Categories
esports Inner Voice Tips

Why is that giraffe in the picture?

Knowing your creativity

Photo by David Cassolato on Pexels.com

Improving performance and wellbeing has to be led by you. You have to take the right action and be accountable for your actions as you reflect and adjust and in this blog, I want to share the most powerful aspect of improving performance and wellbeing – your thoughts because it’s your thoughts that drive you to take action/your performance/behaviour

Be aware of your surroundings

Photo by EVG Culture on Pexels.com

Let me take you through a quick fun exercise that helps you understand your thoughts

Take a few seconds to take action on each suggestion:

Look around – what do you see

Listen to the sounds around you what do you hear

Notice your body position and notice the what you’re leaning on, standing on or sitting on

Place your attention to what you can taste

Move your attention to what you can smell

Our five senses help us interpret the world around us but it’s important to understand we can’t process all five at once…Try it.

We are bombarded by about 11 bits of information per second yet we can only process about 50 bits. Think about that for a moment.  That’s a lot of information we are missing or choosing to ignore.

Why do we ignore bits of information?  Because our minds don’t think they have any purpose at that specific moment in time and it’s the exact reason why you haven’t paid attention to your big toe until now.  Spending time thinking about it serves no purpose.

You’ve been successful at connecting with your external methods of communication using your 5 senses so let’s consider your internal communication system

Your internal communication

Again, take a few seconds to take action on each suggestion

Close your eyes and think about your favourite place, a holiday, a sporting event or with friends or family. It’s entirely up to you

What images do you see?

Staying with your favourite place, what sounds can you hear?

Staying in that place, What do you feel?  Warmth, cold, Comfort?

Is there a taste that connects you to that place

Is there a smell that connects you to that place?

Your external and communication systems will form the foundation for your future learning and will help you understand why you think what you think and why you do what you do, which when it comes to improving performance and wellbeing are very relevant

Now imagine a giraffe in your favourite place! Simply pop it in there.

Did you notice the change in your facial expressions, your emotions and your ability to create thoughts?

Change your thought – change your outcome

Photo by Jonas Svidras on Pexels.com

Now you understand your thoughts on a deeper level and how you can change your thoughts, knowing how to improve your performance and wellbeing should become clearer. All you do is change your thoughts. It takes time to learn and just like training physical muscles, it takes time to adjust but with practice, you will find ways to improve quickly

Categories
esports mindset Tips

What to do after a mistake

Mistakes happen!

There is no player in the world that doesn’t make mistakes but many people get upset after a mistake, get angry or even turn off the game! Have you experienced one of those?

There are three things you need to learn which will not only improve your performance but grow your confidence as a person when you need it most

Whatever the mistake is, you quickly accept it happened and immediately bring your thoughts back into the moment. Focus on the present and allow any thoughts about what just happened, to leave your mind quickly

Your inner-voice is powerful and it’s this you need to practice. Tell yourself “I’m doing my best” rather than “WTF happened then!” or “I won’t win now!”

These words will bring a calm to your mind and a calm mind is a focused mind

Tell yourself a mistake is simply a way to learn. You learn by repetition, but also by pushing your boundaries and even when you make a mistake during a simple move, you still tell yourself, you can learn from it.

Some really beat themselves up after a mistake that should never happen but remember we all make mistakes and the key is to refocus quickly

This recipe is one you need to learn in order to improve and stay ahead of the competition and remember, the more you practice, the better you get.

You owe it to yourself to keep improving, to grow and develop as a gamer because there a revery few people out there who will guide you in ways you need to be guided. You have a level of accountability to give yourself the best chance you can

Categories
esports Inner Voice

It’s Christmas

Enjoy

Today is Christmas day and although it’s strange times, know you can appreciate the people around you and the fact you’re alive and gaming has provided you with some ups and down, successes and losses and connected you with people around the world and that in itself is pretty amazing!

What will 2021 bring? Only you know that and allow me to leave you with one little nugget of brilliance

Your thoughts drive you to wherever you focus them as long as those thoughts are realistic.

Your thoughts drive you to behave certain ways but there is a time and place to be conscious of this recipe and today you can give yourself permission to enjoy your family, the food, the company and connect with the people around you

Merry Christmas!

Categories
esports mindset

Death and Performance

Death

Photo by Gratisography on Pexels.com

On Thursday I attended my best friend’s funeral, who had tragically and unfairly died of cancer. Someone I had known for 36 years was diagnosed with cancer of the oesophagus in June and despite all attempts of making it go away, nothing worked.

