6 Best Pre-Game Practices to Win More Games in eSports

6 Best Pre-Game Practices to Win More Games in eSports
Reading Time: 4 minutes

Have you ever sat down to start a competitive gaming session and then quickly stopped playing because it just wasn’t feeling right? Or felt like you started on the wrong foot and just couldn’t bare the losses?

We published a post quite some time ago about a secret technique that improved performance. That technique being a pre-game ritual. We explained the importance of it, but never really gave too many examples. So in this post we are going to tell you the 6 Best Pre-Game Practices to Win More Games in eSports.

These 6 practices are guaranteed to help you see performance results and also make your sessions last a whole lot longer. The trick is to start on the right foot, and then trust yourself to see it through. Let’s jump into them.

1. Reflect On Your Previous Session – Then Let It Go

You have to reflect on your previous session before jumping into a new one. This way you are effectively walking down a path and not just playing at random. Not to say it will always be a progressive path. You won’t always have home run sessions. However, just being aware of your last session, and visualizing it, will help you in your next one. It keeps a pulse on your performance and allows you to stay within your optimal zone. The idea being that you ‘grow through, what you go through’. Most important is to then let it go. You shouldn’t dwell on your past session. Dwelling allows you to label it either good or bad and that information does not serve you in the current session.

2. Set Goals For The New Session – Macro and Micro

We have spoken in ad nauseum about goal setting. But that doesn’t change it’s importance. Setting goals is the fuel in your engine. It keeps you going and striving towards an end point. This will help maintain your passion and intensity throughout your session and draw your concentration back whenever it starts to wander. Focus on both macro and micro goals. Set overall big goals that revolve around a result of your performance. Typically in the form of wins and losses or points. Then set micro goals that focus on aspects of your performance. The micro goals can be more emotional and less trackable. Like wanting to execute what you’ve practiced. For example, landing combos or hitting more shots. They can also be trackable like kills and deaths, or creep score.

3. Visualize Performance and Concentration

Before you jump into a session it can be beneficial to visualize yourself playing. Consider this a moment to prime yourself for the next step. Visualize yourself playing the game without distraction and with a level of concentration that can’t be broken. If you do this correctly, it’s possible to convince your brain to stay away from things like your phone or social media during your session. By visualizing yourself playing and keeping those aspects out of your mind, you are less likely to gravitate towards them. Giving you an add layer of concentration that may not have been there prior.

4. Decide If It’s a Critical Thinking Day or A Performance Day

These differ entirely. Sometimes when we play, we are playing to ‘learn’. Meaning that we are allowing our brains to narrate things to us in a feedback loop as events take place. This is can be great for learning and making progress, but it doesn’t always net specific results. On the other hand, performance days are days where we tune it all out. Then we execute and worry about what happened later during our video review. Make the distinction and decision before stepping into your session. It will help guide you on managing your results and your emotional state.

5. Commit and Bring Intensity

You are primed from the prior step and almost ready to play. This is your moment to make a commitment to yourself. That you will fully concentrate and put effort into your performance. Too often we tend to merge our energy from one task to another but expect different results. Imagine if you brought the same energy that it takes to move laundry into whatever game you’re playing. Sounds silly, but it happens. Sure that energy is useful for moving laundry, but will it help you win? Same goes for browsing social media and other activities that don’t fuel a competitive mindset. After you make your commitment, bring your intensity. Amp it up! Think about driving in your car and listening to a song that you haven’t heard in a while but you really like. What are you going to do? You’re gonna reach down and turn it up! No effort required! So do the same here. Turn it up! Get ready and act as if you’re going to war.

6. Warm Up

Overlooked. I could end this point right there. It goes without saying how important warming up is. But false confidence can sometimes allow us to jump into a session expecting peak performance without us actually being there. Warm up, get yourself one step closer to peak. This will help you build self trust and confidence in your ability. Ultimately leading to less second guessing.

Wrap Up

Give these 6 Best Pre-Game Practices to Win More Games in eSports a try and see your improvement. Ritualization and routines really help to achieve that peak optimal space as an eAthlete.

 

 

Keep Your Eyes on The Prize – A Lesson For eAthletes

Prize eAthlete
Reading Time: 5 minutes

They say you should always keep your eyes on the prize. A phrase that is both powerful and difficult. In the realm of eSports, maintaining motivation can be a daunting task. This is true for both new players and veterans. Even more so for players and content creators who haven’t made it big.

