Player Guide: Ready Yourself For the Big Leagues

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Every season of competitive play we further prepare ourselves through a mixture of checklists, which represent the core embodiment of true-to-the-nature ready participants. Whether your involvement is strictly as a hobbyist, semi-professional or a full-time professional, effort of sorts must be shown in your season to play out smoothly. Compiled below are 8 tips across the spectrum that should be looked into to prepare yourself as an individual and as a teammate.

1) Scheduling Your Agendas

Being tardy for anything is borderline inexcusable. If your work or school doesn’t allow you to come in late, then why would you expect your teammates or opponents to allow it? Scheduling your agenda is a commonality among professionals in all crafts, and a requirement which shouldn’t be done in haste.

Schedule everything. Why? It’s simple, organized people are more productive. More productivity means more accomplishments. More—accomplishments means more success.

More success means more establishment. It’s a chain affect that helps adapt your lifestyle to something that truly works wonders.

Now how is this integrated into eSports and your season of competitive play? Unless you’re playing professionally you are most likely working a 9–5 job, going to school or both. Scheduling your agenda micromanages your day and develops a good trait. What are the things you should be scheduling?

  • Schedule your practice sessions as an individual and with your team.
  • Schedule your matches in advance with enough time to account for delays or breaks.
  • Schedule your meetings/workshops/training sessions with your team.
  • Schedule your specific tasks such as VOD reviews, social media, etc.

2) Mentally & Physically Prepare Yourself

Mental and physical fortification are very important aspects of achieving better performance in and out of the game. During your season of competitive play, you’ll face a series of obstacles which will stress you out which could lead to being overly stress which leads to a list of afflictions, higher blood pressure, stress eating, depression, etc. To avoid this you should exercise your body and mind—physically and mentally.

Before you play your title of choice everyday, stretch your arms, massage the tendons in your hands, perform light cardio so your back is relaxed and prepared for the strain. Sitting down for a lot of hours playing CS can put a lot of strain on your mental state and your physical condition. A quick summary of a workout that complements your play during this season of competitive play.

  • 1 sets in a repetition of 10: jumping jacks
  • 1 set in a repetition of 20: crunches
  • 1 set in a repetition of 25: pushups
  • 1 set in a repetition of 15: lunges
  • A series of stretches, massaging your hands, rotating and relaxing your wrist, back, shoulders and arms

Note: You should work your way up to achieving these exercises. Conditioning and building tolerance to ensure you don't burn yourself out or overly-work your body. Remember, everything in moderation!

Do this before you play, in between long sessions, and afterwards. A minimal 30 minutesworkout with an aspiration of working out 3 times a week. However integrating light workouts doesn’t excuse you from not dieting properly. It isn’t a proper substitution, every body is different and x guide might help x person but may not help z person. I recommend switching to healthier foods and when you snack eat healthier things.

Granola bars, figs, fruits, stay hydrated with lots and lots of water. For meals eat a healthier alternative. This isn’t just for your gaming hobbies, it’s for a better lifestyle — to break away from the stereotypical nerdy gamer who plays games and eats Doritos all day. Adapting yourself turns into a year long plan, readying yourself for long-term goals in your pipeline.

To prepare yourself mentally I would recommend a couple of things. Mainly proper development, remaining optimistic yet realistic. Understand your reality and avoid problems caused through escapism. Understand your limitations. Learn to properly ventilate negative emotions. Losing is part of life. You can't win them all just look at professional teams. Mental fortification will grant you a competitive edge over your opponent, while developing yourself as a level-headed player which teammates love long-term.

Breathe, don’t tilt yourself by allowing your negative impulses to control your gameplay and your attitude. Take small breaks in between to exercise, and to clear your head and relieve some of that built up stress. Talk to teammates effectively through your scheduled tasks and constructively give feedback about yourself and your teammates instead of building bad tension. Number 1 reason why teams fall apart: Internal conflicts because of the lack of mediation.

3) Learn To Network & Brand

Here at eSportsRDA, I'm the Managing Director, I run operations, administration, and delegate tasks to my subordinates. I'm very hands-on so as the resident jack of all trades, I help out our clients and the eSportsRDA staff, especially the marketing side.

I help people market themselves among many things. It's extremely important for those long-term goals as an individual and a team. Think big and outside the box. Look in from the outside and wonder if there's something you could be doing.

If you're serious about being a successful player in a successful team, aiming at being scouted by an established sponsor or a company, then I recommend you start branding yourself or the team you play for. Create a brand around your image(s). Learn to utilize Twitter, Twitch and other platforms to gather a fan-base or pen your history/presence as a player and a team.

Tweet your events, livestream your matches, create content that people can relate to or do something that could substantially increase your opportunities for success. Build a brand, it won’t happen overnight, but just like freelancers who build portfolios for potential clients, you should too.

Networking is the simplest for many. Break out of your shell and starting connecting with new people. New community members. New mutual friends in your circle. Ring (substitute) for people who aren’t available to play so other teams know you’re a force to be reckoned with. Even if you’re not looking to become the next big thing, it’s never bad to learn something that will ultimately become another lifelong skill.

See also:

4) Develop Your Personal Skills

As a player you will have a certain set of skills. Maybe you’re great at entry-fragging. Maybe you’re great at b̶a̶i̶t̶i̶n̶g̶ lurking. Maybe you’re a great strategist. Maybe you’re even good at all the above. Developing your skills is the core of your gameplay, but don’t allow yourself to believe in the impossible or out of reach.

Statistically 90% of a games player base will be compromised of low-elo or average-elo. Don’t feel bad it’s absolutely normal. Do your best to allocate time to practice and hone your personal skills that makes you a unique asset. Don’t try to be the hero, do all you can, nothing less, nothing more.

