PokéPrep #13 How To Maximize Tournament Endurance

If you have played in any large scale tournament either in the online or live circuit then you are fully aware that these tournaments can take up the entire day, requiring you to be on top of your game the entire time. These extended events can really drain up your energy through the course of the day and if you aren’t actively working to keep your energy levels up then you will begin to fatigue and start to make less than optimal plays.

Today I want to go over some tips on how to keep your energy levels up throughout the day as well as how to help build endurance outside of the event alongside your in game practice.

Now some of these may seem like common sense, however, they are not common practice with a large majority of players and will be added today to help motivate players to incorporate these tips into their tournaments.

Sleep

Getting ample sleep is incredibly important to maximizing your tournament success. The amount of sleep needed to feel fully rested differs from person to person so I won’t tell you how long you should be sleeping.

You should prioritize sleep always, but especially on tournament days if you don’t keep a solid sleep schedule. Make sure you go to bed earlier than you normally would so you get enough sleep and then wake up with enough time before the tournament for you to fully wake up, and fill your body with nutrients without having to rush.

If you miss out on your sleep you’re going to be tired before the tournament even starts, fatigue faster than normal, lack 100% focus and therefore lack the ability to play optimally. Sleep is the one part of the equation that I have seen most players miss out on, unfortunately it’s also the most important so make sure you are getting proper sleep and you will already have a leg up on a large portion of the competition.

Breakfast

The breakfast you eat before the tournament matters. You should have a nutritious, filling, healthy meal that will provide you with natural energy that won’t cause you and energy crash later, as well as keep you satisfied until you are able to eat again.

Having a breakfast filled with sugar is the last thing you want to have. I’m sure you will want it because it’s a lot tastier, but artificial sugars are not going to sustain you, or help you in any way during competition. You will get hungrier faster due to not providing your body the nutrients it needs, you will crash faster due to having that sugar intake so early, and both of those problems will likely lead to you not having as good of a performance compared to if you started off your day with a meal that gives your body what it wants and needs.

What breakfast you have depends on your dietary restrictions, but just to give an example I will provide what I have been having the morning of tournaments.

2 whole eggs, 2 egg whites scrambled

1.5 cup baby spinach

1 TBSP flax seed and chia seed

½ of an avocado

5-7 walnuts halved

Coconut amino sauce

I will mix these all together and have a delicious little breakfast

On the side I have blueberries sometimes plain and sometimes mixed into plain Greek yogurt.

I will also take a couple supplements. Fish oil, as well as a reds and greens mix. Supplements aren’t necessary for you but they work for me so I take them.

I call this my “brain breakfast” as I have learned that these foods are great for your brain and provide it with lots of beneficial nutrients and it only makes sense to be taking as much care of your brain as you can the day of competition.

Snacks

Snacks are also highly beneficial to keeping your energy up. Its a bit different in the online circuit we’re in as you have a lot more time to eat as well as easier access to food if you’re playing from home, but in the live circuit you don’t have the same luxuries.

Make sure you have your snacks ready beforehand. You will want to have snacks that can keep your energy up without potential crashes such as nuts, Greek yogurt, pure dark chocolate, granola, low sugar protein bars, or take the Magnus Carlsen route and drink a mixture of ½ chocolate milk and ½ whole milk.

Having proper nutrition will really help you with your energy levels and making sure you’re keeping yourself fueled up throughout the day with smart snack options will keep you feeling great all day.

In Between Rounds

How you spend your time in between rounds has a huge effect on how much energy you have left in the tank. This is especially important in today’s online circuit as the probability you partake in energy draining activities is a lot higher compared to the live circuit.

I wrote a whole article on what you should/shouldn’t do in between rounds you can read here for more in depth coverage.

But TLDR; you want to partake in tasks that are not distracting or take you away from your goal at hand. In between rounds you want to be fueling your brain and not distracting it by continuing to stare at a screen. I added this into this article to mention again its importance on tournament day and I highly suggest you give the article linked above a read.

There are also a couple of activities that you can do leading up to the tournament as a part of your preparation.

Exercise

Exercising is something I have completely fallen in love with. After being 70 pounds overweight just a couple years ago and now losing that weight I have much higher energy levels, a clearer mental thought process, as well as just a better mental health state.

Now I’m not going to tell you to lose weight or go on a strict diet in this article. (although you can check out my health blog if you’re interested in learning!

What I am going to suggest you do is start being more active on a consistent basis if you’re not already. The simple act of just going on a walk 5 days a week can greatly increase your health and in turn your energy levels. You don’t have to go to the gym if that’s not your thing. You can get a lot of exercise from easier to implement tasks such as the previously mentioned walking or running, playing sports, dancing, yoga etc. Whatever exercise technique which is most enjoyable to you that you are most likely to stick to.

