Category Archives: Mental Skills Training

Articles about mental skills training in eSport. Includes both traditional approach as well as the more modern mindfulness approach.

What’s Your Mindset?

You feel sad. You think, “I am sad,” which is an accurate assessment of the situation you are in. Or is it? You are happy. You think, “I am happy.” Right? What if both of these statements are wrong. How often do we allow what we feel to dictate how we perceive the situation? Maybe a better question is, how often do elite athletes, star performers, concert soloists, or Navy seals allow what they feel to dictate how they perceive the situation?  Often times we can lose out on growth opportunities when we only listen to our emotions. Having a healthy mindset regarding what you experience in life can go a long way in growing as an individual and this can also be directly applied to sports. Continue reading What’s Your Mindset?

Emotions and TSM

Emotions can play a big part in our ability to perform. Many times they can assist in pushing a person to victory and at other times they may be the reason why we lose. Properly handling emotions can be difficult both after a loss as well as a win if we are left feeling emotionally drained. A couple of examples of this would be during the World Cup when Brazil talked about how difficult it was for them to play the Dutch after the horrific loss to Germany.  The other would be when Derek Jeter  asked for the first time to sit out a game against the rival Boston Red Sox after he had the game winning hit in his last appearance at Yankee Stadium. The roller coaster ride that emotions give can happen in esports as well, and in watching the final TSM vs SK Gaming match in Group B of Worlds this year I wondered if it was an example of this phenomenon. Continue reading Emotions and TSM

Locodoco’s brilliance vs Samsung

Today I wanted to talk about a brief interview that coach Locodoco gave the broadcasting team during Team SoloMid’s matches versus Samsung White in the quarter-finals of the League of Legends World Championships. In case you are unable to watch the video, here is the statement:

“Going into the games our prep was, ok we win one game and then we’ll go from there. We didn’t think of it as a best of five, we took it as we have three chances to take off one game and then we’ll take it from there. We basically spent all our prep for this.”

Continue reading Locodoco’s brilliance vs Samsung

What is eSport psychology?

Athletes strive to be the best. Whether that means beating others in competition or besting themselves, they are constantly training to achieve victory. At the end of the day, however, one athlete or one team is the ultimate victor. Coaches and other athletes examine the training methods used by the winners to determine what the best way to train is if they want the same result. Yet despite copying the same physical training methods as the best, a difference in performance during competition would sometimes remain. That is when the sporting world began to examine the mental strengths that make a champion and to create drills and techniques for improving mental toughness.

Mental toughness

Definition

Continue reading What is eSport psychology?

Performance profiling

Performance profiling is a way to assess where one stands in their mental strengths and weaknesses. It is a good way to plan what areas to focus on as well as to gauge growth. Usually a self-assessment is suitable enough, but in a team with excellent relationships a more thorough assessment involving coaches or teammates can be done. Continue reading Performance profiling

Multi-Action Plan

Mind games consulting recommends the Multi-Action Plan (MAP) developed recently and trialled relatively successfully with Italian Olympic shooters.1 The MAP combines theoretical elements from many previous successful models of intervention, notably the Mindfulness-Acceptance-Commitment (MAC) approach,2,3 the Individual Zones of Optimal Functioning (IZOF) model,4,5,6,7,8 and the Identification-Control-Correction (ICC) programme.9

Continue reading Multi-Action Plan

Throwing the game – how to avoid choking under pressure

This past month marked the 6th season of the IEM world championships and brought many of the world’s best Starcraft 2 athletes together in Hannover to compete for the Intel Masters 2011 trophy. The finals were, in many peoples’ minds, a dream rematch of the IEM Cologne finals between the fantastic protoss player SK Gaming’s MC and terran player Evil Genius’s PuMa. In the first game MC came out with a strong, aggressive style that heavily punished PuMa’s expansion strategy. Down one game, PuMa showcased his talented micromanagement by winning the next two games with picture-perfect medivac drops while simultaneously defending his home base from MC’s massive assaults. PuMa’s precise and flawless play made it feel like a terran art piece. However, game four was a depressing turning point for PuMa fans, and brings me to the topic I want to discuss this week. Choking under pressure. Continue reading Throwing the game – how to avoid choking under pressure

Relaxation technique – progressive relaxation

The idea behind progessive relaxation (PR) exercises is to eventually be able to automatically release tension from the muscles. A relaxed body then leads to a relaxed mind. When doing PR it is helpful to have good breathing technique and to incorporate stretching or physical activity of some sort, such as walking or yoga.

Continue reading Relaxation technique – progressive relaxation

Arousal in eSports

Today I want to discuss arousal in eSports, although it’s probably a different kind of arousal than most people are expecting. No, I don’t mean Sona or PMantheon’s chest; nor do I mean Jim Raynor’s rugged good looks or Kerrigan’s naked-bug get-up. What I mean is the activation of the body and the mind, which functions on a continuum like this:

Research on arousal level in sports began as early as the turn of the 20th century with  Yerkes and Dodson (1908) who discovered that with higher arousal it was harder to perform complex tasks, but easier to perform easy tasks. Since then we’ve come a long way to understanding how arousal relates to all kinds of performance from sports to arts. Continue reading Arousal in eSports

Relaxation and performance in eSport

Two ends of the spectrum

One of the biggest joys and frustrations in my life is that I coach a special needs team of competitive swimmers. One boy loves to compete; he gets really, super excited about it. In fact every time he dives in for a race he spins his arms like a windmill, and ends up going nowhere fast. I love racing him in longer races because he ‘tires’ himself out and relaxes a little back into his normal, strong stroke. On the other hand, I have another boy who does everything in his life very precisely. When he dives in for his race he calmly and carefully takes every stroke very completely with excellent kick all the way to the end. Not much gets him worked up enough to swim hard.

Continue reading Relaxation and performance in eSport