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 we go through the last part of the 6 Week improvement plan, we will be covering week 4. With each week we add new elements to your training that go beyond just playing. These elements are important for continuing your improvement after the 6 weeks are over. They can easily be overlooked without a coach. Before we jump into what makes week 4 different. Let’s address these new elements. Continue Reading–>
However, weeks 2 and 3 is where you will start to see and feel improvement. During these two weeks you will be introducing new challenges and new tests. Not only will they test your resolve, but they will also provide you opportunities to see growth. As in our last post, below you will see a picture of the 6 week plan. Lets break down weeks 2 and 3 to see how they differ, and explain the progression. Continue Reading–>
For most of our posts we focus on broad aspects of competition. Mental fortitude, types of practice, and novel ideas that can help you improve. Although those things are necessary for improvement. They don’t always have the immediate practical applications. So for this post, I will be bringing you our 6 Week eSports Improvement Plan. This 6 week plan is a rough outline of a system I use when coaching players.
First I am going to show you what the 6 week eSports Improvement plan looks like, and then I’ll break down each week and the mindset you should take going in. This is going to be broken up into a few posts over the next couple of weeks.
Note: Weeks 4/5/6 are highlighted because the amount of time spent isn’t changing but the concepts are.
Keep in mind that this is a guideline. Everyone functions off of different schedules and time restrictions. The days are interchangeable based on your situation. Most tournaments around me happen to be on Wednesdays, and so I wrote it as such. The recommended hours of play, can also be adjusted and my reasoning will be explained throughout this post. However, the core aspects cannot be changed. I recommend a rest day or break. As well as a 2 day gap between your tournament or challenge, and your unlimited session.
Note: These concepts work for any game. These values are recommended to improve your performance, however you will need more time spent to go pro.Continue Reading–>
In our previous post ‘The Inner Voice (Managing Self-Talk in eSports) we focused a lot on bringing awareness to your Inner Voice. How it can be affecting your mindset as a whole, and possibly blocking your potential. We introduced ways that you can take control of your Inner Voice and shape the way you approach every game. Having control over your pre game Self-Talk and your post game Self-Talk will keep you motivated and engaged in your performance.
For this post we are going to focus on a type of Self-Talk that is undeniably the most damaging to your performance. Mid game Self-Talk can manifest in many different ways. Each way changing based on the circumstances. For example if you are practicing online, which isn’t always ideal, it can rear it’s ugly face and fill your mind with quotes like “Oh this is so _____. If this was offline, I would be winning right now.” Likewise, “I’m better than this, why am I losing?” I’m sure you can remember many times thoughts like these have crossed your mind. The issue with having that type of Self-Talk is that it shuts out any potential practice you could be getting. Since your mental and emotional attention are focused on how you feel about what’s happening. Then your “practice” session turns into either a waste of time where you’re just playing to play and getting frustrated, or it turns into a session where you seek validation from victories. Either situation makes the time you’re dedicating unfocused and unproductive.
We all know that online and offline play can be radically different. So much so, that some players refuse to play online at all. Rather opting to practice in person, even if it is at a lower frequency. However, we don’t always have the opportunity to play people offline or play the right people offline. In instances that we are forced to get our practice online, there are adjustments that we must make to feel confident in our next tournament or LAN performance. Let’s go over a few things that can help you get the most out of your online practice.
Let’s go over all the things that we hate about practicing online.
Throughout all of our blog posts we always try to maintain a core theme. That core theme being the act of focusing on what YOU can control. We know all of the variables that come with competition. Your independent learning curve, the wild nature of each game, your opponents, etc. So we write about Goal Setting, Benchmarking, and most recently Ritualization. However, something always occurs when you start to dial in on your own performance. You awaken The Inner Voice.
Everyone’s inner voice may show up differently, but the most common connotation is that of a negative one. Self-Talk is often the product of a reaction. On this journey of progress and improvement, it’s common to do more losing than winning. Which is why having emotional resilience is key. However, losing more so than winning, may always illicit this type of negative self-talk reaction. If left unchecked it can create a cycle of negative reinforcement that can derail progress from players of any skill level.
