Preparing for a tournament has a lot of nuances to it and it can be very overwhelming to build a winning team and be able to perform well in tournaments.
Today I want to provide you 5 things you want to keep in mind when preparing for your next tournament to help do your best and continue improving.
- Plan Out Your Meals
Tournaments can take a very long time, and usually will take a majority of the day to complete. With that being said you want to keep your energy as high as possible so you can keep your mental clarity, and quality of play as high as possible.
To do this you want to plan out or make your meals and snacks ahead of time. If you don’t plan this out ahead of time you will likely go to what’s quickest and most convenient which also is usually the most unhealthy option.
Make sure you are eating a healthy breakfast that provides lots of natural energy and stay away from stimulants like energy drinks as those will just give you a short burst of energy followed by a gnarly sugar crash. Make sure you’re drinking water throughout the day and staying hydrated.
During the tournament you want to be having small snacks that give you clean energy such as nuts, fruits, dark chocolate, or low sugar protein bars that won’t fill you up and give you a bloated, groggy feeling and instead give you the sustainable energy you need.
When convenient for you and you have enough time in between rounds I would have your lunch, again not too big so you don’t feel bloated or groggy, but big enough to where you’re not thinking about how hungry you are during rounds.
Usually the tournament ends before you have dinner so enjoy yourself with family or friends and have a great time!
- Practice How You Play
When practicing for a tournament you should replicate the tournament environment as much as possible. If you plan to play the tournament with headphones in, then you should practice with headphones while listening to the track you plan to pick when you play. This way when you put those headphones in you know it’s game time and time to get serious.
If you prefer playing without headphones then you should practice that way as well, so you don’t get thrown off once it’s time to play round 1 of the tournament.
- Give Each Team A Chance
When preparing for a tournament you want to test out as many different cores/teams you can so you can really find what’s going to give you the best chance of succeeding. If you just stick to one team/core while prepping you will definitely get really good with that team but you may also be missing out on finding a team that better suits you. Unless you have incredibly limited time to practice then you should have enough time to test out new teams while also getting practice in with your “main team” and be just as fluent with that team while also gaining knowledge of other teams you may see.
I do say comfort is key quite frequently, and it’s true, however, the team you’re comfortable with now you were once uncomfortable with meaning you can get comfortable with any team with enough games and you should be looking to discover the team that will provide you the best results and then get comfortable with it.
On the flip side you want to play each team with enough games to understand it, don’t just play 3-4 games with a team losing 1-2 of those games and then drop it with no other considerations or trying to learn from those losses.
I have seen many players recently talk about how they have tried every team they see and can’t find any success and when talking to them I learn that they go 0-2 on the ladder with some teams and then move on without thinking about it. This will cause a lot of mental anguish and frustration caused by unfamiliarity when in reality each team is going to go through losing streaks at some rank on ladder and you need to really understand why it’s losing before you move on to another team that you equally don’t understand.
- Prepare To Take Losses
If you go into a tournament expecting to win every game, or the entire thing and aren’t able to handle potential loss then you are setting yourself up for deep mental torture.
If you are unable to gracefully take defeat and use loss as an opportunity to be angry at the world, or belittle yourself, then you need to take time to talk to yourself and allow yourself to be able to move on if things don’t go the way you plan.
Many players lose a tournament they have practiced long and hard for and after the loss they just mentally give up, no longer believe in themselves, and get filled with rage and sadness. Losses happen, no VGC player wins every event they attend, but they greats use loss as a source of learning, not a source of misery. Sure losses sting, I hate losing with a passion, but every time I lose I make sure to take mental and physical notes of what went wrong, where I could have improved, and even the emotions I’m feeling so I can let it all out and move on and start improving for next time.
- Go To Bed Early Enough To Get Ample Amounts Of Sleep
It’s the night before the tournament, you went out with friends to get some food, you played some smash bros, and then you headed to your hotel for the night, you notice you need to be up in 7 hours to have time to eat breakfast and get to the venue, you lie your head down, and nothing, you’re up for the next hour just filled with nerves and excitement.
If you have competed in the live circuit you have likely experienced some scenario like the one I just played out. I know I have, and as much as it’s fun to stay up late with friends you never get to see, the lack of sleep will affect your mental and in turn your ability to play optimally the next day.
Now I’m not saying don’t hang out with friends, if possible i recommend you spend the whole day before and after the event with friends if possible, but for the last 2-3 hours before bed you should focus on winding down to allow yourself the chance to get your best sleep.
No matter what you are likely to be filled with nerves the night before a tournament making it hard to sleep. That’s why you need to get to bed early. If you planned to be asleep at 10 so you could be up at 6 then you should probably get in bed at 9, that way you give yourself the time to calm down and fall asleep so you can be rested for tomorrow’s big event.
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