Gaming is amazing! Playing for fun and enjoyment connects you with people all around the world and helps build confidence and social skills and there has been some positive things written about gaming and you deserve to enjoy what you do. remember you started to game for fun and it’s important to remember that
When Things Get Competitive
Perhaps casual gaming turned into something more serious when you started to win. Others began to pay attention to you and offer you opportunities that excited you and raised your curiosity
When the competitive element is added, others can bring a sense of seriousness into the mix as their expectations to win, can sometimes affect your perspective because once winning and money are added to the equation, the purpose of gaming changes
There is a mental shift when gaming shifts from ‘just for fun’, to ‘competing for prizes’ and some people can’t handle that shift and I wonder how these young teenagers do cope with the changes because it’s hard enough as a young teenager dealing with life changes without the added pressure of trying to live up to the expectations of others and unless you have a natural ability to stay grounded or receive training, when things get real, some can be overwhelmed and begin to fall apart
Is Being A Pro For You?
Being a pro isn’t for everyone and there’s no shame in admitting or accepting you’ve gone as far as you choose to go, yet the prizes, rewards and association with others can drive you to learn new strategy and perspectives, have an open mind to learning and improve quickly to stay ahead of the competition
I was speaking with someone in the British Esports Association earlier and he was telling me the bright lights and dreams of becoming a pro and earning millions, suck young gamers in, but there is little to help them manage the expectation so many are left very disappointed, overwhelmed and flapping around spending hours trying to make it when they don’t have a chance, but they cling to a dream
Gaming is fun! Having a strategy is very important for your wellbeing and you need to be able to reflect and take stock of where you are and consider if you’re having fun as a professional gamer. If you’re not having fun you really need to ask yourself why you’re doing what you’re doing
There will be challenging times, there will be times when you lose, there will be times when you’re distracted, there will be times of success, there will be times of celebration and the roller coaster of ups and downs are part of being a professional gamer and if you can accept this and look after yourself, then you’re on the right path to success
Elite Sports Minds 23 offers insights such as this one but we also deliver services to help the esports industry focus on delivering a player centric approach to improve performance and value by recognising winning is simply an outcome of lots of things falling right and we know what needs to happen to win and want to share those insights with you
Please comment, share and like and remember…have fun!
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
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?
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
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
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.
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?
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
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?
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
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:
Stay ahead of the competition
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
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.
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?
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”.
“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.
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)
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 “weanticipate 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
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.
One of my first questions with a client is ‘what’s really holding you back?’ We have to cut through the bullshit and get to the nitty-gritty of what the real issue is so we can begin to find solutions quickly.
Back in February 2020, comparing himself to brilliance was one of the situations one of my clients experienced as a member of a pro FIFA team with the number 4 player in the world as a teammate. He felt he wasn’t good enough. He felt under-prepared and under pressure. He felt he was letting the team down.
After a few coaching sessions exploring limiting beliefs and internal communication (self-talk) we removed the sense of comparison and replaced it with ownership of his own ability for when you learn to focus on developing self to be the best you can be as opposed to trying to catch up to those better than you, great things will happen.
Does this sound familiar? Do you compare yourself to your better team-mates?
Stop it now! They had a different journey and life experiences than you and to compare yourself to them is like comparing the capabilities of a PS4 with a PS1, it’s just not fair. Learn and appreciate and accept your own journey without comparing yourself to others and great things will happen for you and your team.
New perspectives lead to improved results
You can choose to follow the crowd or walk your own path. How easy is it to follow the crowd? Just ask a sheep. This is what they do best! Following the crowd creates a sense of belonging, acceptance and common ground in which to connect with your fellow humans so why should anyone dare to walk in the other direction?
Michael Jordan, Kobe Bryant (RIP), Messi. Do you think they followed the crowd?
To improve ahead of the natural curve you must do things differently, not necessarily more, but differently.
My client learned to do things differently, which led to multiple top 100 results weekly and monthly meaning he became one of the top 100 players in the world whereas prior to working with me, he never made the top 100.
UPDATE ALERT – “I played the pro for Hamburg at 27-1 who beat me a few days back. I beat him 2-0. I controlled the tempo and the whole game. I’m in the top 20 in the world for the month!”
Don’t be a sheep, be bold and grow in a different direction than the crowd.
Growth and sustained performance
Small increments of improvement add up to huge rewards and benefits and It’s only in the end result you can truly appreciate the smart work you’ve done has paid off.
This message from my client showed me the growth of his performance in just a short space of time, ahead of the natural curve. “The weekend league I finished 29-1. A handful of games finished 1-0 to me, which I now realise, is still a WIN! 1-0 or 10-0 same result! Don’t celebrate till the final whistle. My stream hit an all time high! I usually hit maximum 20 views if I’m lucky, I got tup to 7.6k at one point!! Sorry for this late message but check this 30-0 A first 30 win weekend! The amount I’ve improved this last month is crazy, your help is honestly incredible”
Coaching gives me moments like this that I cherish and value because improving takes guts. It takes a bold move to come out of your comfort zone and learn how to do things differently. But not everything will go your way and what happens when the unexpected happens? What can you do when events out of your control hit you hard? Find out next time to discover how my client dealt with Covid.