On Thursday I officially said goodbye to him but a thought kept coming into my head.

Was there anything he could have done differently?

The Pirate Recipe

Photo by Mateusz Dach on Pexels.com

We both played basketball and represented our county (England) at different age groups and as he followed a career in teaching, my interest in performance took me another route, and as I sat in the church listening to the vicar and watching the photos of him scroll through on the screen, amidst the tears I was holding back, I asked if there was anything he could have done differently.

In esports and sports to improve, there is a simple recipe to follow

  • Action – this refers to game time, the playing element of the recipe. This is where you pitch your skills against others
  • Reflect – When the game has ended, you should get in to the habit of reflecting
  • Adjust – When you reflect, you analyse what went well and what you can do differently with the aim to improve with each game by making slight adjustments in training and in games
  • Repeat – When you’ve played and analysed, and adjusted you repeat the process knowing you’ve done what you can to improve and strive towards being the best you can be. This is how you improve

I call this recipe the pirate recipe ARAR!

Reflection

Photo by Ismael Sanchez on Pexels.com

My friend had cancer and when I asked myself the question “what could he have done differently” I wonder about the times he put others before himself, the times he went the extra mile, and the stress that comes with being the head of a prestigious boarding school in Harrogate and I have to remind myself, he chose to be that person he presented to the world. It was how he was, that made him happy and helped him thrive. He couldn’t have done anything differently because he was great at what he did and the love for him proved he was someone that thrived in helping others.

Losing is always a possibility

Photo by Gratisography on Pexels.com

In the game of life, my friend did everything he could to try to win, to beat the cancer but still came up short and in sports, sometimes you an do all you can to try to win, but on the day, your competition is just better. Perhaps it’s luck, perhaps it’s skill or a combination of both but when you lose, you have to accept it for what it is and make adjustments – ARAR!

Unfortunately for my friend there was no way back from beating cancer. There was no rematch, there was no foul called, it was what it was.

But in esports and sports you get the chance to regroup and figure out what you can do differently and make adjustments

Play because you enjoy it

Photo by Lucie Liz on Pexels.com

Esports and sports should be enjoyable and draw out the best in you as an individual, and the moment that fun is lost, it’s time to reflect and really consider if what you are doing is the right thing for you. Do not accept you have to continue to play when the fun has been taken away. If your wellbeing is being affected, you have to ask why because the amount of time and energy you spend playing esports and sports has value and if that value isn’t appreciated, it’s time to make changes

And as I sit writing this, I ask myself is there anything in my life I can adjust to bring more joy into my life and I know what I have to do.

Categories
esports motivation Tips

A mistake is a lesson

Unable to handle the pressure!

Photo by Karolina Grabowska on Pexels.com

Many years ago when I was competing for the England U19 basketball team, I made a horrendous mistake that cost us a game.

The game was close and in the closing minutes they pressed us, forcing pressure on us in the back court. At the time I wasn’t a great ball handler, I was more a scorer and an elite defender.

I remember two players coming at me, forcing me to dribble backwards and in my panic I made a pass.

A poor pass!

The ball was intercepted and they went and scored.

The coach left me on for another play and the same thing happened!

I think we ended up losing by 4 and I remember blaming myself. I was 17 at the time and told myself that would never happen again.

Growing and improving

Photo by Akil Mazumder on Pexels.com

Putting myself under pressure in training gave me the ability to learn to handle the pressure and act differently. My peripheral vision increased, my ball handling skills had improved dramatically and I looked to put myself in those situations and learned to thrive in those so called pressure situations.

I went on to compete in the second tier of British basketball and was voted an All-Star, one of the 20 best players in the division.

Who helped me?

Photo by Viktoria on Pexels.com

Coaches don’t always know what to do! They don’t always know what you’re thinking or feeling and often have their own agenda and try to fit you into their agenda. But every now and again a coach will share an insight that sparks something inside.

I improved because I found a spark and wanted to improve. My desire to improve was greater than my desire to stay the same or even let pressure swallow me up whole and spit me out. I created a drive to be the best I could be. I just needed a coach to believe in my talent and let me do my thing on the court

The ego is a barrier to improving

Photo by Abbat on Pexels.com

When a player or coach believes it’s their way or the highway, failure is just around the corner but a person willing to put their ego to one side and have an open mind to learning, great things can happen.