The amount of time that is put into competitive gaming is massive for an individual. Especially for those who have a full time job and family. Not only is it a requirement for you to be skilled and maintain your skills, but as a competitor you are driven to. So you hop on every single day. Playing for hours, streaming for hours. Running discords and social media accounts. Just trying to make something happen. Then one day, you just stop. It just isn’t happening. The competitive fire dies, and although you want to keep going, the very thing that brought you so much joy and fulfillment is now a burden on your mind.

I don’t typically like starting off a post with a story filled with so much negativity. However having just watched this very thing happen with one of my players I felt it an important topic to discuss. Mainly the different types of motivation, and how to keep your eyes on the prize.

Two Motivating Factors

Motivation can be placed into two categories. Extrinsic and Intrinsic. (Note: There are more than just these two, however for simplicity we will stick to these.) Both motivational factors are incredibly powerful. Often overlapping with one another. But in their differences they hold answers to questions such as; Why do people or I keep jumping from game to game? Why do so many players quit? How is it possible to achieve what my favorite players have achieved? Especially when it’s so difficult for me.

Let’s take an introspective look into these questions and the difference between Extrinsic and Intrinsic motivation.

Extrinsic Motivation

reward

By definition Extrinsic Motivation refers to behavior that is driven by external rewards such as money, fame, grades, and praise. This is the ‘Prize’ that I was referring to in the title. It would be foolish to say that anyone and everyone doesn’t want money or recognition. Of course we do. However in the space of gaming and eSports, when you make it the sole reason you are competing, streaming, or creating content, it can create obstacles. See the issue isn’t in the desire for external rewards. It’s when you obsess yourself with the reward based nature of motivation.

Imagine only playing a game because it’s popular and has financial support. You don’t really enjoy playing it, but it feels like the only way to break out as an eSports star, or make money. Imagine boxing yourself in to a single game because it’s all you’re known for and without it you feel as though you won’t make any money or have support.

How much harder is it to take a loss? How much faster will you give up when you aren’t making progress? These are struggles that plague every type of player, new and old.

The Answer

The truth is, fully dedicating yourself to something because of a chance at an external reward takes an immensely heavy toll on your mind and will. You’re basically working at a job that may or may not pay you. No matter how many hours you work. This mentality can be a suffocating and it is a huge cause of burnout and forfeit. The scary thing about the mentality is how easy it is to slip into it.

You can’t really blame new players. They see all their favorite players and content creators doing it, and figure they can do it as well. Older players have other time constraints and responsibilities that plague them as well. So what can be done? How can you maintain your motivation? What is missing, and what can be regained?

Intrinsic Motivation

By definition Intrinsic Motivation refers to behavior that is driven by internal rewards. In other words, the motivation to engage in a behavior arises from within the individual because it is naturally satisfying to you. This is the biggest difference between the players who fizzle out and those who manage to keep going. It’s vital to enjoy what you are doing. To actively want to do it and seek out each obstacle that comes your way. Without finding your Intrinsic motivation you leave your longevity and enjoyment up to chance. Chance of feeling the rush of improvement, or chance of winning.

Now of course you have the ability to influence whether you win or not and can take the necessary steps to achieve those wins. However, even after those successes you will be craving more. That’s the natural response when your motivations lie solely in the outcome, and not in the experience. It doesn’t always start out this way. I’m sure even right now you can look back at your first discovery of the game you’re playing. How fun it was to pick up, and how addicting the feeling of improvement was.

But over time it’s common for those things to fade away. We get into a routine and a groove. Sometimes a good groove, sometimes a bad groove. While there we feel pressured to not play for our enjoyment or fun, because the definition of fun has changed for us. That right there is the key to finding your intrinsic motivation. Recognizing that your definition of fulfillment or enjoyment has changed and trying to rekindle your original efforts. Not to fully replace your desire to improve, win, or become something more. But to allow them to work along side each other, and overlap.

That is the key to longevity. Think about your favorite players and content creators. Could they possibly continue doing this every single day if they weren’t enjoying themselves and fearless of the outcome? Most of them are there, because they were never waiting on the outcome. They recognized a lack of guarantee and plunged in head first regardless.

A Lesson for eAthletes

Put forth the effort to become great. To improve wholly. Use the critical thinking and decision making required inside of the game, outside of the game. Actively remember your goals, your motivations and your purpose.

Never give your motivations an ultimatum. “If it doesn’t go well this time then  _____.” You remove all possibility of enjoyment and belief in the future. There are no guarantees, only what you can control. Tap into your intrinsic motivations. Think about the future and keep going.

