In esports it’s not uncommon to see stories of rising stars who show an insane level of devotion and conviction as they train for 16 hours a day with complete focus, then getting on stage at big tournaments, performing with complete confidence, while their entire reputation and future is on the line.
How do they do this?!
Seriously?! How the hell can you snap into a mode where you’re 100% focused on improving, and as a result making so much progress so easily?
Well, the simple answer is their mindset, which in essence is the lens through which they see the world.
When you’re playing at the top level, when everything is on the line, when your dream is clear and you know the path to get there, then everything else comes much easier.
This is why you hear about rising stars who have such big goals, who have the humility to admit they’re not the greatest but have the belief and aspiration that they’ll get there.
And anyone who fails to have the right mindset or self-belief will distance themselves more and more from their pursuit until their self-doubt becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy.
But how exactly does your mindset control your results? How is it that pros players can use the skill of mindset to improve to such high-levels?
Well, that’s exactly what we’ll explore in this video, exploring what mindset really is, why it’s so important in achieving success and how you can use it in your own journey of esports mastery…
What separates the top few from the many in esports? Mentality.
While high-level players have an amazing mechanical ability that they’ve honed over years of practice, their mechanical ability alone rarely translates into a superior in-game performance – because even those who seem skilled or gifted, need to train their minds and mindset in order to achieve their full potential.
This is true in traditional sports as well, which is why mental conditioning is considered almost as important as physical conditioning pro sports. Yet in esports, we don’t need to train for muscle mass or sprint speed, which makes the mental side of performance all the more important.
But this really brings up the question of why? Why does mindset affect us when we’re pursuing a goal, or needing to perform at our best?
Well in order to really understand this, let’s look at the research…
In one study on mindset, researchers worked with 84 hotel housekeepers, whos daily jobs include constant activity, using a variety of different muscles, and burning a high amount of calories every day.
Of this group most didn’t recognize their day-to-day job as physical exercise. So researchers wanted to see what would happen if they helped them change this mindset.
So the housekeepers were split into two groups, and all were measured by weight, blood pressure, body fat, and job satisfaction.
Then half of them were given a presentation and poster, showing them how their daily jobs are in fact giving them an adequate amount of physical exercise, and thus they should expect to receive all the benefits of an active lifestyle.
4 Weeks later the 2 groups were measured again on the same metrics.
The half that didn’t receive this information didn’t change.
The half that did, lost weight, had a reduction in systolic blood pressure, reduction in body fat, and reported that they liked their job more.
In other words, a small shift in their mindset caused a change in their body and behavior that resulted in improved health.
In another study on mindset, a group was given 2 different milkshakes on separate days. Each time they measured their “hunger hormone” Ghrelin, which acts as an indicator in our body when we are hungry and require food. The first milkshake was labeled as a low calorie, diet milkshake, and the second was a high calorie, indulgent milkshake.
As one might expect their Ghrelin levels responded differently to each milkshake, dropping three times as much with the high-calorie shake. But what’s most interesting is that on both days they were given the exact same milkshake, but simply told they were receiving different ones. And simply based on their expectations, their body reacted completely differently.
What these and similar studies show us is that our mindset plays a major role in how our bodies and minds react to the world, both on a psychological and physiological level.
This is why high-performers like pro gamers or sports athletes, spend time training their mental skills and mindset. Whether they’re aware of the science or not, they all realize that by training their mindset it enhances their work ethic and performance.
And with purposeful practice, you can develop your mindset and mental dexterity, so that you can elevate yourself to a higher performance level, just like the pros.
But to build the mental skills of a pro-level player, you need to begin by thinking like them. Whether purposeful or not, players who achieve a high level of success in esports all share similar mindsets…
High-level players set their aim high and simply go for it. They constantly thinking about their next big goal, whether that’s making it onto a prestigious team or placing high an upcoming tournament. And instead of this being a distant dream, for them, it’s close to reality. They know that they can achieve it with enough ingenuity and effort, and thus they’re dedicated to making it happen.
And for a high-level player or a rising star, they don’t glorify the pro scene as something that’s unattainable. They don’t look to great players like they’re gods with some superhuman talent, instead they see them for the work and effort they’ve put in, they see their mechanical and mental skills as something they can learn from and attain themselves.
Of course, most of us aren’t at a professional level. But all of us can still acquire a high performer’s mindset. Every one of us can learn to think like a pro and achieve our personal best in the game of our choice.
So to perform at a champion’s level, you must change the way you view your efforts and set a compelling direction for where you’re headed. Begin to shoot for the most favorable outcome, seeing your efforts and actions all apart of your plan to make it to the professional level. And whether you are a low-ranked player, or on a semi-pro level, setting this mindset will compel you to work harder and pull you towards a superior level of performance.
So start by really imagining what it would be like to be at a professional level. Visualize your in-game performance, how would you play differently if you were on the same skill level as the world’s greatest players?
Visualize yourself outside the game. Waking up each day with complete focus, diving into 12 hours of disciplined practice, in preparation for upcoming tournaments. Really see yourself at this level of performance, and let this give you a mental image of what you could be if you achieved your personal best.
Next, start to consider how you can bridge the gap between where you are now, to where you could be. And to bridge this gap, start by honestly assessing yourself in 4 different categories, using a scale of 1-10.
1. The first category is your mental skills. Things like your mindset, level of discipline, confidence etc.
2. The second category is your game-knowledge. Your understanding of the game’s core concepts, knowledge of character abilities, frame data etc.
3. Next is your in-game mechanics, things like reaction speed and combo execution.
4. And finally your game strategy, your ability to understand and predict the enemy, your knowledge of character matchups, and mastery of different playstyles.
Now honestly assess where you with each of these. Consider which areas are your current strengths, and which are your current weaknesses. Then look at each category again and consider how you can improve in each. How can you move yourself up to the top of the scale?
But just thinking about this won’t do you much good so begin writing it down. Start taking general notes on the specific skills and categories you need to work on. As you make notes, start turning them into an action plan by scheduling practice sessions for the week ahead – focusing on one specific skill for at least one hour each day.
By planning out your road to greatness with a specific focus each day and then actively sticking to this plan, you’ll begin to make progress towards mastery, much faster…
But what’s most important, is that every single day, while practicing these skills, you need to maintain and condition your new mindset. You need to remain disciplined in your practice and constantly look for new ways to push yourself towards becoming a high-level player.
Make this a habit by asking yourself every day: what can I do today to make progress towards becoming a professional player? Consider taking it a step further by even asking yourself how you can become even better than the pros you look up to? Considering their strengths that you’d like to emulate, and their weaknesses that you can become even better with?
Striving for the highest level will give you the best shot for personal greatness. So don’t let this mindset go. In fact, to really make this mindset automatic, actively remind yourself of it every day. Consider changing the background on your computer to something that inspires you to reach a professional level, and consider creating a scheduled reminder on your phone to keep this mindset while playing.
So to really forge your highest performing self, and achieve your desired goal in esports, you must begin by setting a vivid goal of becoming your best self, then begin pursuing it each day. You must condition yourself to approach your practice and performances with the attitude of a pro player.
The next step is to develop the mental skills and techniques of the worlds highest performers, including things like self-talk, goal setting and developing a stronger focus… But exploring these techniques will be left for the next videos.
For now, focus on your attitude, and condition yourself to think like a pro… This new mindset will allow you to develop a higher level of confidence in your efforts, a stronger level of focus and work ethic, and more importantly, it will help you to reach your full potential.