My England coach told me, if I was ever to improve I would have to learn how to improve my dribbling and I knew exactly what he was referring to. I didn’t need telling twice

Allow the mistake to drive you

Photo by Jonas Svidras on Pexels.com

We all make mistakes but some people take self-sabotaging actions after a mistake is made. They grab fatty, salty food, go for the high caffeine energy drinks and blame themselves trying to find the ‘why’ and lose sleep.

This leads to burnout and a drop in mental and physical health and ultimately losing the love for the game. Don’t let that happen to you!

Your mind is amazing when you give it a chance and understand you can control it so let me share this simple trick.

After a mistake, refocus your thoughts on what you can immediately do differently. Stay focused on the present. Keep your thoughts on the present and do what you do best. You can’t change the past so there is no real benefit of focusing your attention on it at this time.

If this blog has intrigued you or has raised a question in your mind, please comment and I will get back to you

Play with purpose

Mike

Categories
esports mindset Tips

Mental Improvement Tip

Shoot the ball

Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

“Legs!”

I used to play basketball at a high level and these days as much as I enjoy playing more for fitness these days, I still take pride in being the best I can be

Shooting the ball was something I was great at and can still shoot well these days and have to let you know the little trick I use to keep me focused and on my game and why it’s important for you to use this trick

Things won’t always go your way. You will make mistakes during your competitions and its very important you teach yourself to get back on track quickly to avoid your mind wandering and losing even more ground on your competitors so you need to consciously do something to jerk your mind back into action

Recognise The Fault

Photo by Andrea Piacquadio on Pexels.com

When I miss a shot that’s short, I know it’s because I didn’t have enough power in my shot. When I don’t have enough power in my shot I know I didn’t bend my legs enough. Rather than curse under my breath or look to blame something, I utter the word ‘legs’, out-loud

This verbal cue is a clear signal to my brain to make an adjustment quickly and prepare for next time I shoot

Purposeful Self-Talk

Photo by David Cassolato on Pexels.com

Purposeful self-talk will help you clear your mind and pull you back into the moment where you can continue to compete with a positive adjustment

I was speaking with a FIFA pro earlier and I shared my story with him and after I explained the concept and purpose, he came up with a word and anchored the word to a new positive thought that will give him another tool in his box of tricks when he competes, meaning he’s improved in a subtle way, but nonetheless, improved

Your Reality

What word can you use and what meaning can you attach or anchor to that word so when you make a mistake, you can utter that word quickly and refocus?

I invite you to comment and ask questions as you deserve to improve as a player and stay ahead of the competition

Categories
Academy esports overcoming challenges

Handling poor communication from above

I’ve recently been made aware of a couple of instances that involve poor communication from managers that affect the players and I have to address this, not to call the managers out, but to help the players understand the right way to go about handling these situations, knowing you can’t control what others think or do but you can control what you think or do, and it’s important you deal with poor communication in a way that gives you back some sense of control

We all have different perspectives

Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

Think of your up-bringing, your experiences and your passions, the conversations you have, the people around you and the opportunities that surround you and where you place your values.

These are exclusive to you and help you form your opinions of how the world operates and how you fit in with that perception of the world and just like you, managers have their perception of how the world operates and place value on certain things

In some unfortunate situations, it seems some managers or above don’t place the same value in the importance of communication as you might

And this can lead to frustration, missed opportunity or the idea that they just don’t give a crap about you as a person

But there has to be some reflection – have you been communicating your message as clear as you could have?

What can you do?

Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

Accept it is what it is – there’s nothing you can do about things that have already happened so there’s no point spending energy or time on wondering why it happened but you can spend time and energy on what you can do next

We all have a level of self-respect and a level of how we think we deserve to be treated and when those levels aren’t being met, we create some negativity towards that person and when we do that, our behaviour towards them can change

Rather than let those negative thoughts and feelings ruin your focus and lower your sense of self-respect, tell yourself it is what it is and offer forgiveness in your head (forgiving in your head helps you move on from the negativity and focus on how you can move forward)

Here are three things you can do

  • Form a plan writing down short term, medium term, long term goals and your vision then create small projects that you can achieve
  • Use the negativity as fuel to drive you forward
  • Set up a meeting with the person to air your thoughts, suggesting there was a misunderstanding and what do they suggest you do together to move forward. This builds integrity and trust

Reconnect with your value

Photo by Lukas on Pexels.com

You are the one spending time and energy improving your craft, racking up more wins, setting new standards and growing. You have control over your actions and thoughts. Ask yourself one question to draw out your best. Ask yourself ‘for what purpose do I do what I do?”

