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Fast Food Gaming: Why our culture makes you worse at esports (HINT It's not about eating while you play)

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You’re starving. Thinking of food when you’ve had none for hours can create that feeling.

Finally, you arrive at a place with food options. One is a restaurant where you could wait an hour before being seated, and the other?

Fast food.

You hunger pangs scream loudly for the quickest route to fill your stomach and you decide to forgo the restaurant.

Satisfied, you move on.

Or do you?

Hourglass by Kat [swimparallel]

To wait or not to wait; Is that ever a question?

How excited are you to wait for what you want?

The popularity of fast food, ATM’s, on demand television, and weight loss pills are all examples of how often we look for opportunities to get what we want, when we want it.

The ability to have things at a moments notice can feel satisfying, but is it the best choice?

Think of a time when you chose a quick option, but regretted it later.

Things I have regretted:

  • the quality of the food I chose (because I didn’t want to wait)
  • that one time I spent watching a bad movie (regardless of the horrible reviews I’d read, oops!)
  • a new relationship that went sour shortly after I thought it was safe to share personal information (nope. not going to tell you what it was)

Often you blame these types of unwanted outcomes on the person, place, or thing and there is no reflection on how quickly you decided your choice. Instead if you gathered more information the poor choice could be avoided altogether! Instead you threw away time that you could have spent on making a better decision.

I have seen this type of mentality in mental health therapy sessions where the person looks for the needed change in their life to happen immediately. They want reversal from the outcome of choices they had made in the past.

Choices that were a quick fix in the moment and led to a pattern of behavior that created unforeseen problems.

Those choices could have been something as simple as saying “yes” when they did not want to deal with the fallout of saying “no.”

With physical health it could be compared to often choosing unhealthy food that later became weight gain when time spent on creating a healthier option was something that felt undesirable.

Time spent wisely in solo queue

Do you find yourself having the same mentality with your solo queue journey?

Too often players look for ways to increase their rank by starting a new game immediately after a loss to try to quickly make themselves feel better without considering if a break, or another type of coping skill, will increase their performance in the next match.

Creating bad habits develops unforeseen changes in behavior that can take time to not only undo, but to recognize they are a problem in the first place.

“It is easier to prevent bad habits than to break them” ~Benjamin Franklin

Excellence requires time to mature and when one tries to rush it many times it will end in failure.

Not only does adding healthy aspects to your life in the pursuit of excellence take time but so does removing unhealthy habits.

“The only proper way to eliminate bad habits is to replace them with good ones” ~Jerome Hines

So choose to look for healthy options rather than a quick fix as the results will be sustainable and the outcomes will be in line with what you desire.

Develop a realistic timeframe when working towards achieving greatness and these next 5 tips will assist in creating one for your solo queue goals.

#1 – It Takes Time To Develop Good Habits

Portrait of a nun

Not that kind of habit.

There are quite a few statistics that have been has collected for League and one of them is the percentiles of players that make up the respective tiers for the game.

Where do you find yourself in this chart? Are you Bronze or Silver? If so you are in the majority and can benefit from applying a system to enhance your gameplay. If you find yourself higher in rank read on as you too can improve by developing and applying a system as there is always someone who is better than you!

Being Bronze or Silver means that you were not born naturally good at League of Legends, but it does not mean that you cannot climb to Diamond. It only shows that you need to develop a system.

The approach is to invest in your gameplay by training yourself to set realistic goals that are appropriate for the amount of time you are able to spend in that sitting.

It is very helpful to have a way to remind yourself each time you play what your goal is so that your invested time will produce the results you want.

Choose a reminder system that works best for you, I use an app on my phone as I find it an easy way to collect and organize the information that I want to remember such as what champions to focus on for both banning and selecting.

I have heard of others using post it notes and sticking it to their monitor for ease of access and a constant reminder. I have also seen professional players such as Dyrus have a list on their desktop of information that he wants to remember while streaming.

Find what works for you and have in mind that you are searching for the way to use your invested time wisely by developing habits designed to improve your own gameplay.

Think about when a seed is planted and begins to grow and how it will not produce fruit until it has properly matured. The same concept can be applied to growth in your gameplay as you will not be able to harvest the reward of higher ranks until your abilities and mindset have matured.

#2 Prepare for the journey by reframing your expectations

Having the mindset that you will win every game can create opportunities to set yourself up for failure.

Think about the times that you have been incredibly fed yet you were unable to win the game due to factors that were outside your own gameplay.

