Content of the article: "Zen Gamers Guide: The Power of a Warm-Up Routine"
Zen Gamers Guide: The Power of a Warm-Up Routine
Today’s topic is creating a warm-up routine. Every professional athlete, actor, news reader, chess grandmaster and so on uses warm-up routines to mentally and physically prepare themselves to perform at their best.
This is my 2nd article here, the previous one was about TILT. Thanks for all the positive replies!
You can’t expect yourself to play at your best if you’re not warmed up. Athletes start warming up their bodies hours before their match. Chess grandmasters will get their mind up and running long before their game starts. Professional Esports teams all have their own version of a warm-up routine before any important game.
Do you have one?
In this post we will talk about the benefits of having a warm-up routine and how we can develop a warm-up routine that works best for you.
BENEFITS OF A WARM-UP ROUTINE
Before we start to develop a warm-up routine, we of course first want to know why we want to have one.
How much is 13×14? If you randomly get asked this question, it probably takes some time to calculate it. Now imagine that you are already practicing these types of sums for 5 minutes. You will be able to answer much faster than without any practice.
A warm-up routine helps you to start up your engine before you start playing, getting your mind and body ready to perform.
Start focused/sharp: If you start your game without any preparation, your mind and body still need some time to get things going. Your last hitting or aiming won’t be perfect yet, your moves are not as smooth and fast as they can be. You’re basically still warming-up when you’re already playing. By doing a little warm-up routine, you will start your game with much more focus and accuracy.
Prevent Tilt: If you start your game unprepared, you are more likely to play bad in the beginning and make mistakes. Playing bad and making mistakes are very common triggers that can lead to tilt (see article on TILT).
Prevent Negative Snowball Effect: If the beginning phase of your game starts bad because you were not warmed up yet, you will have a harder time in the mid and late phase. You’re playing from behind, your opponents have higher levels, better equipment/items and so on. You can reduce the chance of this happening by warming up.
Reduce risk of injury: It’s especially important when you play long gaming sessions to warm-up your muscles to prevent yourself from getting injuries. Eye strain, mouse elbow, RSI, gamers thumb, are all common injuries gamers suffer from. By doing a little warm-up exercise for your eyes and hands you reduce the chance of injuries.
Effective improving: If you want to become better, it’s good to identify what skills you want to improve on and put extra focus on these skills. In your warm-up routine you can put your intention on focusing on these skills.
More fun: When you play more focused, with less tilt, and at your best, the game is simply more fun to play. You’ll get in the zone (flow / a-game) faster and more things start working in your favor.
DEVELOP A WARM-UP ROUTINE
If the benefits sound convincing enough for you, it’s time to start developing a warm-up routine. Each person is different, each game is different, so it’s a matter of finding out what works best for your personal situation.
We want to warm-up both our body and our mind. Making you calm, grounded, peaceful and at the same time alert, focused, energised and ready to play.
The order in which you do the routine is not extremely important, just find out what works best for you.
1. Warm-up your muscles
For this part I’d like to share a link to a guide that has 10 different exercises for your fingers, hands, wrists, and forearms. And 3 exercises for your eyes. https://esportshealthcare.com/gamer-warm-up/
2. Set an intention
This part is particularly important if you really want to improve your skills, want to get better and want to climb the rankings. The idea is that you identify for yourself which elements of your game you think you can improve on.
Do you have poor map awareness? Can you improve on last hitting? Can you communicate better?
Don’t pick too many elements at once. If you pick too many elements to focus on, you will overload your conscious mind, resulting in tilt and making you play worse. So keep it simple and pick one or two elements in your game you want to focus on in your next game.
Ideally you want to write them down on a piece of paper and keep reminding yourself during the game to put extra focus on those elements. This is a great way to quickly improve your game. In the future I will write an article about quickly improving.
3. Clean up and get ready
- Start with cleaning up your desk! “constant visual reminders of disorganization drain our cognitive resources and reduce our ability to focus.” Quoted from this publication.
- Go to the toilet.
- get a glass of water.
- Put your phone on silent mode and preferably don’t have your phone on your desk at all. Even if your phone is on silent mode, you will still lose some focus if your phone is in your sight, because you will still look at it automatically every now and then.
- Close all your browsers, all your social media and every program that can distract you in any way. If you play music during gaming, have your playlist ready before the game starts.
4. Short practice
Most games have some form of a practice game, where you can do target practice, train your last hitting skills, or just go over some specific details of the game. This is a great way to warm up those skills and be more prepared for the real game. This practice doesn’t have to be long, 5 minutes will usually do. You don’t want to make this practice too long, otherwise your focus might drop at the end of a long game.
5. Get your mind ready
This can be the most valuable part in your warm-up routine, especially if you consistently keep doing it. Meditation. It doesn’t have to be long, 5 minutes can already do wonders. There are many different forms of meditation, but if you’re new to it, you can just start out with a simple meditation, putting your awareness on your breathing. (just search for “5 minute meditation” on youtube). This will help you clear your mind, calm down and focused. I will be making meditation guidance videos for gamers in the future.
You can also use different breathing exercises for different purposes, like energising yourself (coffee breathing) See this
for the how to.
6. Manage expectations
We already went over this part in more detail in this post. Write down a sort of mantra, a statement, in your own words, to manage your expectations. Such as: “I only have limited control over the outcome, all i can do is play my best”. This helps with getting less frustrated when things are not going your way. For more details see the other post.
7. Decide how long you want to play
Oke, just one more game. One more, this is really gonna be the last one. This has happened to all of us. We decide to play a last game, but once that game is finished we automatically press the play button again. And before we know it it’s 3 hours later. To reduce the chance of this happening (it will still happen every now and then) it can be helpful to beforehand set a clear schedule for yourself. I’m gonna play 3 games, no matter what. I will stop playing at 22:00 or not start a new game after 22:00. If you have trouble with continuing to play when you know you shouldn’t, it helps to write your schedule down. This makes it more likely that you will actually stick to that schedule.
I hope this guide will help you to set up your own warm-up routine. Don’t underestimate how effective a warm-up routine can be. Start testing out different routines and see what works best for you. Once you have a routine that works good for you, use it every time before you start playing. You will play better and enjoy the game more 🙂
- Have a pen and paper on your desk. Every time you are not sure if you made the right play, write down the in-game time. This way you can easily use the replayer to analyse your play.
I’m really curious what other tips you guys have, let me know in the comment section and I’ll add it to the list here (I'll add your name in parantheses as credit)
I’d also like to hear any other questions, suggestions, comments etc. Also let me know if you'd like me to write about a particular topic.
Thanks for reading!
PS: if you like content like this, I'm starting a youtube channel about gaming and mindset(end of year).
- I feel ashamed and guilty playing with a pro gamer because I’m so bad
- Gamers guide to TILT | What is TILT – How and Why does TILT happen – How to deal with TILT
- How do you guys start a game? (Recaps)
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