Performance Enhancement: Further Improving your Game!
by Sean “Blazek” Emes, edited by Jordan “Doomhammer” Kahn
More than a year ago I wrote the article “Performance Enhancement: Improving your Game.” That article was aimed at things every gamer can do improve their game and how to learn to be a better player. Since then I have gotten a lot of positive feedback and plenty of requests for more tips that players can use to improve, both in general and for specific game types. So as the 2012 competitive season starts up, now is a great time to expand on the idea with Performance Enhancement part 2!
It's game time!
Setting a Schedule:
If you are serious about becoming a competitive gamer then it is important to create a schedule for your game time, just like you would for any field in which you are trying to improve. Whether you start smaller with just two hours, three times a week, or you dive in headfirst and can make a schedule for daily practice, make your schedule and stick to it! Remember: consistency is habit forming. By sticking to your training hours you will be more likely to train consistently, and your game will improve faster. Not only that, but the discipline it takes to stick to a schedule will carry over into the game, and help make you a better player. Not bad just for having a training calendar.
One Thing at a Time!
Throughout the many sports I have played in my life, each of them was improved by a similar training method: every time you train, spend the majority of your time focusing on a single aspect of your game. Let’s take tennis as an example. If you are just starting tennis it would be impossible to try and learn to serve, forehand, backhand, volley, and apply spin properly all in one day. So you start with one aspect, learn that, and move onto another in the next training session. This applies directly to competitive gaming as well! Pick an aspect of your game for each day (or training session) and focus on perfecting only that. While overall play may suffer during training due to the narrow focus, that’s to be expected. The goal of a training session is not to win, but to practice specific skills that will make you better overall.
Today we practice…lunging!
The Importance of Losing
We’ve all been there, and sucks. Losing is never something any player wants to do; but it is an important part of becoming a better player as long as you understand WHY you lost. The most immediate and common reaction to losing is anger, frustration, and misplacing the blame. It is an easy way to deny the fact that we made mistakes or just aren’t good enough at something. Fortunately, we discussed this here on Geek to Me when we talked about embracing your suck . It’s easier to improve when you don’t have unrealistic expectations of yourself, and can immediately skip to the part where you accept your loss and try to understand what went wrong. A good place to start is to watch replays of games you lost, from every angle possible (yours, your opponent’s and the observers). With many games today, the features allow for much better analysis, and effective understanding is the only way to move forward!
While it’s important to start by learning from your mistakes, it is equally important to be rewarded for your successes. After training, winning practice matches, or placing well in a tournament you should evaluate your improvement and reward yourself for doing well. There is a psychology behind positive reinforcement, and allowing the reward portion of your brain to engage when you do well will help to make winning and improving habitual and satisfying. If you’re doing it right, you’ll end up enjoying your own progression and every step along the way. So get out there and start training!