strategy posts on the Team Liquid website
The strategy forums on the Team Liquid website are a treasure trove of information. One example of the type of gold you can find is this 2v2 strategy that is absolutely killer and got me and a friend (2 Plat league players) to top tier Diamond. Read through the forums and search for anything from build orders to effective counters for specific types of builds.
4. Watch Expert Game Analysis of Pro-Gamer Replays
When I first started playing I had absolutely no idea what I was doing. A friend of mine recommended that I watch Day9 in order to start learning the basics. Needless to say that watching Day9 really exposed me to a lot of ideas (Macro v. Micro, army composition, etc.) that I would have come across much more slowly had I not watched. Day9 is not the only person you can watch, there are also these guys:
5. Know Exactly Why You Lost
A skill you will have to develop is the ability to analyze a replay and know how or why things turned out the way they did. A very simple example of this is this current replay where I lost to a top tiered Protoss player. This is a short 7 minute game where a proxy pylon was dropped into my base and essentially allowed my opponent to have his way with me. I lost because I did not scout my own base.
Check out a few of your own replays and try to see what you did right/wrong.