Now I could go on a whole tangent about how I think that better health will better every area of your life, but if you’re not interested in that then I suggest you connect this exercise to your tournament performance. If you see going on a 30 minute walk 5 days a week as a part of your tournament preparation so you are able to stay energized for longer than maybe that will give you a better incentive to get out there and get your body moving (and your brain grooving!)

Use Other Tournaments As Endurance Training

When leading up to a large event, such as the Players Cup, you can play in other large events like Victory Road for endurance practice. If you use proper mindset tips then you can make your goal for the tournament to focus on endurance, and mental fortitude. This way even if you don’t do amazing in the actual event you will make gains in your mental state that will compound into huge results over time.

Exert Energy When Tired

Another way to begin having more mental energy is to exert more energy when you’re tired. This could be with exercise, or it could be just playing a mentally taxing game. I usually will perform a small high intensity interval training style exercise routine for this as it not only gets this mental training in, but I get a burst of energy from the quick exercise and then lead that into playing another 3-5 games of Pokémon. This can also be just playing Pokémon, TFT, chess, a card game, etc. Any game you enjoy that causes you to have to think and working on giving your 100% even when you’re tired.

When you push your mind to work hard when it’s tired you will begin to train yourself to be alert, and focused even in a tired state. This is much like training a muscle, if you do some exercises and your muscles begin to get tired and you get that 1 extra repetition in then you train your muscle to give it one last go at 100% even when it’s tired. Your brain is like a giant muscle and can be trained this same way.

This can be important in the later rounds of your tournaments when you begin to start fading mentally but know that through your practice of training when fatigued you can be more confident that you will be able to think through your thought process more thoroughly than if you hadn’t been training your mind this way. 

What are some actions that will decrease your energy levels?

Drink energy drinks

This is without a doubt the biggest offender of energy drain. Energy drinks do provide energy, but it’s not a good source of energy. You will drink it, likely early in the day, feel highly energized, and then a couple hours later crash and be even more tired than before you drank it. 

Another thing about energy drinks that aren’t going to help your play is that if you get into a jittery state when drinking these then you are actually going to be hindering your play by being too energized and unable to slow down your thought process when playing.

Many people who drink energy drinks are likely to have a tolerance to them and no longer get the jitters so the last point won’t affect them, but something you cannot build a tolerance for is the crash after your high. So even if you think you can work perfectly fine while drinking energy drinks I think you’ll be astounded by how much better you will perform on natural energy sources.

Complain

Complaining does absolutely nothing for you, besides drain your mental energy and put you in a bad mood. When you complain you are putting yourself into a negative mental state which is going to drain your motivation to continue, bring down the mood of those around you and just generally kill the good vibes tournaments bring.

You play VGC, and if you woke up today to play VGC then you are agreeing to the fact that you have a chance of being on the short end of the RNG stick. If you go into tournaments and then complain about the RNG factors when you are fully aware that they can happen, and more likely than not will happen, then you are draining your energy for no reason. Here’s a great quote from mental coach Jared Tendler

“When you look at a weather forecast and it says it’s going to rain, do you get mad when you go out and it’s raining? So why do you continually get angry when you know variance is going to happen?”

I love this quote because it perfectly describes how players should see VGC. 

Is losing to RNG factors fun? No. Does complaining about it stop that event from happening, or stop future RNG events from happening? Also no. Does complaining about RNG make you less fun to be around in between rounds, make you look like a sore loser, and create problems for yourself that don’t actually exist? Yes.

Complaining is just self inflicted pain that can also kill the mood for others around you who are trying to have fun. Instead of complaining you should start looking at how you could have prevented this from happening. One thing many players think is that they played every matchup perfectly each turn and the only reason they lost was 1-2 RNG events during the set. However, the more likely truth was there was a better sequence of plays, combination of Pokémon, or EVs/moves that could have been used to prevent you from being in that situation.

Now there are times where you couldn’t have done anything better and just got really unlucky, but hanging onto it after it’s said and done isn’t going to help you get better, or sustain mental energy.

Taking Extended Naps In Between Rounds:

In my years of competing I have only met 1 player who has actively taken naps in between rounds and has had results that show they help. Most other players however will take a nap, wake up a few minutes before needing to get ready to play and still be groggy and have a clouded mind. For most players it could take you up to a half an hour for you to get back to a neutral level after a nap. If you feel that you constantly need to take naps in between rounds of tournaments than I would look back and make sure you’re doing the positive habits I listed earlier such as watching your diet intake and getting enough sleep and if you’re aren’t than prioritize fixing those so you can skip the naps and go into the tournament properly rested.


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. If you have any topic suggestions for future PokéPrep articles please feel free to DM on twitter!  I hope you enjoyed and I wish you a fantastic day!

Published by Primitive

My name is Michael, but if you know my from competitive gaming you probably know me as Primitive. I'm a life long competitor in various card games, and turn based games who still has the burn to compete and work to be my best. I have been on a health and fitness journey since February 2018 and it is now one of my burning passions, making one of my new major goals to become a personal trainer to help others see the benefits exercise and nutrition can bring!

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