There will come a time on your journey where you are forced to travel to another region. It is one of the absolute best ways to improve your performance. If you are comfortable in your local scene, it’s possible that you aren’t being challenged. There can be too much familiarity between you and your opponents play-styles. Even the atmosphere can get too comfortable as well. When it comes time to perform at the highest level, you can’t count on feeling comfortable.
That is just one part of what makes traveling so beneficial. You are able to get some of the experience required for big tournament settings. As well, you get an opportunity to learn from others with varying skill levels.
You are going to be uncomfortable though and that can become tricky, especially if it’s your first time. Ego, insecurity, fear all play a huge role in how you navigate this new setting. These feelings can also continue after you have left the venue and can have a negative impact on your growth. Try not to worry about your immediate results. It is very natural to under perform in unfamiliar places.
Here are some tips to help you receive the most benefits from your travels.
- Let Your Play do the Talking
Making a first impression is very important when traveling to other regions, especially if you are representing your local scene. If you plan to make recurring trips it is important to identify what you will be remembered for.
Being the most boisterous person in the room will not garner the type of attention that you want. Talking about how good you are will not win you the tournament and your ego can drive away any potential coaching.
Let your play be the out loud representation of you and your ability. Even if that means you don’t win a single game. Even if that means nobody remembers your matches.
I have seen good players lose opportunities due to bad first impressions. I’ve watched them have to work 10 times harder to get the growth attention they need, because they let their insecurities and ego speak for them. Alternatively I have seen players who say close to nothing, but let their performance speak for them get all the attention. Be remembered for the right reasons or not at all and if you begin to perform better, you will get that growth attention you need.
- Be Respectful
‘The Golden Rule’ – “Do to others what you want them to do to you.” This goes for their equipment and their time as well. I don’t believe that people will drive hours at a time with the intention of being disrespectful. However it never ceases to happen. The best way to prevent any potential conflicts, that would warrant disrespectful behavior, is to not let any insecurity compromise your integrity and don’t take anything personally.
- Be Social and Have Fun
This is more important than playing at a high level. You don’t have to be an exceptional player to succeed here. In fact more often than not if you can be social and have fun, your results won’t matter as much. Make yourself approachable, smile and laugh with people close by. It will make your returning visits easier and more enjoyable.
- Be Patient
Integrating into another scene takes time and effort. There are established cliques, etiquette, and hierarchies. You may feel a need to rush all of your experience into one session, but remember your goal is to go back. Growth, friendships, trust, all take time to grow.
- Wrap up
Remind yourself of your goals throughout your entire travel session. Repeat them in your brain any time you feel uncomfortable. Remember that you have committed time, energy and money to travel. Getting the most out of it should be your number one goal.