You know what you need to do and poor communication from above, although annoying at the moment in time, does not reflect the person you are or the dedication you have to your craft. You are the one that can drive your career forward with careful planning and support


The academy is here to support you throughout your career and I want to invite others to subscribe and learn these mental tools so they too can learn how to navigate the life as an epsorts pro. If you know anyone that would benefit please forward the link so they can subscribe

I welcome comments and thoughts as this journey is about your growth

Live with purpose

Mike

Categories
Academy Become who you want to be esports

Losing Sucks!

Photo by Inzmam Khan on Pexels.com

Losing Sucks

If you don’t think losing sucks then perhaps you’re not as competitive as you thought you were and your mind just isn’t primed for success?

That feeling of losing hits you when you when the clock has run out, the race ends and the result hasn’t gone in your favour.

Aaarrggghhhhhh!

What was the point!

What a f@cking disappointment!

How did that happen!

That moment of realisation can hit you hard but let me tell you this secret…

That moment of realisation is just one moment in time and is a small piece in the bigger picture

That moment of realisation provides you with valuable feedback

That moment of realisation is a learning experience

You weren’t the first and you won’t be the last to lose and what you do immediately afterwards will affect your future performances which leads me to ask the question – do you want to continue to improve?

Think differently

One of the first thoughts you should get used to is accepting you lost. Accept on this occasion the chips didn’t fall in your favour, yet you leverage that pain and frustration and use that energy to analyse, break down and practice smarter ready for next time.

Some say you shouldn’t accept losing because losing makes you weak!

Bullsh@t! When you tell yourself not to accept losing, you are only setting unrealistic expectations and setting unrealistic expectations only leads to constant frustration and pressure

Losing is always an option!

The other question I want to ask you is – Did you do everything you could with the information you had to do your best?

Questions to help you grow

Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

Common questions to ask yourself include:

  • Did I get enough sleep?
  • Was anything distracting me (phone, other person, a challenging life event)?
  • Was I relying too much on my reputation?
  • Was my training purposeful and smart?

When you ask yourself these questions and find the truth, there is one other question you must ask which is – What can I do differently next time?


Being part of this academy allows you to explore your thoughts, ideas and concerns in a safe place without the fear of being criticised or judged. The academy invites you to engage and ask questions and share your frustrations so solutions can be found fast.

Your mind is much more powerful than you give it credit for and as the academy shares more insights with you, you’ll see the bigger picture forming and with that in mind, ask yourself one final question and let me know the answer – What do you do when you lose and what can you do differently?


Compete with purpose!

Mike

Categories
Academy esports mindset

Winning!

How did you win?

Winning is simply an outcome

Winning is to be celebrated because you did a lot of things right to reach this outcome and you may have experienced some luck along we way (we all enjoy luck at some point in our lives), but it’s the realisation that all the training, smart work, rested nights and eating habits all played a part in achieving a win

Let me ask you this – Are you aware of what you did to win or is is coincidental?

The recipe for success

Photo by Karolina Grabowska on Pexels.com

Some of you will know how a cake is made, but for the uninitiated let me tell you there’s ingredients, a recipe and a method

You take the ingredients, follow the recipe and method and if you do everything right, you end with an amazing cake!

You still with me? Good!

Just as the cake is the outcome, winning is the outcome when you work with the right ingredients and follow the recipe and method but in the recipe for success, your ingredients include how you think, the emotions you feel and what you do

These recipes are used within 7 areas of your being that include:

  • Reality
  • Vision
  • Communication
  • Expectations
  • Values
  • Beliefs
  • Relationships

Stay ahead of the competition

Photo by nappy on Pexels.com

When you’re winning, there is alignment and your recipe is pretty much spot on, and although you have an advantage over your opponents, when you’re winning you still need to tweak a few of the ingredients because there are others trying to steal those wins away from you.

When you’re at the top of your game, others will be doing all they can to bring you down and gain an advantage so it’s important to know what to do to stay ahead.

Winning consistently for a long period of time is difficult and very few people can accomplish great things consistently.

Think traditional sports men and women like Ronaldo, LeBron James, Messi, Serena Williams, Lewis Hamilton.

What is it they do that you can learn from?

They are consistently taking care of their minds and bodies

The world of esports is different in the sense there is less physical training needed, but don’t let that fact lead you down a path of false sense of security.

