I would like to take this moment to be grateful for gaming as a whole. Among it’s many benefits, it is one of the few complex, time consuming activities that can provide you immediate feedback. In the form of tournament losses, game over screens, death timers etc.
Throughout our lives we participate in many activities that we don’t commonly see the result of. We can make what appears to be an inconsequential decision today, and see an explosive result from it a year from now. Alternatively, we can set forth on a triumphant journey and have it fizzle out without us knowing whether or not it impacted us. Either way, it’s hardly a 1:1 ratio, and the results we do obtain are usually ambiguous at best.
For example, many of us devote time to school, studying, physical activities, relationships etc. Without ever truly knowing if the work we put in will come back to us. Through trust and the process of life we continue forward, but during the process there are no guarantees.
Competitive Gaming, although not a guarantee itself does give us feedback much faster and with clarity. Through statistics, replays, and just simply a win or loss. We are able to learn so much about ourselves, and the best part is that it’s tangible.
Stating The Obvious
As indicated by the title of this post, it is crucial to take accountability in your own performance. It’s not just your tournament results either. It’s the effort you put into improving. The type of practice, the time spent, and how you apply it to measurable goals. Your knowledge and research when you’re not playing. Current meta, tech, match-ups, routes. It also includes your adaptability and decision making, insides and outside of the game.
It’s On You (The Blame Game)
This all seems very obvious and even redundant. But I cannot begin to tell you how many people I see on a regular basis finding a way around their accountability.
It’s always the same story. If the mechanics, or characters, were just different. Or if there was enough time in the day or month. If so and so didn’t try out for a different team. If I had a sponsor. The list goes on, and it seems the general consensus is, if all of those things were changed then they too could be on top.
As a coach it pains me to see players suffering through this specific mindset. Knowing how badly they want to improve, and want to be at the top for all of their reasons. Some of these players are unreachable, some just need new focus. But some rather master The Blame Game, instead of their game.
You Get Out, What You Put In
Without going deep into the psychology of winning. There are a myriad of contributing factors that we can point to in an effort to explain why this is so common throughout every scene and genre.
Pragmatically, there are always winners and losers. Hard workers, and the lazy. Those who take ownership and those who wish it to just be. That doesn’t change, no matter what industry you are in. However in eSports, due to it’s accessibility and social media presence we get to see it unfold in front of us.
On top of the usual, we also have different forms of media that contribute in swaying players mindsets. If they think something isn’t fair and a professional that they look up to shares the same opinion, it helps to grant them further confirmation bias on the topic. Not saying top players can’t or shouldn’t voice their opinions. It just adds an extra layer to the mindsets that I’m describing. Montages, and idealistic tutorials play a huge role in this as well. Due to their nature of showing perfect moments, and ideal situations. It can skew a players expectations by showing the outcome, and not all the work that went into getting there. (also not saying content shouldn’t be created)
I recently experienced this very thing with a student of mine. He spent a lot of time absorbing this media, and as a result of it, wanted to try every cool thing that he had witnessed. He would put too much focus on doing less optimal things to chase what he believed was mandatory for success because he saw it in videos. When the time came to work on all of the other things, that are of course less flashy, but were necessary to winning. He wasn’t willing to put the work in. Would rather play for hours on end, and make little progress, then put in 30 min of dedicated training.
This One Trick Will Turn You From Noob to…….Stop.
There is no magic trick. No one size fits all solution to improvement or success.
It’s a process. One that requires time, outside of the box thinking, emotional resilience, and routine consistency. Some days are better than others. Sometimes you need strategic breaks. Other times you need to push harder. Whatever the situation calls for, you need adaptation, willingness and to embrace the process. Find ways to enjoy it, and measure your improvement no matter how much or how fast it arrives.
Be willing to work on your weaknesses, and polish your strengths. It doesn’t matter if it’s technical, mental, or emotional. If you aren’t working on it, someone else is.
Every great player you know, look up to, or enjoy, didn’t get there over night. While others were playing The Blame Game, they were working through the process.