Hello Reddit, I’m Primitive and today I am here to present you with the next article of the PokéPrep series! This will (hopefully) be a weekly series of articles focused on providing simple, actionable tips that can be applied to improve your VGC gameplay but don’t involve actual in-game tips! Today’s topic will be the best way to spend time in between rounds of online tournaments. If you are looking for tips for IRL events please check out this article here.
As you all are aware during 2020 we have had some crazy times leading us to not having a VGC season with live events, but a nice amount of online tours. Online tours, and offline tours have lots of differences in them but one of them is a major factor that many people don’t consider, the atmosphere. During live events you are always around Pokémon, whether that’s players, merchandise, conversations about rounds, drinks/foods named after Pokémon for the occasion, etc. And during online tours your atmosphere is likely your home or your friends home which leaves you with a surrounding filled with potential distractions. Today I will be giving you a few of my top tips of things to do in between rounds as well as my top tips of things to avoid at all costs.
Habits To Do!
- Clear Your Mind
During online events you are separated from the usual loud noise that you will hear in the hallways of event centers. Use this to your advantage by getting yourself refocused. The best ways to do this is usually some sort of breathing technique or light exercise like a brisk 5-10 minute long walk. Keep in mind you should probably stay away from heavy exercise like heavy weight lifting or high intensity cardio as doing so consistently each round can drain more energy rather than give you a boost like small walks can provide you. Doing this will allow you to move past the positive or negative emotion you feel from your previous rounds and allow you to focus on your most important match, the next one.
- Play Practice Games
Practicing in between rounds in something I have had players tell me they both get great value from and also something some players refuse to do. This practice can be great for you by allowing you to stay warmed up, keep your decision making sharp, and give you an opportunity to learn something before your next round. On the other hand many players see practicing in between rounds as a way to potentially tilt yourself or throw yourself off of your game. This habit you will easily be able to transfer to irl events if you find it helpful, so make sure to give it a try during your next big online event but be careful to monitor the results as if its detrimental to your play you may want to consider dropping this habit and getting your last minute games before round 1 starts.
- Read a Book/Listen To a Podcast
A great way I have found to keep myself in a positive, winning mindset in between rounds is by either reading a book or listening to a podcast done by someone who has achieved a goal I highly admire. For me this allows me to stay motivated and keep in my mind the words given to me by someone who has accomplished a goal they set themselves to. Reading is also just a fantastic habit you have to keep your brain active, sharp and ready for your next task and I suggest you incorporate it in your daily life regardless of tournaments or not. As a little example when preparing for the Players Cup 2 qualifiers, when I would take breaks from practicing I would go on walks/jogs and listen to interviews of Olympians and their training stories. Olympian stories always hit a chord with me when they talk about how they trained for years and not miss training days regardless how far away the event they were training for was. This type of mentality for me translates to working hard for the next world championships even if its existence is not concrete right now. Overall this is just a great way to keep your brain in a hard thinking mode while also keeping you away from forms of entertainment that can take away your focus in a drastic way.
- Discuss With a Friend Group
Another fantastic way to keep yourself in the positive Pokémon mindset is to discuss with friends to help you all improve. Discord is an app that most of you reading this probably use, however, if you don’t it is an invaluable tool that allows you to easily enter/leave group chats with large groups of people all around the world. During a few online tours in the past, myself as well as a couple of my friends I practiced with decided after each round we would hop back into the designated discord chat and that was our equivalent to the spot you set up to meet your friends in between rounds at in person events.
- Work On a Side Project
For this tip it’s very important that I add you make sure to work on a project that is not associated with your main focus in life such as your school work or things you need to be done for your job. Doing important tasks like these that have sometimes irreversible consequences if not done correctly will add to the distractions you have when you think during your matches each round. Tasks to work on should be side projects or maybe things like cleaning your home. A perfect example of this is the fact that this article you are currently reading has been largely worked on in between rounds of the Victory Road tournament that just happened this past weekend. Smaller projects like this one I have notes for already written about the tips I would like to include so I am easily able to pick up this article, write a paragraph or two, review it, and edit a bit what I wrote and then put it down and be back 100% focused on my next match with no thoughts about the article written to distract me while I play. The reason I am able to successfully do this is as I previously mentioned I like to have notes planned of the topics I want to write, as well as I focus on side projects and not my main project. If you don’t have what you are planning to get done already written for you to come back to, then when you finish you session of work and are about to get back into playing note down what you were working on and thinking about working on next. This allows you to get it out of your head, eliminating it being a potential distraction next round but also not risk forgetting about that information when you come back next round.
