Before I start, I want to mention that this article is primary directed to Esports-beginners and younger players, but nevertheless I’m sure everyone can find something useful in this post. So let’s get started.
You can play almost every game just for the good of the gameplay-experience. But most multiplayergames and especially Esport-titles are different. They are designed and meant to be competitive. Of course you can also play those games without any effort, without the intention of ranking up, without competing against other players and just for having some good fun time with your friends. But if your approach is more serious than that, you should mind the following 6 advices that will help you to get on the right track towards success in the Esportsscene from the very beginning. These are some of the things I have learned for myself from over 15 years of experience and which I can tell you regardless of any particular game. And these are also the things I would have liked to have known myself in the beginning.
I promise you, that if you take all six steps, advices, or rules, or call it whatever you want, if you take them seriously and you will draw all the consequences from them, you will lay a lasting foundation for becoming a reliable and skillful player regardless of your game.
My plan is, to make an extra article for every single advice I will mention, where I will provide more details about the topics, just to keep this one short and simple.
1. Set your goals (first)
Everytime I talk to younger or newer players getting into the competitive scene or when they start playing an Esports title I get asked the following question a lot in one or another way: How do I get better? But let us be honest for a second: isn’t that is the most general question you can ask? Usually I ask them the following two questions back: what do you want to archive and how good do you have to be for that?
You have to create a vision for yourself first. Where do you want to see yourself in the future. How far do you want to go. What is the context of your getting better? For example: Is your goal to get better than most of your classmates or is your goal to win a national championship title. Based on that vision define a concrete, measurable goal and think about how you can methodically archive it. Make a sketch of the sequence and steps you have to take referring to the factors time, workload and priorities. If you have defined a personal goal for you, you should seriously ask yourself the question: is it worth the effort?
And this question leads us to point number two:
2. Decision & Dedication
It is absolutely no problem if you personal goals and ambitions are pretty high, but you You should really be clear from the start whether these are the goals you want to achieve or whether they are not. In order to be more clear you should ask yourself the following questions: Are you ready to make the effort and how much time, work and energy will it cost you? Is your ambition at all realistic and compatible with your current life situation? What are external factors that you can’t influence at all, or only slightly, and what priority do you want to give your goals in relation to other important contents of your life. Such as family, education, relationships, work, and so on. If you’ve answered all these questions and made the choice to spent your time on competitive Esports go further and ask yourself: What are the things that you have in your hands to achieve your goal?
If you have a certain goal and you are sure about your decision you should know that it will take work, dedication and commitment from yourself to get there. We live in a causal universe, so a goal – no matter how big, small, close or far away it is – and a well-considered decision alone won’t make any progress.
The conclusion is you have to put work in and this work should not be randomly wasted time. So:
3. Stop playing, start practicing
This may be the most valuable advice I will give you in this article: Playing for fun is good, practicing for personal advancement is better.
And start practicing towards your goals I talked about in the first point: I repeat: Based on your vision define a concrete, measurable goal and think about how you can methodically archive it. Make a sketch of the sequence and steps you have to take referring to the factors time, workload and priorities. That means nothing but: Structurize your training, organize a schedule and invest your ressources with the intention to come closer to achieving your goal.
Think about that: the time you spent on the game is a limited resource you have to use efficiently, to improve in specific training aspects. These aspects you want to improve in, have to be your main focus when you are ingame, you have to monitor them, actively exercise them. And what you should always orientate yourself by is the current meta. Because the meta is nothing else than the strategies, methods and mechanics that achieve the most success with maximum efficiency in the current game system. Documentation, preparation and planning will help you a lot to structurize your training routine. Mindless grinding won’t get you anywhere. Because that should be said: A high amount of playtime alone is worth nothing if you don’t learn a thing. I have got people in my friendlist – casual players- with approximately 4000 hours and more of a specific game and they can’t even make it out of the bottom half of the ranking system due to practice mentality and there are players new to the scene with a fraction of that in game time who really know their stuff and are well prepared, hard working and constantly advancing, and these are already playing at the top ranks because they don’t waste their time fooling around.
