If you’ve read most of our posts, you know we focus on the improvement side of eSports. Trying to help eAthletes achieve their goals, and make a career in eSports. Often times we focus on the methods of improvement, and the required will it takes to get there. Although all of that information is important and can be the difference between winning and losing. It needs to be stated that experience is the most vital ingredient for eAthletes to improve. Experience has many different forms. Some effective, others ineffective. This may seem fairly obvious to most. You have to play to improve, but there are subtle aspects to experience that if overlooked can stop you from reaching the next level as an eAthlete.
Lose Until You Start Winning
Have you ever heard the advice “The best way to get better is to get destroyed by a better player for hours.”? A lot of people live by this advice and there is definitely merit to it. The act of facing a player that gives you a challenge, that is outside of your reach helps the brain recognize small moments of improvement. Even if your opponent isn’t giving you advice. They are often playing in a routine fashion throughout the games. Giving you a chance to adapt and make small improvements that become recognizable. Even if you don’t flat out win, you improve. That’s the power of raw experience. This translates to any game in which you are facing an opponent that currently has the upper hand over you. Doesn’t matter if it’s team based or not, you will ultimately find yourself in situations that test your mettle versus a single opponent. This experience is quite possibly the most enjoyable, even more than winning at times.
A Youthful Example We Can All Relate To
When I was younger a group of friends and I would compete in all sorts of games. We would bet Pokemon cards over games of Mario Golf, or high scores on SSX Tricky. We would also play fighting games like Tekken or Killer Instinct. Most of the time I lost in the fighting games. But on rare occasion I had the chance to play with one of my friends older brothers. He would destroy me all the time in Tekken, but after a while I got better. After those small sessions, I became unbeatable to my other friends. I couldn’t explain why at the time, but it was because I was being challenged to do more, and adapt differently. Effectively increasing my skill level.
I would love to tell you that all you have to do is go lose to better players and eventually you’ll be a pro. But unfortunately this method has it’s exceptions.
- You may not be ready to absorb the lessons being taught.
If you’re just starting out in a game, or haven’t fully grasped the concept of winning. Facing someone at a much higher skill level can’t help you. In fact it could impede your learning ability because you will be attempting to emulate more than naturally getting a feel.
- You don’t have the mental resilience.
Losing typically isn’t fun. It can be discouraging and invite the idea of giving up entirely.
Highlights, Guides, Pseudo Experience
With the advent of twitch and YouTube it has never been easier to watch eSports. Esports are unique in the sense that most spectators are also players even if at just a casual level. There is a very small, almost microscopic percentage of spectators who don’t play. The difference between watching an eSports event, and playing a match on your own is much smaller than say, watching an NBA game and playing basketball at the park. Most traditional sports spectators don’t actually play that sport.
This creates a unique situation where eAthletes spend a lot of time comparing themselves to the professionals. Watching guides and tutorials to become better, or finding a favorite content creators to watch. I consider this a form of Pseudo Experience and it’s very easy to fall into. It can create this “Every dollar I make, you make” mentality but from an improvement stand point. Watching people be successful almost takes the position of working hard to become successful yourself. To some degree attempting to experience the success through them, and spending time on it as well. This is a hard concept to explain because it makes a lot of assumptions about your lifestyle. So to simplify it, I will say, if you spend more time watching other eAthletes be successful, and take nothing away from what you see to apply to your own performance, you are subjecting yourself to Pseudo Experience.
The outcome will not meet the expectation. The act can impede the natural learning process by putting more reliance on the intellectual portion of your brain, rather than the natural inclinations of your brain.
Experience Will Make You. If You Let It.
Over everything else, true improvement comes from rising to every new challenge and overcoming it. The method in which you do that with can be found in all of our other posts. As I have said many times and will continue saying, just simply playing is not enough. Experience will only take you so far if you don’t do the mental work around it. Having awareness, reflecting, preparing, practice, resilience. It all goes into improving and becoming the best version of yourself. Inside the game and outside of the game.
I can confidently write these posts because of my experiences over my career in eSports. Living through your wins and losses creates an emotional connection to what you do. It helps you build character. It’s taking risks and chances on yourself and seeing them through regardless of the outcome.
You can watch others play for as long as you want to. You can listen to every tutorial and guide that you want to. The only way you’re truly going to reach your goals is to experience it. Without the rest of the noise, without trying to adhere to others standards.
Experimentation, implementation, your own brand of success. It all comes from the experiences that you allow yourself to have. Ever wonder why the players at the top are all seen as having a unique perspective on their game? They all look different? It’s because they have learned and grown through their experiences and maintained their own personal standard.
No matter the size or format of a tournament. Go play in it. No matter the level of difficulty, go explore it. Win or lose, just focus on improvement, and experience the process.