The ideal team is compiled of players of different skills who mesh together. A balance of mechanical play, diversity in personality, play style, culture fit, technical skill, and chemistry.

Look at the best teams nationally and internationally, all players who come from different backgrounds, with different skills who can come together. If you look at the tenured teams, many have played together for years as friends before officiating their team status. Cementing their names in history while playing with people they love in and out of the game.

They excel and contribute individually and make the team dynamic unique. Remember your attitude could become the biggest double-edge sword. We have seen time and time again, star athletes with terrible attitude that cause a malevolent rift within the team structure. Single handedly ruining opportunities based on their attitude alone.

5) Work As a Real Team

This season you’re either playing with an existing roster of friends/peers, you’re rapidly running around looking for people to fill up the roster or you’re thoroughly on-boarding people into the team as a starter or a backup. That being said it's hectic until things settle in however you should never play on a team that is disorganized, prematurely put together or simply put, a big hindrance on your potential.

Don’t join a team because you feel like you're forced to due to time constraints, limitations, or experience. Find like-minded individuals who you admire and respect as a player and a person. After that, work through your obstacles as a team. Ensure tasks are appointed to each member of the team so everyone works equally and fairly. Rotate tasks such as VOD reviews one day, scheduling the next, or presenting findings during practice and etc.

If you want to find success you’ll avoid putting yourself in a harmful environment where nothing is achieved because you’re doing everyone’s job. It’s not fair to you and your time. My advice when it comes up to building teams, companies, infrastructures in general— don't be afraid to sit out until you find the right people.

6) Find Leadership

Find leadership among the team setting. Everything should be done respectfully through discussions, votes, in a civil manner. Players should designate roles internally to remain consistent as you glide through the season of competitive play. Organically mold the team through trial and error, there will be some struggles in the beginning, but leadership is a non-negotiable and a non-compromise. Keep trying until you find that suitable leader.

Natural leaders will lead during times of trouble. Seek them out and ask for their guidance on matters relating to your gameplay, your team, the agenda that accompanies it and even personal matters. The people you play with will become a family away from home. Don’t be afraid to confide in them, they’re there to help — at least they should be.

Leaders will take charge, delegate authorities and tasks which organize everything from A to Z. Leaders are those individuals who go the extra mile without being asked. Leaders are those individuals who will coordinate in and out of the game without it affecting them as much as it would a non-leader, if at all. They're used to it, as a matter of fact, that's what drives them. They love the self-starting ambitions of getting tasks done, and they'll be the ones to help your competitive spirit take off to a new level.

7) Prepare Your Finances

Being in a team even casually is time-consuming. You’ll spend time playing countless hours instead of working, socializing outside the game or attending school. If you’re a student, and you play in a competitive season, you’ll lose the opportunity to gain income or study more. Preparing your budget beforehand will let you know the overview of what's possible this time around. Showing you how much time you’re allowed to devote into the game, how many hours you're allowed to put into the game without it affecting your study time.

If you’re a full-time student or full-time worker, working 30+ hours a week, this is where your skills in scheduling shine. Scheduling practices, matches and other sorts of functions to dictate when it's best for you and the the team. Someone who works a lot might have the luxury of affording certain expenses such as equipment upgrades, travel fees, league fees and so forth, but may play only a handful of hours throughout the day, and etc. This is where it gets tricky.

Finding suitable people for suitable roles. Finding someone who could pitch in for services can be great, but you should focus on people who are able to play a reasonable amount and contribute more than just playing. It goes hand in hand with one of the earlier points, don't feel forced to play with a team, ease in.

Someone who may be a student or unemployed, will have less funds, but more opportunities at playing. If you're in that category, you should save up way in advance to prepare enough for league fees initially, some money for expenses such as events or even equipment in case of damages. Don’t allow yourself to get blindsided by the game itself and focus on your life duties first. Players should chip in, hold pools and fundraisers internally for expenditure such as a website, additional products or services (Teamspeak, practice server, etc.)

8) Prepare To Lose

It's 14-15, you're a man down, you're left alive with 30 seconds on the clock. You are the last man sitting in a 1v2 scenario. You blood begins to boil, you heart-rate increases, you start feeling the intensity building as you race to plant the bomb on time. You breathe slowly as you approach the bomb-site, noticing an enemy unaware, you take the opportunity to kill him. 1 dead, 1 more alive, you have 10 seconds on the clock. You plant quickly, take a corner and hide as your teammates anxiously listen-in and look through your perspective. The bomb is ticking, you feel like you've got this in the bag, but suddenly he appears and you trade shots. He wins.

The bomb gets defused and the score goes from 14-15 to 14-16. Game over. You sit there wondering what just happened, and how you could have prevented it. The team remains silently before someone sighs, maybe even chuckling afterwards. You lost, but it certainly isn't going to end your career, one of many losses to come.

You’re going to lose in many aspects. You’re going to lose playoffs. You’re going to lose players. You’re going to lose friendships, and relationships inside and outside of the game. You’re going to sacrifice a lot to devote the amount of time that is expected of teammates. Losing will always be interpreted in many ways, but you should always see it as motivation and a learning experience.

I never thought of losing, but now that it’s happened, the only thing is to do it right. That’s my obligation to all the people who believe in me. We all have to take defeats in life. — Muhammad Ali

Everything mentioned above summarizes the most important aspects of competing in leagues, and so forth. Prepare yourself, use this article as a template to what you need to improve on before you ready yourself for the big leagues. Good luck and have fun!

How did your first season of competitive play go? What makes a great team? Got a suggestion or feedback for next weeks Player Guide? Let us know in the comments below or tweet at us!

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