The Covid-19 Factor
Just as my client was getting ready to kick ass in competitions, a virus put everything on hold for FIFA, meaning the momentum we were building could have been lost. Some would throw in the towel; see it as a way of relaxing and use Covid as an excuse as to why their performance has dropped. What choice did my client take? Did he throw the towel in and make excuses? Here’s what he told me
“The best in the world isn’t grinding as much, it’s almost as though he’s happy with his position at the top, but it won’t last forever and that’s why I’m not sitting back while it’s off season and accepting the competitive season is on hold, since we’ve been working together I’ve developed an obsession with being the absolute best and I’m not going to stop. I feel like we’ve made incredible progress but there’s obviously always improvements to be made. So happy about this Mike. Mind-set is everything! You motivate me, knowing every Monday I receive a message from you with an update and I enjoy knowing there’s a little pressure from you. Even Covid, such a negative effect on the world but I believe I’ve used it as a positive to better myself”
Boom! The mind-set of a champion in the making right there!
There’s light at the end of this tunnel and with the momentum on his side; his mind-set has been honed and adjusted and ready for the new season.
He knows he’s been working smart and doing everything in his power to make an immediate impact.
Have others been doing the same? It doesn’t matter. Have others been slacking off? It doesn’t matter. What does matter is my client has been preparing in a way that has allowed him to unlock his potential in ways he wouldn’t have known.
With a new mind-set comes a new perspective of the world and not only in Esports but in life. The tools we explore go much deeper than sports and this quote from him demonstrates why
“The game (FIFA 21) has just dropped for 10 hours early access so I’ve been just grinding it non stop. I’m learning constantly to better myself on and off the pitch. I’m excited for the year ahead!”
The first week of competition and this happened!
“It came to the first weekend league, the first test & im instantly in the top 100 finishing 29 wins & 1 loss, making me verified first week! I’m happy with this but the 1 loss on penalties is in the back of my mind because I know I’m even better and capable of even more!“
His thoughts on the coaching journey
This player is eager, he’s hungry to grow but not all players have this mindset and for me, as a coach I have to know if potential clients have the right mind set and ask three simple questions
Do you have a need or desire to improve
Have you an open mind to learning new techniques and strategy
With my support are you prepared to take new action for improved results
“Mike, it’s amazing it’s such a great journey what we’ve been through! Good times and bad times! I’m a lot more patient, stuff isn’t going to happen overnight and the little details are so so affective! I’m using so much as motivation in everything“
Are you a gamer, A performance director or CEO wanting to know how to improve performance?
Many years ago as a 16 year old basketball player, my team, Bolton was playing Leicester in the semi-final of the National Cup. The winner would go on to play powerhouse London Royals.
The semi final was a tough affair, with both teams giving their all but it’s the last few seconds that remind me of the difference between winning and losing.
Down by two with just a few seconds remaining, we could either tie the game or go ahead.
The ball was passed to me at the top of the key, near the three point line.
I saw the clock ticking down
This was it!
This was my moment!
As two defenders came towards me I launched a shot!
I remember my team mates throwing their arms up in frustration and disbelief!
What had I done!
I’d just lost the game!
This exact moment was the fine line between winning and losing and I ended up on the wrong side!
Over the years, I redeemed myself, hitting a couple of game winners and game tying shots, but I had to learn how to think differently.
One of the things I teach and coach players that come to me, is how to create a calm focused mind in the times when it matters because it’s been proven a calm, focused mind is more likely to make the right choice at the right time, when the pressure is on.
Back when I missed that shot, my mind was racing with so many thoughts, I wasn’t focused on the moment.
I was already thinking ahead when in fact I should have been playing in the moment and if I had been playing in the moment, I would have seen an open team mate.
Whether you’re playing E-sports or live sports at a competitive level, it’s important to learn how to be calm and focused at key moments, because whether you win or lose, can depend largely on the thought you have at that specific moment.
There are many emotions that affect an athlete’s behaviour and decisions including confidence, frustration, anger, jealousy, calmness, fear, disgust, happiness, contempt and it’s important that you know, as an athlete, your actions are led by your emotions.
So how do you train yourself to have a calm mind in key moments?
I’ll share a strategy with you now
Visualisation – Think of the last time you had a chance to win the game. Recall the emotions and feelings and behaviours you demonstrated at that time. Really connect with what you saw, heard and felt.
If the outcome was in your favour, recall that vision in all it’s glory and remind yourself at that time you made the right decision and all the thoughts, feelings and emotions you felt at that time were the right ones. Tell yourself, to repeat this feat, you can recall these emotions again.
If the outcome wasn’t in your favour, ask yourself what emotion would you replace with the one you felt and replay the scenario over in your head and attach that new emotion but with the outcome changing to be in your favour.
Emotional awareness is a powerful trait to have as an athlete and just as you train your body to be a peak performer, you can train your mind to focus at the right time.
With competition levels increasing, it’s important you gain a psychological edge over your opponents, because trust me, there are others out there, wanting to improve quickly.
You will either be left behind or you’ll stay ahead of the field.
You have a choice, you always have a choice on how you approach competition, all you have to do is think what you want…
If this post has intrigued you and you want to know more, please get in touch and let’s connect.