In part 4 of our 6 Week eSports Improvement Plan we focused on the importance of experimentation. We also took a deeper look at the background skills you’ve been developing and how they are necessary to the longevity of your improvement. During week 4 you may have taken a hit on your win percentage and fell back a little ways. This was expected because of the radical shift you were taking in your play. Taking risks, changing characters, and even philosophies can be disruptive. However, the hope is that you took small bits away from the experience that you can use and apply to your current strategy.
It’s important to become comfortable in your discomfort as we stated before. However, it’s also important to be comfortable with losing when you’re pursuing a better understanding of the game, and yourself.
As always, below is the 6 week schedule.
You will notice that weeks 5 and 6 have the same structure and play time that week 4 did. However, with these two weeks, that structure is merely a guideline or something to fall back on. The main focus of week 5 is outreach. This means you will be focusing a lot of your time finding people to play with. The goal of this week is to simulate a true competitive environment while practicing. The difference for your improvement between playing with random people online, and those you have spoken to and set out an intention to play with is enormous.
This applies to every single genre in eSports. Let’s look at a few examples.
Solo Genre (FGC, Starcraft, etc.)
You should be looking for people to play with that are at or above your current skill level. People who are willing to put in a good chunk of time playing, and are open to conversation about the matches. It’s not always easy to find people like this. In that case, just finding anyone who can run long sets with is important. The difference in the way people play against random opponents online, and how they play someone they are talking to is important. This is the best way to simulate the tournament experience and put yourself in the proper mindset.
Anyone in the FGC will tell you how different the two cultures of players are. How much different an online match feels from a tournament match.
Team Genre (MOBAs, FPS, etc.)
Ideally you are looking for a full team to run games with. This isn’t always the easiest due to time restrictions and schedules. However, the goal here isn’t to be too picky on the level of skill you bring to the games. Of course you don’t want to have just anyone on the team. But you don’t have to look for people who are at or above your skill level either. Just having a full group of people can help you learn how to shot call, or follow calls. It’s important to simulate the feeling of being in a team, and what that puzzle can look and feel like.
If you are unable to find a full group of people, then just finding one or a few will still help to simulate the experience. Even if you’re a solo queue player who is only looking to improve your solo queue rankings and experience, having someone to play with is great for expanding your ability. Although for that, you would have to be picky about the experience of the player.
Regardless of the genre that you focus on. The act of reaching out to players and people and getting responses can be difficult. Not to mention the coordination of schedules. However, it is one of those background skills that need to be examined and worked on. This is why you see most professional players playing with other professionals. Not always on the same skill level, but at least within reach.
Here are some tips to help you secure more play time with others through this week.
- Don’t just post a “looking for” style post on your social media. Although it can work and be effective at times depending on the size of your following. Instead, try to send private messages to people on top of your posts. People are far more receptive to things if you’re directly reaching out to them. Often times we filter out certain posts with our minds, and just bypass them. A direct message will peak interest, and give you a better chance.
- Free up your schedule and have specific days, times, and duration in mind. Its up to you to do this legwork. The last thing you want to do is reach out to people without clear answers, or worse not being able to make your own play sessions.
- Be willing to take chances on the people who do respond, and don’t get hung up on those who don’t. You may ask a ton of people, and get little to no response. It happens. Continue being persistent on your search. This won’t be the first time you do this.
As you get better at this, you will start to build connections with people. People will start to recognize your name, and their connections will start to know you as well. Before you know it, you’ll have a steady stream of resources at your finger tips.
While playing with people that you’ve reached out too. You should still follow the strategy used in previous weeks. Make sure you’re recording and reviewing your footage. Writing down your goals, and setting new ones. As well as challenging yourself during the week.
Improvement in eSports is a multi layered experience. That goes beyond just the amount of time you spend playing. It requires extending yourself to others, and putting yourself in the realistic position to succeed. Having a group of connections that you have built, will provide you access to quality practice far more frequently. Plus you never know, you may end up making a few friends in the process.
The biggest struggle that most players have with this is accountability and motivation. Often times that’s the coach’s job with the player. If you are interested in hiring your own coach:
Week 6 will be coming soon.