Most of us have played games at some point in our lives, whether they be board games, card games, or video games. Some of us play them just for fun, while others use them to channel their competitive energy.
If you are someone that falls into the second category of gamer, then you may wonder what you need to do in order to improve your gaming setup and skills, and get to a level that’ll allow you to beat your friends or even partake in organized events like esports.
A good idea here would be to look at what the most successful gamers already do, since this will give you an idea of what traits, habits, and attributes are common among them.
While not an exhaustive collection, here are some of the most common traits you will find among successful esports athletes and other professional gamers.
1. Successful Players Practice
Just like with any sport or other activity, natural talent can get you a long way but it isn’t enough to make you the best. That’s why it’s just as important to practice and train in order to build on that talent.
Thankfully, this practice should be pretty enjoyable since you’re a gamer and you want to get better at whatever game it is because you have fun playing it.
Most professional gamers, particularly those that are part of an esports team, will train for hours every day. This may involve just playing or it may be more focused on building up skills in a particular area or trying out new maneuvers with teammates.
Playing isn’t the only part of practicing either. The most dedicated players will record all of their games and training sessions and then spend time reviewing them, giving them more time to analyze what went well, what went wrong, and how improvements can be made for next time.
Some will also look to play other games as a way to develop new techniques that can be applied to their main game. This may not always be useful, so it is more a matter of personal preference.
2. Successful Gamers Prepare
Practicing is vital to achieving success in gaming, but it isn’t enough. It’s also important to prepare yourself mentally and physically.
In his book, The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People, Stephen R. Covey lists “sharpening the saw” as one of the most important steps towards being successful. By that, he means that people should spend time preparing and working on themselves to “renew one’s resources”.
Included within this preparation is physical exercise, activities that boost mindfulness and relieve stress, and reading or other academic pursuits that can improve brainpower. None of this is overly radical; in fact, most athletes follow these steps to remain at the top of their games.
Most esports players train in the same way that athletes in physical sports do. They’ll eat a nutritious diet, drink plenty of fluid, exercise regularly, and spend a lot of time training and practicing, all in pursuit of success in their chosen discipline. Intel recently interviewed several esports players about what their typical daily routines contain, and they all mention spending a lot of time doing preparation work away from their keyboards.
For gaming, regular exercise that builds up muscle can also help to reduce your likelihood of acquiring repetitive strain injuries, back pain, or other similar aches that are associated with sitting for a long period of time.
3. Successful Gamers Keep Their Cool
When gaming, like with any sport or task, it’s easy to get frustrated when things aren’t going your way. For gamers, this could mean losing several games in a row, coming up against an opponent who always seems to be one step ahead of you, or even problems with lag.
When we get frustrated, we are more likely to make mistakes as we try to compensate for the mistakes we’ve already made or the temporary decline in performance. That doesn’t need to be the case though.
The best gamers are ones that manage to keep control of their emotions whenever they’re engaged in battle. They don’t let trash talk get to them, they don’t worry about what has happened in the past, and they don’t let anger or frustration taint their decision-making.
Instead, they focus on their training and the skills they’ve developed while practicing and how they can implement them in that specific game.
This is especially important in games like poker, where bluffing and body language are key elements to success, according to PokerStars. If a player can’t keep their cool they’re likely to give away clues that’ll help their opponents get a better understanding of what cards they’re holding.
Breathing exercises, visualizing your next moves, and simple tricks like just closing your eyes (in between games) and counting are all good ways that you can get control of your emotions and maintain your focus.
4. Successful Gamers Stay Abreast With the Latest Developments
Just like how a programmer needs to stay on top of any new developments that relate to their chosen programming languages or platforms, and how a digital marketer needs to continually watch for changes made by Google in its SERP algorithms, gamers must pay attention to the latest trends in gaming.
Modern games receive regular updates that can change mechanics, or introduce new maps, tools, and weapons. Successful players make sure they know about these and quickly understand how they can take advantage of them.
Similarly, new styles of play may be developed by some players, so following trends through sites like Twitch is a good way to spot any of these. It’s also a good way to spot the mistakes that others make so that you can learn not to make them yourself. Being involved in the community through sites like this can also raise the profile of successful players, help them to attract more attention from teams, and get them on the radar of sponsors.
Since the vernacular of the gaming world evolves very quickly too, gamers need to pay attention to this so they don’t sound like they’re behind the times if they use voice chat while they play.