Hello fellow League players.
My name is Emuw, a Danish league top-lane player, that have been playing on and off since open-beta, I probably have about 3000 games in total as of November 2013, spread out over 4 major periods.
I recently began playing again after a break of 6 months, where i spend a week reaching Gold after that break, and as i am writing this (28th November) Gold II trying to get platinum within pre-season as my first major goal.
This Article/Guide is about how to design your mind-set and attitude towards improving the most as a player, it will mainly be psychological topics being addressed but i will also describe how a few things work, such as the nature of the league system and how to handle various types of people. And last i will explain how i go about improving and what methods i am using.
Becoming a Better League Player
So you want to become a better League player, if youre reading this im guessing yes.
Read on to get a solid foundation for learning and improving, i can’t turn you into a pro overnight, but i can show you some tools that can get you results if you use them as intended.
This is first and foremost a guide for SoloQueue as in a team some things are obviously done differently, but im confident that most of the things can still be applied to individuals in a team.
The Basis For Improvement
How does an individual improve at a skill ?
Well the most straightforward approach is obviously experience and practice, but this is where i will tell you something i consider to be a very common misconception. ”practice makes perfect” as you might all have heard. But i beg to differ.
Instead i would say like this ”Practice makes permanent, Perfect practice makes perfect” And this is the core of the entire article, you can practice a lot and not improve by a lot, you need a correct mind-set for this to work.
It’s like baking bread without flour, definetely not what you had been hoping for.
These are the 3 keywords i consider important to improve, this could boil down to”Correct-Practice”
Practice was just addressed, Commitment should be self-explanatory, if youre not working hard at something its unlikely that you will achieve above average results.
So is this the missing ingredient? not entirely but its some of it.
When you practice (as you hopefully do if you want to improve) you will need to pay attention to where your focus is, i experience a lot of teams where the players have their focus on insulting teammates. You can bet that they arent getting optimal results, because they are so busy with others they cannot possibly pay attention to what theyre doing.
Your focus, should be on YOUR game, not your team. Because you cannot control the skill of your teammates, and if you are too busy bashing your team, you will miss all the mistakes that you are doing yourself (first one obviously being a **** to other players).
Bottomline is: stay focussed on the things you CAN change, and stay away from what you cant.
A great deal of improvement comes from noticing your mistakes, so notice your own mistakes, not the other players unless they ask for your opinion (which they wont, trust me on this one)
The Dunning-Kruger Effect
This is one of the chapters that i REALLY want to emphasize, since it is a major barrier for a lot of people in every part of life.
The Dunning-Kruger effect is as taken directly from Wikipedia
”a cognitive bias in which unskilled individuals suffer from illusory superiority, mistakenly rating their ability much higher than is accurate”
What this means is that the majority of people who are unskilled, does not realize it. They genuinely believe that they are much better than they actually are, which means they dont see a need to improve (they refuse to see their mistakes). and this is partly what causes people to blame and flame teammates that they consider ”less-skilled” even if they are infact more skilled.
The other way around is also the case, that top performers rate their ability lower than it actually is believing the average skill to be much higher than is the actual case. but i would much rather believe the average skill to be higher than it is, be very skillfull, but also a humble person, than i would be ignorant of my own ignorance.
2500 years ago confucius (chinese philosopher) said ”real knowledge is to know the extent of your ignorance” and i completely agree.
and how can i improve if i cannot see my own mistakes ? so the better approach is actually to downgrade your own skill as you will see more mistakes, people will like you better because you are humble, and in time you will become very skillfull.
If anybody wants a more in-depth explanation of the Dunning-Kruger effect and the actual experiments follow the 2 links below
The Emotional Roller-Coaster
When you play SoloQueue, you will experiene a lot of different emotions, you can be happy that youre on a winning spree and feel superior, or you can be on a losing spree and be very frustrated. These mixed emotions can really throw your focus off and you will improve less when your mind is too occupied with emotions
Matchmaking, Leagues and Statistics
A thing you have to understand about matchmaking and leagues is that they reflect STATISTICAL data, this means you cannot measure your progress after every single game.
There are a great deal of random factors that the matchmaking system simply doesnt know.
You are placed with 4 other players, they have an individual skill bracket which cannot be correctly determined, they can be at the top or the bottom of their skill bracket, they can have a good or a bad day, they can have a good or a bad game. And you should reach the same conclusion as me THERE ARE A LOT OF RANDOM FACTORS IN MATCHMAKING.
Therefore you cannot judge a persons skill or your own progress on the outcome of a single game. Just as in science you need thousands of observations to make a correct conclusion.
If you can understand this. You will be able to stay clearminded and focussed even if you lose 10 or even 30 games in a row, because you know thats just how the system works.
In theory you could lose 300 games in a row and then win 500 in a row afterwards. So your mind and emotions are a huge barrier compared to what is actually going on.
And the thing is. The pro’s also have loosing spree’s, but how do you think they manage it ? they understand that this is just how the system works, so they just deal with it. Dont falter stay positive and endure, that is what gets results and sepparates succesfull individuals from unsuccessfull ones.
Which brings me back to my 3 points
The Other Players
So you are in a team with 4 other players. You are all in the same boat whether you like it or not.
MAKE THE BEST OF IT, and your chances of winning will be bigger than those who are too busy tending to their ego rather than the game.