With these factors in mind, the Inner Voice can be an incredibly destructive presence to your performance. To remedy that let’s dig deep into what Self-Talk is, when it shows up, and how you can gain control over your Inner Voice.Continue Reading–>
Out of all the amazing things top eSports competitors are capable of, consistency has to be at the top of my list. Regardless of winning first place or not. You can almost always guarantee your favorite top competitor is going to make it into top 8. Even with increased pressure that comes from that expectation. We see it all the time through twitter apologies for poor performance, sometimes anger, and sometimes just confusion. These players carry their organizations on their back, along with their fans. It’s a lot to carry, yet they still seem to always succeed.
The ability to go out to each and every tournament and be a cut above the rest is truly something remarkable. Especially when you consider all the variables that are thrown at you in any given game. RNG, your opponents, match ups, schedules, sleep etc. So how do they do it? What is their secret technique for consistency? How can you become more consistent?
Tournament preparation can make a huge difference in how you perform. We recently explored the reasons you might play better in practice than in tournament. With so many different factors to tournament performance, we decided to give you six very simple guidelines that will help you at your first tournament or even your 100th.
Avoid Staying Up All Night Playing
“Practice as much as I can the night before that way my brain will be fresh, right?” It’s an old method used before taking tests. They usually call it cramming, and where that sometimes works for small bits of information, it is far less beneficial for competition.
The truth is, practicing early before you go to sleep is far more effective. This allows your brain to properly reflect and process the information it has taken in for the day, giving you a far stronger memory. Sleeping will help you subconsciously visualize the tournament.
A good night’s sleep is impactful for your reaction times too. Moderate sleep deprivation has been known to create the same effect on your reaction time as drinking a single beer.
Overall sleep studies have come a long way to prove that adequate sleep has a huge impact on how we function. Our motivation, ability to stay calm and collected or manage our emotions are all affected by the way that we sleep.
Even if you just want to get that last game in…..put it down, and let your brain wind down. It may already be difficult to sleep, due to the anticipation of your tournament. Try not to make it any harder for yourself.
(Trusting yourself here will help with confidence and consistency)
The Right Kind of Fuel
DISCLAIMER: I AM NOT A NUTRITIONIST!!!! Okay, now that we got that out of the way.
Make sure you eat well the night before and the day of the tournament. The combination of sleep, and food plays a HUGE role in how well your brain functions during your games. The worst feeling in the world is being tired and sluggish before playing.
You should factor in the possibility that you will do well in your tournament. In fact, this should always be a belief that you have going in.This means that you will be playing deeper into the tournament. Meaning you have more matches, and more wait times. It’s difficult for the brain and the body to maintain throughout the ups and downs of adrenaline that you will be producing without sufficient nutrients.
Try to get a nice protein rich breakfast, and reduce the amount of caffeine intake throughout your day. Avoiding caffeine can be particularly difficult as the tournaments you go to can have energy drinks at the venue. Tempting as it may be, and though it can absolutely increase your alertness, too much of it can leave you unable to actively think. So you’re moving a million miles a second, but you lack proper decision quality. Not to mention the inevitable crash, mentally, physically, and worst of all emotionally. My rule of thumb is to drink about half of what I would normally consume.
When and what you put in your body is often overlooked at tournaments. So you should absolutely make it a consideration before you play. Not to mention being healthy is always a good thing.
Do Your Research
Without a doubt, studying your opponents, strategies and your own opportunities is the most important thing you can do, next to practicing.
It never ceases to amaze me how often people will just go to a tournament completely unprepared. Willing to drive hours, spend money and time, but won’t do a half hour worth of research.
Your research time should be spent reflecting on your goals, or studying opponents. Hopefully you are lucky enough to see your bracket ahead of time. It’s amazing to me that players will shy away from looking at their bracket. Don’t be afraid of it! If you are trying to be the best, then you’re goal is to beat everyone anyway. Being able to see your bracket ahead of time, is like having a map in a minefield. You can see your obstacles, and plan for them, especially now that a quick search online can find you almost anyone’s tournament footage.
If you don’t have such opportunities to study your opponents, then spend the time studying yourself. Take a look at your goals for this tournament. Ask yourself what your fears and concerns are. Try to boil it down to the immediate. What can I fix now? What will I be most comfortable focusing on before this tournament? If you struggle with situational knowledge, then look at that. Route running? Match-up knowledge?
This applies to teams as well. Communication, optimal strategies, back up plans.
Spend an ample amount of time developing a practice plan or an overall strategy for the tournament. The more prepared you are, the more open you will be to adaptation.
Get Your Warm Up
Besides practicing on the days leading up to the tournament and the morning of. You also want to get warmed up at the tournament if you’re able too.
