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?
The top eSports competitors are able to combine years of experience, self-trust, confidence, focused relaxation, and concentration all at the same time. There are many reasons they are able to do this. Experiencing the highs and lows of competition is a huge mental primer for composure. A mastery of the games technical and mental skill gained from hours of precise practice. The motivations they take into each game or each tournament can play a huge role as well. As we saw with Ryan Hart, who used competitive gaming to escape homelessness.
The stars may align differently for each player to get them in that perfect zone. However, the thing they all share in common, is when the game starts, they are fully concentrated. You can see it in any player cam. They are giving themselves fully to the game, and living in the present. Not focusing on outcomes, or perceptions. Just fully engaged in the present activity. Allowing all of the experience and practice to take over, while they concentrate on reading and reacting. They do this every single time.
The Secret Technique
So, what about you? How can you tap into that level of concentration? The secret technique to improving your consistency is Ritualization. In simple terms, the concept is to create a pre-tournament or pre-practice routine. A routine that you can take with you regardless of your location.
We aren’t talking about being superstitious. Wearing your lucky socks at every tournament isn’t going to change how you perform, no matter how lucky you deem the socks. The power of Ritualization goes beyond that of hope and reliance.
Activating The Brain
When you create a specific repeating pattern of behavior prior to performance, a regular pre-task routine, you sharpen your focus, concentration and attention. When you ritualize, your mind is cleansed of distractions while at the same time directed toward the specific task ahead. This allows you to transition into your tournament matches free from doubt, anxiety and fear. Unlike your tournament match, you are in full control of this task. By initiating your ritual you are essentially telling your brain that there is no turning back. The only thing to focus on is the present. It’s “Go Time”.
The Comfort Zone
On top of activating your brain you also create an internal comfort zone. This allows you to transition into a focused relaxation, which keeps your mind open for adaptation, and decision quality. The mental and physical act of your established ritual creates a feeling of familiarity and control. Think of it like active meditation that helps you stay present in the moment and move you forward into your match.
This ritual replaces the uncertainty that leads players to lean on social media to fill the void. Inviting new information into your brain right before you have to perform is not a recommended strategy. Being distraction free is the best way to engage your concentration.
The Ritual For You
There is no set example for this. Your ritual should be personalized for you, and you should be able to do it anywhere. The idea is to do something that requires both physical and mental work. This way your active brain can focus on the task, and your subconscious brain can prepare for your game.
There are tons of stories of athletes, business executives, actors, who all have their own unique routine. Hall of Fame wide receiver Jerry Rice used to have his ankles taped a specific way, and his jersey centered just right. LeBron James (pictured above) is known for doing his chalk toss before games. The point is, it doesn’t have to be crazy. It could be as simple as washing your hands and fixing your shirt while looking in the mirror. It can be cleaning your keyboard or controller. Anything that takes a level of mental focus to help your brain activate, and ward off anxiety, doubt and fear. You won’t believe how much closer you feel to peak mindset, and performance right out of the gate.
If you want to gain more consistency, and improve your performance. Then develop your own ritual. Create it. Believe it, and use it.