VGC is a game that is all about knowledge and prediction, but even the most knowledgeable players can succumb to nerves, the pressure of competition, and negative self thoughts, and these factors can prevent a good player from becoming great. Mastering your mindset is extremely important for success in any competitive outlet and something you should be working on daily if you want to grow in VGC.
Today I want to give a few concepts to consider to help you strengthen your mindset so that you can begin to improve and get the results you are looking for.
Don’t Pay Attention To Names, Pay Attention To The Game
When playing in a tournament you are likely to play against “big name” players. This can cause a lot of nerves and anxiety for players who are not as established or newer to the game. Although these nerves are not something you can just eliminate overnight, you have to keep in mind that these players are human. No matter if you’re playing world champions like Wolfe Glick or popular content creators like James Eakes the truth is every player has taken losses to “Randoms” or whatever term you want to describe players who are not established.
VGC is not a game of skill, it’s a game of knowledge and prediction as I stated in the opening of this article, this means that just because a player has played a long time or has lots of achievements under their belt doesn’t mean that they are automatically going to win.
You have to fight until the end of each and every set you play. These players are human, they are not immune to making mistakes, misjudging a situation, or getting the short end of the RNG stick.
You are entirely capable of winning sets versus these players, however, if you go into the set with the mindset of “I can’t beat such a big name player as ___” then you are already giving that player an advantage by having a losing mindset.
If you are playing in tournaments then that means you are practicing, and if you are practicing you are gaining knowledge, if you are gaining knowledge then you are getting closer to being able to go toe to toe versus these established players.
Go into the set with the attitude of you are going to prove to yourself and others that you are growing as a player and going to give it your all versus the games best and you will have an infinitely higher chance of winning opposed to going into the set already defeated from your opponents name.
Comfort Is Key
From my team studying/talking to top players who have competed and done well at the world championships there is one thing many players say attribute to their success, and that is comfort with the team they brought.
Now this is just common sense, right? Well one thing I have seen happen over and over again is players making last minute changes to their team or just outright picking up a brand new team right before a tournament.
Unless you are an incredibly knowledgeable and talented player this is almost always a terrible mistake. If you submit a team that you have very little practice with then you are going to have a lot lower of a chance to be playing various matchups optimally. Comfort comes from playing a lot with a certain team/core, and when you play with a team a lot you begin to get deep knowledge about how to approach the game when you see your opponents team on team preview. Taking out this comfort is just a hindrance on yourself and an unnecessary risk to take.
I made this mistake for players cup 2 when I spent nearly a month working on one specific archetype, and when I saw a lot of holes in the team forming with the new meta that was taking place I decided to switch about a week before the tournament. Despite the team being great I wasn’t nearly as comfortable with this team compared to the team that I dropped and had 100s of games with and wasn’t able to properly play the matchups I was given due to the lack of comfort.
Set Yourself A Goal
One major thing I have done for almost every major tournament I have played in that has greatly reduced the stress and anxiety of playing has been setting myself a goal for that tournament. And by goal I do not mean win the whole tournament, or top cut, what I mean is a goal that you control and that you can learn from to improve your performance for next time.
Some examples could be, take complete notes of each set (if you need help taking notes check out my note taking article), making sure you make proper use of the timer to allow yourself time to think through your plays, to make conversation with your opponents to make friends, practicing stress relief tactics in between rounds, or working on not complaining about hax. These are just a few examples but there are many things you could focus on.
The point of this is to make each tournament count, you should always be working to win each set but the fact is that sometimes things out of your control can happen to cause you to buster out of a tournament. But if you set yourself an actionable goal that is 100% in your control if you follow through or not then you can take some of the pressure of winning off by knowing no matter the outcome of the tournament you will be making progress in some area of your knowledge which will compound over time into more consistent results and a greater confidence in your tournament play.
Thank you for reading today’s article! If you enjoyed please give this post a share, or consider checking out my social media for more VGC improvement content. You can find my twitter here, YouTube here, and my twitch channel here. I hope you enjoyed and I wish you a fantastic day!