The last thought leads to the next point.
4. Set yourself up
Your Mindset, your habits, your environment. Bring yourself up to the level you need to go through this regularly scheduled training, not to play around anymore, but to develop a routine. And this requires a certain mindset. Quite simply, if you want to be a competitive player, it is no longer enough to play the game casually. The best athletes in the world share, beside a deep passion for the sport itself, a pretty common mindset and attitude: progression, winning, competition.
And this is where every aspect comes together that I’ve talked about so far: the mindset is the consequence of intrinsic motivation to reach your goals. If you have a vision that is worth making an effort for and you make an active decision for it, your mind, your thoughts, your actions will be aligned towards your goals. And that will change your habits and your environment: how to play the game, where to play the game and who are the people you are playing with and against.
You don’t necessarily get better in the game modes which are meant for fun and to kill some time. Go and look for a challenging, serious environment for yourself. That means, if you are competing in a team-based game, most of all don’t play for your own. Because why should you practice a game all alone which is based on team-play and team-coordination? Find people with the same ambitions, the same mindset and the same schedule and training routine. And it doesn’t matter which experience you bring along or on which skillevel you play. Form a permanent team or join one to participate in tournaments, leagues and events. Because in the end, the successful players and teams are the ones who pracitce together to participate in these types of competitions.
Summarized: If you want to be a competitive gamer, simply leave the structures and routines made for casual gamers. And to do that, you need to
As I said team up with people with the same mindset, the same vison. Ultimately become part of a set team with long term plans.
Even if it is not a team game, and maybe when it is a 1 versus 1 title like Hearthstone or Quake, connect with people who you can talk to, advance together, make training matches, after which you can talk about, and analyze together. You will learn a lot from others and also by teaching others, discussing, playing together or against each other and reviewing it afterwards. This is so important, because from a certain point in your career, you need criticism to evolve, you need feedback from the players you work with, you need other perspectives that you may not be able to take for yourself. Because the mistakes you will make ingame and the mistakes you will work on become more and more complex. So,
Try to make contacts, use forums, web chats, friend lists and don’t stay alone. And I don’t talk about mindlessly adding people to your friend list, I talk about generating valuable connections to people. Trust me networking is one of the most important aspects of success.
Make yourself become a keeper in friend lists. And the easy thing is: it will happen naturally if you’re not only good at your game but just by being nice, sociable, reliable and honest. If you do so, you won’t have any problems finding team-mates, getting invited into a pug, finding training- partners or organizations.
What is also important is, if you don’t connect to others, you won’t develop one of the most important skills ever: which is communication.
And you forget that you also have to develop as part of a team, as a team player, as an individual in the context of a permanent team. You have to learn that first and it takes time. Interaction with your teammates, team-coordinated plays, executing strategies, etc. are all fields of learning and development that you’ll probably miss if you play the game exclusively on your own.
A last and very important point:
6. Don’t give up
No matter how small or big your vision is, it probably won’t come over night.
Depending on your goals, reaching them can become a long-term project, maybe it will take even years.
Of course, talent will help you, but training is the road to success. And for that you need willpower and the right mindset. And to develop the mindset, the decision you made at the beginning must be the right one. Otherwise there will be no willpower at the end. And only this will allow you to reach your goals one day. Better players and pros have gone through all this before making it up to the top. And the majority of upper skill level players had to go through years of practice and gathering experience before reaching their level. It will take time and it will take effort.
Also it may not be fun all the time. It will come to the point where it will be harder to keep on, will be harder to progress, will be harder to experience a sense of achievement. But exactly at this point it is extremely important not to give up, not to break up with your team or not to let go your dreams. You have to hold on and break through those obstacles when that time comes.
Esports enthusiast with more than 15 years of experience in competitive gaming running this blog about esports know-how, training methods, sports psychology and coaching. Science lover, Global elite, (almost) Grandmaster, multiple inofficial Mario Card World Champion and still believes that everything used to be better in Counterstrike 1.6