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
This past weekend was the IEM 2012 world championships in Hannover, Germany [SPOILER ALERT!]. It was an all around success for both the championship teams and esports in general. As a Starcraft 2 fan I got to see some of my favorite match ups. We had a redux of MMA vs Feast. And as an ex-resident of Chile I cheered heavily for KiLLeR and was happy to see him supported and competing on the international stage.
Aside from the matches there were many interesting interviews and even some special content produced by ESL, Intel, and Razer. Today I want to talk about two of my favorite moments. The first was RotterdaM’s explanation of what makes eSports dynamic, and the second is Razer’s “The story so far” video featuring Team Dignitas, where the manager Odee defines success for his team as consistent performance. Continue reading RotterdaM and Team Dignitas on success in eSports
This week I wanted to talk about a topic that is close to my heart, sportsmanship in eSports. Everybody is familiar with EG Idra, the famous Starcraft 2 zerg player who pays respect to opponents who beat him, but sometimes not those that he feels he lost too. Recently in League of Legends there was controversy during a Moscow 5 (M5) versus MonoeSports (MM) match when an M5 member snapped at an opponent in game chat. These events always give rise to various discussions about sportsmanlike conduct, and aside from throwing out my opinion on the subject I also want to point out some surprising connections that character development has to performance!
Surpassing our Limits
What is purpose? That implacable determination to keep moving forward. The view that an obstacle does not stop us in our tracks, but provides us an opportunity to surpass our limits. Peoples’ purpose comes from many sources. Our children, our dreams, selfish and altruistic desires, passionate mentors, the list goes on and on. Today I want to talk about a source of motivation and purpose that is common in sports, the power of the team. More specifically, why do some League of Legend teams seem to perform greater than the sum of their players’ talent, and why do Starcraft 2 players, who ultimately perform individually, chose to practice on and represent a team?
Conversation leads to collaboration
Last week there was a fantastic discussion in the comments after I posted my article on pre-performance. One of the topics that came up was simply, “Where do I start?” That’s a good question to ask, because on a site that is filled with new information it is hard to find a beginning. There are so many tools, theories, and discussions flying around that one is liable to spend all their time reading and thinking about things, but never actually doing. Unless you are Kaleopolitus, whose middle name is apparently “doing things.” If you want to learn how to turn your life around, I’d go read the story. For my own part, I want to continue in the same vein and contribute an easy method to get ones head in the game, instead of letting the game play with their head.
The Frozen Sea
Recently I found myself in Vaasa, Finland, and for the first time in my life I have encountered the frozen sea. Of course, I know that the sea does freeze, but somehow I always imagined it as the far North, where the seals and an occasional polar bear milled about. Here is a bustling city filled with humans, some of whom walk out on the frozen sea and fish off the edge. Being from Minnesota I’m familiar with ice fishing the lakes through holes. Why drill a hole when there is a large expanse available? Still I feel as though it should be classified as risky behavior.
All of the cold has had me reflecting on some recent memories. The first came from when I was listening to interviews players gave after IEM Guangzhou, and the overriding theme was about the cold and generally inhospitable climate in the convention center. More recently at IEM Kiev, Riot Gaming’s Phreak commented that most successful ladder players do not do well at their first LAN event simply because they aren’t accustomed to the environmental side affects, such as cold hands, bright lights, and loud sounds.
During IEM Kiev there was a short match in round 1 of the Starcraft 2 playoffs between Millennium’s Feast and Slayers MMA. After the game Mr. Bitter, a commentator at the event, interviewed Feast and we had a chance to hear about his qualification for the tournament, the games versus MMA, and his hopes for IEM Sao Paolo.
Read the first article in the series! – Introduction to self-talk
Read the second article in the series! – Improving self-talk part 1 – awareness
Focus and drive, the mental edge
Now that you are convinced that your self-talk can give you an edge in training and competition it’s time to practice making the best productive self-talk. First though, you should practice some sort of technique for emptying your mind or stopping your thoughts. Most people use a simple word like “stop” or “no” and associate a strong image with it such as a bus or train screeching to a halt or slamming into a solid object. It doesn’t seem to mater much what you choose, as long as it is simple and strong (or fast and fun). Typically though the effect will start off rather weak and only get stronger with use.
The next step is to replace unhelpful self-talk with productive, and the best way to do this is use your unproductive self-talk to craft your helpful statements. Continue reading Improving self-talk part 2 – helpful self-talk