You should never go in cold, no matter the circumstance. This isn’t a game of luck or superstition, it’s not BINGO. You want to activate your brain at the venue. It helps to get you accustomed to your surroundings while you play, while of course warming you up to compete. This is a good opportunity to get out all of your jitters, nervousness, and try to calibrate your mind into the competitive environment.
Try not to be critical or judgemental of your warm up games. Remember, you aren’t playing at your peak. Truthfully you shouldn’t even be focused on winning your warm up games, you should be focused on tying up loose ends in your performance.
It’s a good time to go over all of the things that you researched or identified in the days leading up. Somewhat of a mock run, if you will. If you find yourself making large mistakes, or repeating a behavior, simply make a note of it and commit to yourself that you won’t repeat it when the time comes.
Never condemn yourself, especially based on your warm up matches. Avoid saying things like “I’m not playing well today.” Confidence is key to going deep into a bracket.
Remember to Have Fun
Throughout your tournament experience you need to remember to have fun. I know this is called ‘6 Things You Should Do Before Entering A Tournament, but this is still an important one.
Socialize with fellow players, smile, really absorb the experience. Not only do we perform better when we are happy, but it also keeps our brains open in the event that we lose.
Try not to be too shy, or hanging out in a corner by yourself. Everyone is there for the same reason, and there is an entire spectrum of skill levels, and personalities. The best part? Everyone there has experienced the exact feelings you may be feeling. If you are anxious, nervous or anything, you can believe fellow players understand.
I have met some of my best friends from going to tournaments. I’ve also had the opportunity to coach a lot of players that I’ve met because they were willing to talk in between sets. Players will be more receptive to sharing advice or playing with you if you seem approachable. Those connections may just be what you need to find a training partner, or a coach. You never know!
Lastly, don’t get too hung up on projected outcomes, or the outcomes of the tournament. You want to improve, and be open and critical of yourself, but don’t down yourself and close your window of learning. The outcome of your tournament is just part of the journey that you are on. Losses are typically more valuable than wins, simply because you can gain more applicable information for your next practice sessions or tournament. Don’t fret over it!
This is a bonus and optional tip, but I personally utilize it before every tournament. Well to be honest, I utilize it before every major event in my life.
Visualization is an incredibly simple yet powerful too. I usually perform the macro portion of it, typically the night before, and usually before I sleep. (Since it’s hard enough to sleep as it is) I visualize the venue, the chairs, the players I might compete against. How I am going to wake up in the morning, and what that entire routine looks like. I visualize making it to the venue, and I visualize playing. Ultimately ending with what it looks like to win.
Doing this is really great for anxiety, and building the feeling of expectancy. It helps turn nervousness into anticipation, allowing you to stay focused on what matters. Such as getting to the venue on time, getting your proper food, and also your performance as a whole.
As for the micro portion of it. That is usually done while I am at the venue. I will play out sets and matches in my head for my up and coming opponents. Or if I’m unsure about who they play, I’ll look deeper into my bracket and plan for a set I am familiar with. Sometimes replaying the research that I studied the day prior, or my practice sessions. Keeping the brain active and alert is critical.
I also like to limit my social media and phone usage at tournaments as well. It’s good to eliminate distractions and stay dialed in. Something that feels more and more difficult to do these days.
I hope you enjoyed this, and found it to be useful.
Don’t forget to check out our most recent book as well! This book was written as a mental primer to gaining Immediate Results in eSports. Helping you gain results faster, and more confidently.
You’ve prepared all week for your next tournament. Doubling the amount of practice time. Putting all your focus into your sessions. You’re killing it. Winning matches you thought you would lose, making plays you never thought you could. You’re ready.
Your name gets called for your first match and you are brimming with anticipation. You know this player, and you’ve beaten him in the past, and you’re ready to put all this hard work into action. The first match starts and mid way through you notice that you’re missing things that you weren’t missing in practice. Things aren’t going as smoothly as expected and your self-talk is kicking in.
“Why am I missing?”
“Ugh, how did I let that hit me?”
“Come on, focus.”
Luckily you win the match, but it definitely didn’t go the way you thought it would. I mean, you spent all that time practicing, and this first rounder almost beat you. Now the thoughts are flooding in, and before you know it, you’ve lost your next two matches and you’re out of the tournament.
So how does this happen? How is it you can play so well in practice, put in so much time, and still under perform?Continue Reading–>