So let’s say a player comes to you and offers you a million dollars, to just drop everything and train them for 2 months straight. Now during that 2 months, what do you think realistically you could accomplish with them?
Jayne: If you put someone through the wringer. This would be the equivalent of an esports Bootcamp. I mean, I don’t see any reason why people shouldn’t be able to get to Grandmaster, in 2 months. You should be able to get to 99th percentile if you do that for 2 months…
Imagine reaching the top 1% of your game in only a few months. This sounds amazing, but it also sounds a little insane! Is it actually possible to improve your skills that much in such a short period of time?
Well, unless you know how to train like a pro player, then this probably isn’t to happen for you…
But, luckily in my conversation with Jayne, he broke down exactly how you can train this way, laying out a complete schedule, and highlighting some of the most important aspects for reaching a high skill level, extremely fast.
So is it really possible? And if so how can you do it?…
Braeden: So some of the viewers will be coming from games besides Overwatch, so for those viewers tell them a bit about yourself and how you got into coaching.
Jayne: I do content primarily. That’s how I got my start – doing educational esports content, primarily analyzing professional Overwatch. And then I did get hired as a professional coach for the Dallas Fuel which is one of the franchises in BLizzard-Activation’s Overwatch league.
So with experience coaching on the pro stage, Jayne is confident that with a methodical approach to the game you can achieve huge results in a matter of months.
But is this physically possible?
As you develop your skills and knowledge in any domain, your brain has to make physical changes on a cellular level to adapt in order to accommodate that new skill. This is referred to as neuroplasticity and it can be a long process. Some processes like adult neurogenesis and long-term potentiation can take weeks or even months to occur…
But in a study published in the European Journal of Social Psychology, Phillippa Lally and her research team decided to figure out how long it actually takes to make new behaviors automatic. And knowing this can give us a better idea of how long it takes the physiological changes in the brain to occur, especially as we develop new skills and make them automatic.
Now, the study examined the behavior of 96 people over a 12-week period. And the time it took participants to reach a level of 95% automaticity, ranged quite a lot… but averaged out to 66 days… just over 2 months.
So going from a beginner esports player to a top 1% player in just a few months, might actually be possible.
Braeden: In your personal opinion, what do you think is the most important factor that allows a player to go from a beginner level of skill or average level of skill to a professional level of skill in the shortest amount of time possible?
Jayne: It depends on motivation. The very first question that I always have to start with when I’m working with an individual is: why do you want to do what you want to do? There’s a lot of people who think they want to go pro but they don’t actually, they want to be famous or they want to be rich, or they want to be better than other people.
So answer the question for yourself – why do you want to be a pro? Or why do you want to be a better player?
The motivation that depends on just being better than others or obtaining some sort of reward, might not be good enough to keep you going when things get tough.
The greater source of motivation is internal – where you’re motivated by personal mastery, competing against only your past self, and driven to become the greatest player that you can be.
So before you take any more steps towards improving, stop and get your priorities in check… commit to a focus on personal mastery, rather than external reward.
Now, beyond motivation what does it take to go from a beginner or average player and reach the top rank? And how quickly can you do this?
Well with a full-time professional coach at your side, you might be able to reach the top 1% in a matter of a few months. But if hiring a full-time esports coach isn’t realistic, you can still make a massive amount of progress over the span of just a couple months.
And in my conversation with Jayne he laid out a complete routine that you can follow to start training like a pro player… And we can break this routine down into 2 phases of the day, starting with your morning:
Jayne: We’d need to control diet, we’d need to control physical activity. So there needs to be some sort of physical training. And then after that you would have to have breakfast and then review plans for the day, and the objectives. You’d have an initial block/play session that would last for about 2 hours and that would be a combination of experimental and warm up. And then you’d have more discussions after that.
There’s a lot to unpack here, but let’s start at the top. Jayne mentions diet and physical activity, and these aren’t to be overlooked.
As you develop your skills, your brain is making physical changes on a cellular level. And the food that you eat provides your brain with the building blocks and material for these changes. So during a time where you want to make a lot of cognitive upgrades, its key that you give your brain high-quality food.
The second part of this is exercise. In countless studies it has been shown that exercise can boost important chemicals and growth factors in your brain like BDNF, which primes your brain for enhanced learning. So starting your training with exercise is critical.
The next step for the morning is the planning and reviewing. You want to take on a methodical approach to improving, reviewing the lessons from the previous training and setting clear goals for what you want to practice that day.
From there you’ll move into putting those goals into action – fixing mistakes, honing specific skills and focusing on improvement and experimentation rather than worrying about performance.
After a few hours of this its time to stop and review the results. If you’re training with others you can stop and review the results with them. Or if you’re training by yourself, I recommend journaling about what you learned during the session, and what you want to focus on in the afternoon.
Jayne: And then the afternoon is where you’d really gear up into performance mode. You’d want to compete for 4 hours, really trying to nail in the things you talked about and experimented with in the morning. And then after that you’d have supper, and in the evening you’d review where there’s less mental work required, and you’d review the footage, take notes. And then, basically, the notes from that evening would feed into the morning discussions about what you’d done that day and what you’d want to do in the morning and look for.
So during the afternoon, you’ll put the morning lessons and experimentation into action during ranked games. As this happens you switch your aim from working on new skills and experimentation towards achieving maximal performance.
Chances are after 2-4 hours of this you’ll start to feel mental fatigue kick in. That’s when you can transition into the review.
During the review, you’ll go over the footage from those games that you just played, break down what happened, what went well, what didn’t and what you need to work on in the following days.
Now this is a perfect plan to follow on weekends, or complete days off where you have nothing else going on. But if you don’t have entire days to commit to your training, you can condense this into a routine that works a bit better for you.
For example, you might go for a 20-minute run, then spend an hour or two on the planning and practice, followed by another hour or two of performance and review. And of course this will work in a complete cycle, learning and developing plans each day that then feeding into the next.
And with this methodical and well-planned approach to your training you will quickly see results, climbing closer and closer to your ultimate goal.
Now as a word of caution, it’s easy to set ambitious goals that are outside of your control. Then as the deadline approaches, you’ll realize that you haven’t made enough progress, and you’ll become increasingly anxious. So as you challenge yourself over a set period of time, whether that’s a 30-day or 60-day challenge, set goals that are focused on process, rather than results.
Jayne: I think the most important thing is that people don’t set arbitrary ultimatums for themselves. The main that people self inflict anxiety upon themselves is when they’re like: “Oh, I want to be diamond by Thursday”. But the time frame is arbitrary, the goal is arbitrary. The main metric that you’re looking for is just going in the right direction, improving…
If you trained like an esports professional for only a few months, you might be able to reach the top 1% of your game.
Of course, for most players, this sounds a little extreme, and admittedly it is.
But with the wisdom from a professional esports coach now in your hands, there is no excuse for you to not be able to achieve at least some of this.
With a well-planned approach, you can quickly reach the next rank, and work your way up to the top 1%.
So step up to the plate, create a challenge for yourself, and see how quickly you can improve…