Starcraft 2 is an RTS (Real-time strategy game) created by Blizzard Entertainment and designed from the start to be an eSport game. In most tournaments players compete individually in matches that can last anywhere from 5 to 60 minutes. A resource system provides a method of obtaining and maintaining advantage during a contest. Player’s have the option of selecting one of three races prior to the game and each has unique strategy and tactics relating to the units and buildings that can be produced. Blizzard attempts to maintain an equal between-race balance and most professional athletes specialize in one race.
Starcraft 2 shares common characteristics with other sports. Examining how athletes mentally prepare for such situations can uncover methods useful for LoL athletes. Tennis and American football are both games where momentum features heavily into tactical decisions. Starcraft 2 and American football are more alike systemically than for the individual athlete, as both have moments of internal strategizing followed by an engagement with a relatively known set of resources on each side that nevertheless relies on execution to determine the result. Starcraft 2 and tennis are both strong mental games requiring intense focus, as errors are heavily punished with both mental and resource based changes in momentum.
Strategy and preparation
American football and Tennis athletes typically go into a play or point with clear goals from the outset. Mental preparation using imagery or self-talk to arouse emotions and remind oneself of goals prior to starting the engagement helps decision making occur more rapidly and with less errors than a plain start. Once play starts situations devolve rapidly into executing a role while minimizing errors. Training attentional focus and concentration helps players avoid distraction and reduce errors in judgement.
Games are long in tennis, potentially the longest of nearly any individual sporting match between two competitors. The winner is oftentimes the more experienced player simply because they have had more practice with the mental stamina required to stay “on their game” the entire time. Tennis athletes’ best training for concentration is competition, but there are several mental drills that help.
Both American football and tennis athletes face bursts of extremely important activity, such as a serve or the reception of a pass. Athletes train for these using pre-performance techniques such as self-talk or imagery and practicing with attentional focus activities to reduced their chance of being distracted mentally.
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