While these situations are frustrating and can allow for negative self talk to begin try to reframe your mind so that a different thought process may occur.

One of the ways this can be done is to think about which champion is considered the most powerful at any time and that champion will likely have a win percentage around 55% or so.

Taking that into perspective is a reminder that even when a powerful champion is chosen for a team the chances of them winning from that pick alone is barely greater than a coin flip.

Often we will find similar statistics with the games that we play once we settle into the rank that our level of play is at.

So by reminding ourselves that averages eventually even out we can create an opportunity to refocus our mind and prepare for the journey that is solo queue.

I once read that it takes an average of 1000 solo queue games before a person’s gameplay is accurately accounted for.

What this will mean is that many games are likely needed to make the movement that is desired and when you get on board with the amount of time and number of games that you will have to travel it is important to develop the habit of reminding yourself to not self-sabotage by expecting it to go quickly and reducing your level of play to pump out quantity over quality.

Even high level players such as Dexter have days where losses can impact their overall mindset.

Remind yourself that bumps will be had along many roads and if you focus on those and not the path ahead you will be stuck in that place because of allowing your negative thoughts or others gameplay to control your emotions.

Let go of the negative thoughts and emotions and reframe your thinking so you can focus on your goal.

A way to remove those negative thoughts or emotions is through a technique I use in therapy when working with someone who feels stuck.

Write down the reasoning you have for the thoughts or emotions such as fear that you experience from outcomes in soloQ.

Then begin to compile evidence of whether these outcomes are likely to occur along with what the end result would be from that fear becoming a reality.

Take how likely it is happen and then begin to infuse rational thinking into that scenario as you will be able to see that many of the fears you allow into your thinking have a low chance of even happening!

An example would be the belief “every time I play soloQ I lose lane”.

Begin to write down the evidence for this or against it after each game, and after 20 games compare your belief to your data and it will show you at least these two things.

  1. That you were being irrational with your belief as you did not lose lane every time and it is time to reframe your belief to be accurate with your behavior.
  2. That you found it to be completely true (not likely but there is a chance) and you now have information of where to focus to improve your gameplay.

Both of these outcomes lead to opportunities for a healthier way to think and feel and a direction of how to improve your performance either mentally by having a more realistic belief that you are not always losing lane or both mentally and behaviorally by understanding what area of your gameplay needs work and reframing your thoughts into a belief that your desired outcome is attainable.

It also allows you to practice a technique that you can use in other parts of your life such as school, work and relationships so by applying this coping skill to your journey through soloQ you will not only develop more ways to win in League but also ways to win in life.

#3 Develop a plan or, all you have is a wish

Doodle - University users and attitudes (xkcd tribute)

If you have read my article on solo queue habits this title may sound familiar to you and the reason for using it again is because of how true it really is.

By setting a plan for yourself you will be able to see tangible results rather than only having an idea of what you would like to accomplish.

High level athletes have a desire to win a championship in their respective sport, however there is still a need to complete the necessary work prior to that such as regular season games to move closer to where they want to be.

An NFL team cannot reach the Super Bowl in October, but must instead complete what is in front of them which is their present task of winning the game they have for that week.

The same can be held true for League of Legends as each game is a part of the journey towards the end goal, and trying to focus on why you “should” be at a high rank rather than what the journey can teach you will only lead to stagnation.

Remind yourself that where you are currently is where you “should” be at and allow yourself to use any frustration you may have with your ranking as fuel to motivate yourself to learn how to improve rather than waste it on negative energy.

That is why having a plan is so important, as it will allow you to see movement and reduce your chances of becoming frustrated.

In his book Leading with the Heart Coach Mike Krzyzewski presents the idea of how each year he coaches the Duke basketball team he looks at it as very similar to the seasons that the earth has with the harvest coming after the work has been completed.

So too can you plant the seeds of your long term goal by having a short term plan of what you want to see change in so that you can reap the harvest once those plans have grown into your ultimate goal.

#4 Find a coach to help speed up your progress


Maybe you are thinking that you have tried to increase your overall play and have found yourself stuck in the same level or two of the ranked tier that you are in.

Being aware of what your strengths and weaknesses are takes time as we can be blind to what we are capable of or need assistance with.

Having someone that is able to point those things out is an immense help when striving for greatness as it is a healthy way to “speed up the process”.