 

Performance Benchmarking For eAthletes

Peformance Benchmarking for eAthletes
Reading Time: 4 minutes

Quite a while ago we published a blog post titled ‘Setting Your Benchmark‘. In that post we focused on General Benchmarking instead of Performance Benchmarking for eAthletes. Time, Motivation, and Ability. Those three aspects are the foundation for your career as an eAthlete. Without identifying your benchmark on those three components, you won’t even be able to get started. Although they help you get started, they don’t provide a continuation to your improvement. This post is going to focus on Performance Benchmarking for eAthletes.

Why is Performance Benchmarking Important?

As with all benchmarking, it’s crucial to know exactly what your skill level is. This helps you carve a path forward and set goals for improvement. Without it you can find yourself just hoping to get better by each game. Without fully understanding what it will take to improve. The improvement process can be incredibly ambiguous. Identifying even just one component you need to focus on gives you direction and motivation. Performance Benchmarking specifically helps you identify those components.

What Is Performance Benchmarking?

When we spoke about ability in our last benchmarking post, we focused on results more than we did specific aspects of the game you’re playing. Such as what rank you are, or where you place in tournaments.

Performance Benchmarking helps you identify your performance gaps. Where you are lacking, and what you need to improve on. The specific aspects of it vary depending on the game you are playing. They are broken down by identifying what are called KPI’s or Key Performance Indicators. All of these small components are what make up your overall performance and drive your results.

How To Performance Benchmark

As stated before this can vary depending on the game you play. However, it isn’t terribly difficult. Simply put it’s the process of breaking down the whole of your game into smaller pieces. Utilizing in game statistics instead of going off of a feeling. Let’s use League of Legends as an example.

In League of Legends there are many components to the game. CSing, Team Fighting, Vision, Laning, the list goes on. Let’s say you are an ADC and your win/loss is hovering around 50%. This is resulting in you being stuck in silver or gold. If we take the time to honestly analyze the portion we are accountable for, what can we find?

How often do we win our lane? Let’s say we win our lane 30% of the time. Okay cool, direct correlation. Increase our lane win percentage and our overall win/loss percentage will also go up. What does it take to win our lane more often?

If we exercise some external benchmarking, and judge our competition we can see that players in Platinum on average have X amount of CS by X game time. How do we compare in our CS to them? How big of a difference will that item spike help us in the lane and in the mid game? Improving minor aspects of your game won’t always increase your win percentage exponentially. Since you still have many other aspects in the game to focus on. However, focusing on one component, and becoming better at it will free you to focus on everything else. If you can guarantee within a small margin that you will always have the amount of CS necessary, then you have a much stronger base line for consistently improving in team fights. You also have a clear understanding of your power level when you have succeeded, or have been disrupted. That then translates to your positioning in team fights, and how far you can test your limit with your item advantage or disadvantage. Thus adding to the aspect of team fighting, which can be broken up into: ability usage, positioning, timing.

Putting it All Together

Performance Benchmarking for eAthletes

All of these KPI’s are what make the professional players professionals. They are the components that directly result in wins or losses. Using the example above you can see how Performance Benchmarking for eAthletes is incredibly powerful for improvement. The KPI’s vary between games, roles and situations. But just taking the time to dig deep into your performance will help you identify your opportunities and build strategies to improve. The best part is that most of this information is readily available to you. You don’t have to be a coach or an expert to simply put a few things together based on your statistics. As you improve you will consistently return to your Performance Benchmark and adjust or change it all together. As metas shift, balance changes, or you decide to change games, you will have to revisit it.

Then after compiling your information you will structure new goals. There is no perfect way to do this, yet. You can assign yourself grades from A to F. You can give yourself number ratings from 1-10. However you do it, it’s important that you stick to the statistical facts and not how you feel about it. I can think or feel that I am a great shooter, but if my accuracy is sub 50% then I am simply not a great shot. I can blame it on everything under the sun, but the fact remains that I have to get into the shooting range as part of my practice. Think about the key components that make up a successful game for you, analyze yourself and start improving on your opportunities.

Final note

Performance Benchmarking for eAthletes is just one piece of the overall puzzle. This can be applied to any and every game you have ever competed in. Do not let the simplicity tempt you to judge it’s effectiveness. Give it a try and you will notice a difference.

 

Owning Your Performance (Accountability in eSports)

eSports Growth
Reading Time: 4 minutes

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.Continue Reading–>