Team Dynamics for eAthletes: Managing Ego

Reading Time: 5 minutes

For this post we are going to focus on Team Dynamics for eAthletes: Managing Ego. This is going to be the first in a series titled Team Dynamics for eAthletes. There are many aspects of competitive gaming that aren’t discussed very often, and I believe Team Dynamics is one of them.

Finding a team is a crucial goal for any eAthlete depending on the game they compete in. Not to be confused with finding an Organization or getting sponsored. Finding a team doesn’t always result in being signed to a major organization. For most it just means finding a group of 4-5 players to consistently play with while working towards getting signed. In every team oriented game there will be a transitional skill gap between those who solo queue, those who have a team, and those at the professional level. Therefore, to get the effective practice you need to move on to that next level, you have to find yourself on a team.

Barrier to Entry

Team Dynamics for eAthletes: Managing Ego

What are the three most important things you need to be picked up by a team? The first three things that come to your mind.

Skill? Reputation? Work Ethic (grind)?

These are the things that come to most peoples minds. Although they aren’t wrong. Skill is definitely required and is the most important factor. There are other aspects to Team Dynamics that go overlooked. Aspects that I believe should be factored in before joining any team. Being aware of these soft skills will help you land more teams, and be prepared for the organization that eventually picks you up.

Understanding The Commitment

When you join a team the way you look at your performance has to change. Your successes and failures no longer just reflect on you. They reflect on your entire team. Although this sounds self explanatory you would be surprised at how difficult the transition truly is. This is why Managing Ego is so important.

Obstacles of The Ego

Internal

The first obstacle most players run into is a lack of self awareness and emotional radiance. It is very common when playing by yourself to make knee jerk reactions to the things happening in the game. Getting frustrated or remarking about something negative can have adverse effects on your teammates without you even knowing it. Even though you’re making a solitary comment about your own individual interaction, it can change the attitudes of others. It can lead to putting in less effort or giving up. It can lead to a lack of communication and stillness.

Depending on how you say it, others may find offense in it or will be quick to hold you accountable. Thus resulting in potential confrontation. Other reactions such as logging off immediately after a loss, or denouncing the entire game can ruin team synergy and trust.

The second obstacle most players run into is not understanding how to receive or deliver constructive criticism. Simply put, everything said feels like an attack or a need to defend. More often than not, neither of those things are true. However depending on the circumstance, typically after a loss, it can be difficult to see it in any other way.

External

The third obstacle is playing at your full potential or perceived skill level. This obstacle really feeds into the first two. When you first find yourself on a team, a desire to play properly to not be judged can kick in. Making it difficult for you to fully play the way you normally do. Or the team is having a hard time finding synergy with each other despite being talented on their own. Making it feel like you’re playing poorly, or someone on the team is. Further, just the desire to not let the team down can cause you to make decisions through them, instead of trusting your own ability. This leads to the ego stepping in and blinding you of self awareness. Leading you to attack or defend internally or even externally in low moments.

The fourth obstacle is framing, and it comes from outside of the game. It typically goes one of two ways. Either teams take insignificant losses to seriously. (pubs, one off tournaments) Or the teams don’t take the practice or time commitment seriously because they aren’t being paid or part of a major organization. Truthfully this is just a step in getting signed and getting paid, however it still needs to be taken seriously and at the right levels.

If you were a part of a major organization would they tolerate in house fighting? Would you be able to slack off? Would it be acceptable to get overly frustrated at insignificant losses?

Finding well functioning teams is not an easy thing to do. It can be incredibly difficult to find people with schedules that line up, people that have a good work ethic or good attitude. So it’s important to capitalize on any and every opportunity you get when joining a team. Regardless of reputation.

Playing Your Part Effectively

eSports Puzzle

Skill alone does not make you a great teammate. Lately I have been coaching  a Rogue Company team. The Rogue Company community has had so many teams go through roster changes because of the things I’ve listed above. Being incredibly skilled does not make you easy to work with, and it won’t always lead to wins. Is it possible to win with just skill alone? Sure. But it isn’t sustainable and it also isn’t attractive to the organizations who look to sign players professionally.

Being a great teammate doesn’t always equate to success or skill, but it does translate into other areas. Such as helping your team manage their egos by leading by example.

Ultimately a team is a collection of individuals putting their best foot forward in every single interaction. Whether it’s the hard skills of the game, or the soft skills of teamwork. You need all of it to win and reach the goals you want to at a consistent rate. Becoming aware of the obstacles listed above will help you to focus more of your energy into playing, and less into obstructing the teams progress. The work you put in to a game if it puts you at odds with your team, does not make you a great teammate. You should be doing things for the betterment of your team, and yourself. Not exclusively to either side.

