You’re a gamer, a competitive gamer.And you’re actually quite good at it. But you’re not as good as the pros, or even your one friend who somehow got to challenger last season. But these guys are outliers, in fact it’s kind of mystery how someone can get so good. Or is it? I would argue that becoming a great competitive gamer isn’t such a mystery. In fact becoming a great player is actually quite simple. And on top of that – most gamers miss the most important factor in gaming success – and if you’re to optimize this one factor you’ll become a much greater player, maybe even one of these guys…
Like I said becoming a great player is actually quite simple. It really comes down to two things. Training and Performance. Training is the process of building your skill and I’m sure you’ve noticed that the more you play a game, the more skill you develop.
In a lot of ways training is like grinding for experience in a given game. For example in League of Legends you gain experience for every game you play. Thus the more games you play, the more experience. This we will call frequency. But in training, frequency isn’t everything – in fact many players will hit plateaus or even diminishing returns if they get stuck doing the same thing over and over.
The other key factor in training is quality. Not only will quality help you surpass plateaus but it will help you gain skills much, much quicker.
Going back to the analogy of grinding for experience, it’s like winning games in League of Legends versus losing games. When you win games, you gain much more experience. For example if you play for 10 games and you lose everyone of those 10 games, opposed to if you play another 10 games and you win everyone of those 10 games, the experience you get with winning is much, much higher. In the same amount of time!
In skill development the quality of training comes down to things like deliberate practice or how well you’re able to retain information learned.
But let’s look at the other major factor in gaming success. That factor being performance. Because while you train and develop skill you have to able apply those skills when it counts. If you develop a pro skill level but you have awful placement matches matches or seem to blow it in every tournament – you won’t receive a lot of success.
This is why pro players need to achieve a level of peak performance during their most important matches come.
Alright, becoming a great player comes down to these factors; training more, improving the quality of your training and learning to achieve your peak performance state. A few factors, thus it’s quite simple. Even if it’s not easy.
But like I said earlier there is one huge factor that almost all competitive gamers over-look, to me this is not only the most fascinating aspect of competitive gaming, but it is key to your success. And if you’re to take advantage of this, you’ll not only improve as a competitive gamer, but you’ll gain a huge competitive advantage.
This one factor is… your brain, or more specifically your cognitive performance.
By this what I really mean is your brain’s ability to work on a given task. To break this down and understand it better let’s look at what neuropsychologists call the cognitive domains – things like:
– Attention and Concentration
– Motor Skills
All of these are insanely important in your ability to train and perform. If you’re to optimize for each one of these your gaming abilities will go through the roof! And let me show you why…
Lets look at 3 of these cognitive domains and look at how they affect your training and performance.
Alright, today you’re focused on training. You’re specifically practicing your last-hitting in League of Legends. This is a basic skill to practice, but it’s insanely important. Let’s also say on this day you’re running off next to no sleep, and you haven’t eaten in hours, so you’re feeling both brain fogged, and a little hangry.
As you start practicing, you have trouble concentrating – you keep getting distracted by the other things around you – your enemy laner, what’s going on, on the mini-map, and what items you need to buy next. Consciously you know to focus on the minions and their health, but you just can’t. Even by staring at the minions and watching for their health go down, you may lose focus for a split second and miss every opportunity to last hit.
But let’s say eventually your focus isn’t the problem, it starts to improve, but you’re faced with another challenge. Your motor skills. Today, your motor skills just aren’t there. You watch the minions health, and you know exactly when you’re supposed to click, but the time it takes for you to register this and actually click is just milliseconds to slow, and thus you miss almost every single minion in the wave.
On top of this, your memory is quite off, not only does this mess up your in-game performance but your brain is unable to learn from these mistakes. Thus making this practice session a complete waste of time.
Now let’s look at the opposite – say you had a great sleep, a nutritious breakfast and even went for a quick run. Now you’re ready to start training.
As you start practicing, your brain feels like it’s on fire with energy and you’re insanely alert. As you watch the minion’s health you are able to focus your awareness on every detail – it’s as though everything is in slow motion – thus making it easier to click for that last hit. And since your motor skills are on point today there is no delay. But even better, when you make a mistake or do something right, your brain is aware of the small details of how that happened and learns really quickly from every situation. So not only can you correct yourself quickly in the game, but you’re making lasting impacts on your skill level.
The difference in practicing with good versus bad cognitive performance is obviously important – you could waste hours or even days “practicing” when you’re really not making any progress at all. On the opposite side, when you’re practicing with great cognitive performance you can get into a hyper learning state – where you feel like an absolute genius.
It’s obvious where this plays into performance during important games – when you can achieve great cognitive performance, you’ll achieve peak performance and win much easier. Opposed to losing because your brain just feels too foggy to work today.
But how can you take advantage of this? How can you improve your cognitive performance? And this is a big question, so I’m going to be going a lot deeper on it in later videos. But I want to give you an idea of what you can start doing today. Things that you’ve been told are good for you, they really are. Things like getting more sleep, eating healthy are insanely important for your cognitive performance.
If you eat crappy food, it’s going to slow down your brain. If you’re running on fumes because of an all-nighter you’re not going to play well.
And if you want to get into advanced techniques, you can look to things like neurofeedback, or my personal favorite nootropics. All of these things will boost your brain’s performance and thus your gaming performance.
So for now keep this mind when you play. Stay aware of your cognitive performance. Notice when you feel sharp and do really well, or when you’re crashing from a sugary energy drink, and constantly losing. Because the more you get in-tune with your cognitive performance, the more you’ll be able to shape you lifestyle around always being in this peak state. And what’s even greater is that most competitive gamers over-look this. They make mistakes like eating bad food, or pulling all-nighters without realizing what it does to their performance.
And since you now that you have this key knowledge it’s about to unlock for you an entire world of gaming success.