Continue to grow

Photo by Akil Mazumder on Pexels.com

Your mind and body still need to grow and adjust to avoid burnout, anxiety and poor performance and to attract positivity, resilience and purpose

To continue to win, you must consciously embrace what’s working for you and continue to do it. Be conscious of your sleeping patterns, what you eat, drink and how you stay healthy.


Final Thoughts

Photo by Andrea Piacquadio on Pexels.com

Being part of this academy allows you to explore your thoughts, ideas and concerns in a safe place without the fear of being criticised or judged. The academy invites you to engage and ask questions and share your stories and frustrations so growth can be achieved easily together.

Your mind is much more powerful than you give it credit for and as the academy shares more insights with you, you’ll see the bigger picture forming and with that in mind, let me ask you these questions– What does winning mean to you? What does winning provide for you? What does winning bring to your life?


Compete with purpose!

Mike

Categories
#mental health esports mindset

Esports – Not just bright lights and amazing content

Burnout at 23!!!

https://esportscontinental.com/uzi-officially-retires-from-league-of-legends/

China’s most famous e-sports player, Jian Zihao, has officially retired from gaming aged 23, citing ill-health reported the BBC in June 2020 (See the full article here)

He had been a professional gamer since 2012, playing League of Legends under the name of “Uzi”.

THE IMPACT

“As a result of staying up late for years, a fatty diet and being under insurmountable stress, last year I found out that I was type-2 diabetic.”

He went on to say that he had changed his work schedule, exercised and “taken medicine”, but that his situation had not changed.

“My mental state is not as good as it was before,” he said.

This is very telling of his lifestyle and the pitfalls of being a pro gamer.

THE GROWTH

https://fnatic.com

In my 8 months of being involved in Esports as a coach, I’ve come to realise gaming as a profession is relatively new, yet esports is growing at a considerable rate. The (former) CEO of Fnatic, Sam Matthews one of the leading Esports organisations with its headquarters in the UK, has this to say about growth.

“While the esports model has always had the keys to success with a continued rise in prominence with a larger global audience, the pandemic accelerated the awareness of the phenomenon. The pandemic highlighted the importance of digital streaming platforms and traditional broadcasters followed suit, reproducing the successful esports model. With broadcasters on board, we anticipate seeing the line of distinction between traditional sports, entertainment and esports continue to blur.” (Read the full article in Forbes here)

THE DILEMMA

Balance

With growth at such a fast pace, the pressures and expectations to succeed suddenly become a lot more real and here’s the dilemma. Young adults who dominate the demographic of gamers need to be resilient and understand there is more to winning than practicing up to 14 hours a day.

They have to consider downtime, diet, physical activity, spending time with family and friends and creating a schedule that allows the person to thrive and find a balance

When the person thrives, the professional gamer thrives

Uzi, the example above, didn’t know or understand the value and importance of finding that balance and personally I believe he can make a comeback with a few mental adjustments and changes to his lifestyle.

The question is does he want to get involved again?

THE POTENTIAL CHALLENGES

If you follow traditional sports like football (soccer) basketball and cricket for example, you can google many examples of players struggling under the pressure, suffering from anxiety and falling out of the game they once loved.

Do we want the same to happen to the young esports players? Let me remind you of the words of Sam Matthews “we anticipate seeing the line of distinction between traditional sports, entertainment and esports continue to blur.” Already we know the lines are already blurred from a mental wellbeing perspective.

For 7 years as a mental performance coach, I’ve coached footballers and basketball players and spoken to many former players about their issues and anxieties including how they were treated by their managers, their agents and others who wanted to exploit the players only for their own financial gain and I’d like to think a governing body to support the wellbeing of esports athletes is at least being considered. If not, I’m ready to lead on creating that project.

THE BRILLIANCE OF ESPORTS

League Of Legends Final 2019

If I were to join a team or even start a team, I’d place the wellbeing of the player at the centre of the organisation because I know if the players aren’t thriving the organisation will fail. Yes I’m aware there will be others waiting in the wings, but is that the message I’d want to send? If you can’t handle the pressure we will simply replace you? Definitely not!

Technology, content, apparel, hardware, software, events etc all play a huge part in the promotion and delivery of esports which is brilliant but sometimes, lost beneath all this excitement, social media presence, bright lights and amazing content is the fact that the players and indeed content creators need to understand how to navigate this world without experiencing burnout, anxiety or pressures because when they do, the love and passion for what they do will fade and losing a passion through burnout can be devastating. Just ask Uzi

If you’ve found this blog interesting, misinformed or intriguing, please let me know and comment. I’m open to feedback, questions and celebrations.

Live with purpose

Mike