That does not necessarily mean the work will take less time, but where time saving will occur is through the direction that is given as you will not find yourself spending time wandering around with the hope of stumbling across some insight.

So look to others that are better than you in the respective thing that you want to improve at.

For league of legends pay attention to what professional league players talk about and how they play. When doing this consider choosing one who plays the same role you want to get better at.

The best option, of course, is to subscribe to the free newsletter on this site so you’ll get all the future training articles right to your inbox:

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Another option to consider is subscribing to a free coaching website and get private coaching on the skills that are needed to excel. There’s lots of FREE coaching below Diamond level on the ladder.

If you’d rather improve your mental ability such as focusing while training, setting goals, and structuring your day to make training habits easier (as well as learning not to tilt) then there’s also a free training portal on this site for basic mental skills training. Get Instant Access FREE.

#5 Reassess to learn from your experiences and create positive growth

After losing 5 games in a row it can be hard to look for positives if you are not forcing yourself to do so. If you allow reflection to assess where you could have improved your own play in the games that you were a part of there will be an opportunity for growth.

Too often we can pass over the notion that both winning and losing are opportunities for said growth and finding ways to assess your progress is an important part of continuing on the path to excellence.

One way is to take time to look at games you have won in comparison to your losses and  consider what the differences were between those games.

If you have adopted a data collection technique as mentioned earlier in this article you will have the tool needed for reflection on your gameplay as it can be difficult to always remember what happened days or sometimes even hours after a match.

Below are what you should focus on when you are collecting data for yourself:

  • When writing down information about your games include the date you played along with categorizing the games into either a daily, weekly or monthly format depending on the amount of time you are able to play. This will allow you to have enough space to see patterns in your play (especially if you play daily) that could have been missed without that context.
  • Write down your emotions before you begin to play for that day and also what they are after each win or loss along with how you felt your own play was for that particular game. Through this you will be able to see if your emotions before you start playing and/or if your emotions regarding your own performance are impacting your overall gameplay.
  • Practice thinking of and writing down at least two things that you did well in each game that you can continue to replicate as well as two things that you can improve on. It is ok if you find yourself writing down the same observations as it is either highlighting something that you are you good at or showing you an area to improve. Just make sure that you don’t waste the information but instead enhance that behavior if it is positive or learn ways to improve if it is an area of weakness.
  • Periodically return to previous games that you documented to compare and contrast the behaviors that you did in the past to your current behaviors to see if there has been growth or stagnation in your gameplay. Use the information from this assessment to either continue or adjust your training.

Note: if you would like to have a blank template to begin recording data in this manner contact me with your email address and I will provide you one for free.

By writing this information and focusing on patterns in your own play you can increase positive choices and/or decrease misplays, mechanical errors, etc. which will allow for a higher chance of winning.

There is only one person who can change the outcome of your games, you.

Without gathering information of things that you can either add more of or reduce/remove from your play you will lack a healthy direction as you may become misguided by focusing on a type of misstep or perceived positive play that is not backed up by your research and is instead an anomaly.

It must be noted that when using this strategy remember to focus on what was in your control rather than ways others may have negatively impacted the game so that your data is not skewed by factors that you cannot change.

Gourmet dining is worth the wait

Imagen de Hola Gourmets 2009
When looking to have the highest level of play that you can produce remind yourself that positive results take time, and that if your expectations are set without considering the labor that is needed you will not see the outcome you desire.

In a gourmet restaurant food is prepped hours before any customer enters the establishment and then time is still needed to cook the meal.

So, too, is preparation and time needed when looking to climb the solo queue ladder. It is important to not look for diamond level play with a fast food mentality, but instead remember that it will take time to develop.

Focus your mentality on savoring the journey and there will not only be better results but also you will find it more enjoyable.

It does not matter how slowly you go as long as you do not stop ~Confucius

Follow the checklist and answer the questions below in the comments!


#1 – It Takes Time To Develop Good Habits

  • What is your timeline for this journey? Imagine the worst happens and your timeline extends. Now what is your timeline for this journey? REPEAT (find the real ending)

#2 Prepare for the journey by reframing your expectations

  • What expectations do you have for your pursuit of mastery?

#3 Develop a plan or, all you have is a wish

  • What is your plan? (in brief)

#4 Find a coach to help speed up your progress

  • Who is your mentor?

#5 Reassess to learn from your experiences and create positive growth

  • Do you already have a growth mindset? (Fail well and fail often in pursuit of mastery) If not, what will you do to create one?