The first major point to notice here, is that everyone has their own ”belief system” that decides whether something is correct or incorrect, stay open-minded and realize that you can be wrong, if someone has a belief let them, decide for yourself if you agree or disagree with it, and then move along and agree to disagree if that is the case, it is not your job to ”turn someone over”, this is not religion.
I try to make a point to focus entirely on my own game, i dont write too often, a lot of the time its just friendly chatter, if someone starts flaming just ignore them, theyre not worth your time and they will draw your focus away from the game only dragging your down and pulling you away from what you really want. You do not want to argue and if you think you do you are only fooling yourself.
Your ego might want you to argue, but understand that your ego is most of the time just in the way of what you want to achieve.
The Blaming game
When people start to lose, a lot of players will turn to their teammates with their frustration, this is again the mind getting in our way of progress, humans have this thing called an ”ego” which was intended to keep the mind healthy and increase survivalrate of human beings when we were still living in small tribe societies. But it doesnt belong in todays society. In fact, most of the time it just gets in the way.
This means that when people start to blame their teammates, their focus fails. They will be too busy blaming their team to see their own mistakes. And they get caught in an endless cycle of never improving because ”its allways someone elses fault”.
KEEP YOUR ACT TOGETHER, dont lose your correct focus on your own game and getting better.
You can allways improve so this is not the time to be blaming your team. This is actually where you will learn the most, when you are genuinely struggling to win a game, this is when your mind is working the hardest to solve the puzzle of winning a game of League of Legends.
Therefore, EMBRACE defeat as a gift, a chance to learn and become better, encourage the people in the same boat as you and be a positive factor in their lives, bashing them does nothing but make you an idiot, so help them rise, be the picture of an encouraging father DO NOT FALTER.
Broken will, and broken games
You have most likely seen the phrase ”It’s lost, ff” in a game.
someone loses their will and focus, but instead of keeping it to themselves. They engulf their whole team in their negativity dragging everybody down, you might think it doesnt affect you, but every tiny bit of negativity will influence you by some amount.
IT IS NOT OVER TILL THE FAT LADY SINGS. The fat lady is the nexus of either team. Untill that is down, the game is still going and anything can happen.
My point is here that telling your team to ff helps nobody
Not you, not anyone in your team. It does help the other team though so if you want to hand your opponents a free win, by all means, Whine all you want just know that it doesnt help yourself in the least, and that you are ruining the game for the rest of your team.
Even if the game is lost, you can learn from it, AS YOU SHOULD if you have any intention whatsoever of becoming anything but a sore loser.
If you feel like the game is lost, fine. But dont decide for the rest of your team.
How i do
So here i will tell you about my personal approach and its actually quite straightforward.
When i win a game, i simply start a new. Jokes aside.
When i lose. I take a 5min break, to consider what i did wrong and what i could have done better, the thing is that its easier to be a critique when you allready took a loss, you are simply not gonna find as many mistakes in a win as you will in a loss.
MAKE SURE YOU FIND A FEW MISTAKES BEFORE STARTING A NEW GAME, this is important, you just have to notice them thats all, when you notice them, you put them in the back of your head and when youre about to make the same mistake you will automatically remember it when you have been exposed to the same mistake enough times.
Other players telling you what to do
Dont just blindly do what other players do, stay open-minded and consider what they are telling you to do, and then decide for yourself to follow or not follow.
if its a bad idea, dont do it. If they start flaming or whatever USE THE MUTE. Thats what its there for.
You should care about how you can become a better player, not how you can satisfy your teammates, you wont become better by blindly doing what others tell you to, if they start yelling report and so on, mute and move along, their threats are empty and contain no reason whatsoever, the behaviour punished in the tribunal is not players that dont follow others commands, its toxic people that flame and bash teammates, eventually they will be the ones banned, and you will be a lot better than them and achieve a lot more.
General tips for improving
Stay focussed if you want to become good, get a champion pool you like to play and you think are viable and play them.
Pick a main role and play it whenever pickorder allows it (do not instalock).
Dont worry too much about getting countered, the harder the matchup, the better you will eventually get at your champion, and you will also learn which matchups are harder for you
DO NOT go on lolking to check your opponents stats, people have a tendency to underestimate their opponents and they end up not taking the game serious, and they end up loosing. When they check their opponent, their focus is shifted from their own game, over to how good the opponent is, we are not interested in the skill of the opponent, we want to work on our own skill.
Limit the amount of unrelated information you get. The more ”noise” there is. The harder it will be to focus and become better.
Practice, Commitment and Focus is what you should be paying attention to.
Limit information that you cannot use (opponents stats)
LOCATE YOUR MISTAKES.
Dont say negative **** in chat, it will disrupt your teams focus and will.
ITS NOT OVER TILL THE FAT LADY SINGS. Dont ever ff.
Do not blindly follow other players, you be the judge.
If someone is trashtalking or saying negative stuff, mute them. the negativity WILL affect you in some way
This was my first version of ”The Psychology Of Improving” and i hope it was not too much of a mess.
Please leave me some feedback so i can make the second version much better.
I was so enthusiastic about making this that i couldnt wait to put it up :b
I have a stream called Emuw’s Failblog and can be found here www.twitch.tv/emuwlol
Here i try to apply the things i am writing about. I would very much appreciate if some people come by and ask me questions, sort of like an AMA. Meanwhile i will try to talk while i play about my own mistakes and become better at explaining the things i do.
That would be it for now. Thanks for reading.