- Prepare and Enjoy a Small Snack
During tournaments you will want to ration out your food throughout the day so you’re not eating a very large amount all at once. Eating a lot at once will cause your body to send more blood to your digestive track and therefore using more energy in the process of digestion, leaving you with less energy throughout the rest of the tournament day. This can also leave you with a full groggy feeling which can take some time to wear off. Having smaller snacks or dishes throughout the day will provide you with the energy you want from your foods without having to use that energy reserve to digest it, as such I recommend you have medium sized breakfast and lunch while having small healthy snacks throughout the day and then have a larger meal for dinner after you have finished playing for the day. I just mentioned healthy snacks for a reason, they’re healthy, meaning they will provide you with cleaner energy, have less calories, and overall be better for your health. Snacking on foods such as fast food, candy, or energy drinks may provide you with a small short burst of energy, but that energy will eventually crash and you will feel even worse than you did before you consumed it. If you can’t seem to get yourself to eat healthier, attempt to replace them with better foods. Instead of fried chicken nuggets from McDonalds you can grill your own chicken and cut them up into nuggets, instead of a Hershey’s bar you can go to your local natural grocer and pick up 85% Cocoa dark chocolate, or a protein bar and instead of an energy drink you can have a cup on unsweetened green tea or black coffee. Those are just a few examples but if you can make these substitutions especially on tournament day your body and tournament performance will thank you.
Habits to Avoid!
If you read in-between the lines of the first 6 tips you may notice there is a trend in the tips I provided, they all avoid providing you with something that will distract your thought process after your next rounds begins. Therefore with this last section I would like to give a few examples of what not to do in between rounds as well as explain why you should stay away from doing these at all costs.
- Play a Different Video Game
In this section I could go on a very long tangent about the dopamine pandemic going on in society and how it affects your thought patterns but instead I will just provide you with evidence in your life why you shouldn’t be playing other games in between rounds. You ever play a video game, but then you have to stop to do something else more important like going to work or school and you have a lot of important work to get done but you just can’t seem to stop thinking about how you’re going to beat that next level? If you play video games a lot chances are you spend a lot of time thinking about them and how to do better in them or better enjoy them even if you don’t realize you have these thoughts. When in a tournament if you are serious about performing well then you will work hard to avoid distraction and keep your focus on the tournament, and this can be be made 100x more difficult if your brain is focused on how you were voted out during your last game of Among Us, or how you’re going to get the next star in the newest Mario game. These games can be a fun way to spend time for many people but tournament day and another random Tuesday afternoon are not the same and should not be treated the same.
- Watch Unrelated Videos on the Internet
I won’t go super deep into this one as it’s identical to playing video games, however there is an exception. If you go on twitch or YouTube and decide to watch VGC content and stay focused on playing Pokémon while having a bit of entertainment then there is likely little downside to doing this in between rounds. If you plan to do this make sure you stay focused on that plan and don’t start opening up new tabs adding more distractions.
- Take a Nap
If you find yourself sleep deprived and absolutely need a nap then you should ignore this and take that nap as your health is always the highest priority. However if you are planning a nap just to burn the time in between rounds you could be putting yourself at a great disadvantage. Taking a small 30-45 minute nap can definitely give you a boost to energy when you need it, however you will still need a decent amount of time for your brain to exit the Alpha/Theta brain waves and be fully conscious again. If you take a nap and wake up too late to get back to 100% before your next round you are hindering yourself greatly. This is something you need to consider since most of the time you will have 30 minutes or less in between rounds for you to nap and you may not have enough time to both successfully rest and successfully recover.
During events emotions can be very high due to the time, effort, and money required to participate in large scale events. And when you lose a set it is very easy for you to begin complaining about the situation and how things are going. This is extremely terrible for you to do as it leaves you in a negative mindset which not only will make you less hopeful for your next match and likely make you play worse, but it’s also the gateway to doing the previous bad habits I mentioned. Complaining isn’t something you can just stop doing in an instant no matter how many times you tell yourself you won’t do it. The best way to begin making complaining less a habit is to catch yourself doing it in your everyday life. If you find yourself beginning to complain you should stop yourself and inject a positive statement. For an example you’re stuck in traffic on the way to work, instead of complaining about the traffic tell yourself this is a great opportunity to listen to you favorite music before you enter the work day. To translate to Pokémon, instead of complaining about losing a round its much better to see it as an opportunity to learn about which areas you still need improvement in. In tournaments you play Best of Three sets and therefore the chance you lost a set solely on being “haxed out” is close to zero. Instead of complaining about something non existent to make yourself feel better, actually look if you could have made better plays, lead better, or make better choices in the team building process. Doing this is going to make you a much better player in the long run, as to where complaining actively makes you worse and prevents you from learning from mistakes.
Good luck to all players competing in the Players Cup 2 this weekend!
Video version of this article: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gQWfGNBLz2k
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