The Importance of Mindset

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I decided to write about this topic because I feel that a lot of people don’t really have any idea what its like to be under pressure in a highly competitive environment, especially right now with the time the World Championship is being held and how it affects certain teams more than others. It’s fairly easy to say that you just have to balance out things with the pressure you receive from all sides but in the end you can’t stop thinking about not disappointing people and especially yourself.

Everyone person has a drive in a certain area, it doesn’t necessarily have to be in video games. If you pick up a hobby you want to see progress and want to become good at it. Playing an instrument is something that relates easily to that, you start off having fun but you want to get better over time and see improvement – its the same thing with competitive video games. You start off by simply having fun with friends but once you get to a certain point you begin to have the desire to take things to the next level and thats when things start to become difficult.

Playing soloqueue is where it all starts – make sure that you have a healthy mind and you are in a good mood before playing if you want to get better. Not only do you play worse if you are in a bad mood but you also get angry if you lose because lets be honest – noone is playing for fun. Everyone wants to win and winning means satisfaction; you accomplished something by beating someone in the game.

The terms ’tilting’ and ‘choking’ are fairly standard to describe those issues at competition – you end up being in a vicious circle where you don’t have any control over your own emotions and you end up making bad decisions ingame. It certainly differs from person to person but eventually everyone will get to the point where they are emotionally invested in the outcome of the game. If things don’t go the right way you start to give up or you are too nervous and make mistakes. It’s hard to overcome these issues because you basically don’t have control over them – it all comes down to your state of mind and how to prevent it.

Its important that you have a clear mind to prevent ’tilting’ and its important for everyone to have some kind of balance in their lives. Going to the gym on a regular basis can help with that and makes sure that there is a healthy outlet for stress or frustration. It all follows the saying: ‘Healthy body, healthy mind’. I found it quite helpful for myself to go to the gym and meet with friends to socialize to get a bit of distraction.

There are a lot of difficulties and roadblocks to achieve a professional mindset but it all comes down to yourself. A coaches job aside (its too long to discuss that in one blog what obligations a coach has and what he should do to provide a good environment, maybe I will talk about that in another blog) , there are certain things that even a coach doesn’t have influence on and that’s performance in high pressure situations. Even if you have a coach that tells you what to do and talks with you about having a strong mental game it doesn’t matter if you are not down for change for yourself. You have to be open about it and address the problems if you want to overcome those problems. Some people can’t overcome nerve issues 100% even if you get used to the environment. Some people only play better while under stress, the adrenaline helps with the focus and you get all pumped up before a big game.

Worlds right now is where everything matters – teams have prepared one entire year to perform here and it won’t matter how much soloqueue you play or how much you practice because its hard to change your entire team dynamic, it’s more important to have a stronger will and mindset. Teams like KABUM came to this tournament with the mindset of: ”We have everything to win but nothing to lose” where as other western teams have the mindset of: ”Not disappointing people”. Sure, there are worlds between the caliber of the teams but actually having a strong will is underestimated.
I experienced it first hand when we prepared our series against Curse. Everyone expected you to win, no matter what. Curse came into the game with low expectations and they were playing to win while we as a team were playing to not lose which reflected in our poor gameplay. If you are too afraid to lose it will lead to bad decisions and you become more and more hesitant. If you play and practice with that mentality you will never become a great team that shows results – you NEED to have a CHAMPIONS mindset in order to succeed, you need to simply believe in yourself.

People think that a player is cocky or arrogant when they show confidence in interviews or pregame segments. No, not all players are really cocky or arrogant and if you say you are a better player and truly think that then there’s nothing wrong with it – its a psychological aspect of the game and you already won it before the game even started and it’s important to have that. Letting the opponent know that he is at a disadvantage, even if it’s not true, can be underestimated.

I’m not entirely sure what happened in our team but I do think confidence was one of the most influential factors. If your confidence is gone because you lost a few games then you have to somehow regain that confidence. If you give up on yourself and just play to not lose it won’t change – you have to bring change by yourself. Practicing harder won’t help much because you will eventually run into the same problem – no team reigns forever, teams who are at the top become complacent.

There are probably a lot more aspects to talk about but the topic is just too comprehensive to examine in a blog. I just hope that this helps some players out there to improve in whatever they are doing. It doesn’t have to involve league of legends – no matter what the task be confident in yourself to get better at it, don’t be afraid to lose or make changes. Make sure you maintain a certain amount of happiness at what you do and the rest will follow. Thanks for the read.

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by Marcel Feldkamp, on October 6, 2014