Wrap Up

Before you reach the professional level you will be a part of a ton of teams. Not all of them will have a coach to help manage egos, and keep the team focused. It’s important that you play your part fully from every aspect. Reflect on how you communicate now. Imagine yourself on a team and see if you can focus on playing properly and managing your communication as well. It can be difficult, it’s best to get ahead of it now and make the strongest commitment to every team.

We will be expanding the conversation on Team Dynamics for eAthletes: Managing Ego by addressing communication in our next post.

 

 

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–>

Lose The Battle, But Win The War

Reading Time: 6 minutes

Before you dive into this blog post, I would like to tell you something, that you may not know or may not have been told. YOU are AMAZINGSKILLED, COURAGEOUS, and VALUED.

Not because of your wins or losses, social stature or your expertise.  No, you are all of the above because you choose to compete. You go out and test your resolve; mentally, emotionally, and socially time and time again. Take this moment to reflect on all of your experiences. Think about those hard fought games, the ups and the downs. The way they made you feel during and after. Think about the way people reacted to those games. Really put yourself there again. Now think about the people you’ve met. Your training partners, your teammates, your friends.

All of these experiences shape you, and drive underlying motivations for why you compete. But there was a time before you had all of these motivations. However, you didn’t let that stop you from competing. So what is stopping you now?Continue Reading–>

Accepting Feedback

Wishing Well
Reading Time: 7 minutes

Up to this point we’ve dug pretty deep into the concept of Resilience, mainly focusing on the internal dialogues that are critical to our improvement, time management, and focus; in order to dial in on what it takes to really push forward and succeed, however difficult that may be.

In this article we are going to change it up and focus on one external factor that requires a lot of resilience, Accepting Feedback.

Feedback is critical to improvement because it illuminates the blind spots that hinder our maximum potential. Outside of incredible internal revelations, there aren’t many cures for blind spots other than feedback. When it comes to self-improvement in anything, blind spots are your worst enemy.

Blind Spots

Blind Spot

What are blind spots? Psychological blind spots are described as personality traits or behavior traits that we possess, but are unable to see. Similar to a physical blind spot in our vision. In eSports, I’d refer to it as a performance blind spot.Continue Reading–>

Standing Tall – Resilience revisited

Reading Time: 7 minutes

In our previous look at the concept of mental resilience, we discussed the basics, aimed at helping you set reasonable expectations, and get reasonable results. In this article I’m going to continue that trend, by repeating a cold fact from the last one.

Success isn’t earned, it’s leased. And rent is due, every single day. Take a moment to re-read the first post, keeping in mind that we aren’t born with resiliency, rather it’s created.

Brave New World:

We live in a new era, not just in the realm of Esports, but all walks of modern life.Continue Reading–>

The Day After – Post Tournament Loss

Chess
Reading Time: 6 minutes

We’ve all been there. After hours of playing, grinding, studying we feel ready to go into this next tournament. In fact during warm ups, or the session the night before we can’t be beaten. “This will be the tournament where I get out of pools.” We say to ourselves. But then, after a crushing loss that sends us out of the tournament we are left with a flurry of thoughts and a surging energy. Some of which are hurtful, helpful, and hopeful. This is a devastating moment, but it’s effect’s don’t have to be negative. Let’s take a look at these reactions to better help us identify them in the moment.

Reactions are Relative

Electric

Not everyone shares the same reactions after a loss. In fact each variable could probably be broken down into a separate post all together. So for this example let’s make a few assumptions. Continue Reading–>

The Enemy Within – Introduction to Resilience

Thinking Man Statue
Reading Time: 4 minutes

Over the course of your career in esports, you’ll face a great many opponents, some good, some bad, some great. You’ll make friends, develop rivalries, and if you’re lucky, you’ll find a mentor or two along the way. Players come, and players go, scenes dissolve, but there is one opponent who will never stop coming, never let up. That opponent is you.

We’ve all heard the saying “I’m my own worst enemy”, an expression that holds true in the lab, the court, the locker room, or even the main stage. We all know it, the doubt, the fear, the complacency. That little voice in your head that says “I’ll never be as good as X”, “I’ve practiced enough, I can take a few days off”, or “I’m not good enough”. These kinds of doubts, hesitations, might-be’s, and other negative images will haunt you, seek to drag you down, force you to quit. They will plague you throughout your whole career, but only if you let them.

So how do you avoid these pitfalls, how do you recover from an emotional defeat, or embarrassing upset? How do you bounce back from the worst blows that life can throw at you?

Continue Reading–>