Competitive gaming, like any other sport has a certain set of criteria that need to be met in order to be successful. One of these criteria, practice, is perhaps the most important for success as both an individual player and team. It is often times overlooked or misinterpreted in competitive gaming and any Pro team will tell you that practice and team chemistry are extremely vital to success. With that in mind, the correct approach towards practice should be held in the same regards as any other sport. As the captain of my team, I take quite a large portion of responsibility at ensuring that my team is receiving the absolute best practice possible. I do this by following many of the principles that guided me throughout other sports I have played in my life.
Do not approach a scrimmage or practice scenario with a “must win” mentality. Inexperienced teams or players oftentimes falter because they focus on winning. Instead, the focus of practice should be to improve strategies, individual assignments, and, most importantly, to build team chemistry. Teams that have an emphasis on winning during scrimmages are often filled with players that need to boost their egos or prove to other people how skillful they are compared to other competitors. This can be disastrous for newer teams because one “off” night of scrimmages could be the last night of practice for those players. Shifting to a mentality that emphasizes improvement over winning helps build team chemistry when practice is not going so well. This shift in focus, however should not change the amount of effort you or your team is putting forth while practicing. I feel much more comfortable in practice knowing my team executes our strategies and gives 100% of our effort as opposed to winning every map of a scrimmage. Remember, it is only a scrimmage and nothing is on line except for your improvement!
When practicing create a list of skills, gametypes, or specific maps that you and your team have outlined as weaknesses and strengths. Practice becomes much more efficient and structured if you can readily identify the teams strengths and weaknesses . For example, my team was consistently having problems with the map Blood Drive. As a team we were giving up three or more rounds to our opponent in large majority of our scrimmages – roughly 70%. We looked over some of our match video and reevaluated a number of assignments and strategies for the map. Taking time to discuss how we could improve and what we could do differently has helped tremendously. You cannot be afraid to try something new because many teams try to mimic the playing style or strategies of other top teams so developing new strategies leaves teams guessing. Ultimately, when identifying weaknesses and strengths it is best to do the following:
- Take time to identify with your team what weaknesses and strengths you all possess.
- Discuss possible changes that are needed to improve weaknesses and enhance strengths.
- Execute those changes in practice and during scrimmages.
- Reevaluate if the changes made have improved weaknesses and enhanced strengths.
The responsibilities of a captain are very important to me and should be for any captain. Efficiency, attitude, and effort are what I look for in teammates and during practice. I previously used the word efficient to describe practice sessions because I personally like to make the most of my gaming time. I do not believe that practicing 20 hours a day or trying to scrimmage an over abundant number of teams per day is going to make me or my team better during events. A large majority of time can be wasted without really accomplishing anything while playing in scrimmages. Practicing for too long usually drains everyone on the team and practicing too briefly might not yield the best results in the long run. Find a balance that makes for the most efficient practice possible. Attitude and effort are probably the most important portions of practice that are the most difficult to control but extremely vital to a team’s success. Captains or the vocal leaders of a team need to know how to motivate teammates in order to provoke the best attitude and effort during practice. Arguing and blaming errors during practice will not help when the games count the most so staying positive is a must.
Lastly, remember to have fun! Practice is the perfect time to build team chemistry and if you personally are not having fun, your teammates probably are not having fun either. If you are looking to find a large number of Gears of War scrimmages, check out my YouTube account.
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