1. Clear the schedule

Make sure family or anybody you share a house with knows that you’re going to be in an important match which you don’t want to be disturbed during. You also don’t want anybody over using the internet when you’re about to play (if you usually have connection problems). This will stop people walking into your room when playing and give you the space you need to stay locked in.


2. Put your phone away

Don’t distract yourself. Give yourself no reason to check your phone even if it’s only during a short pause or downtime in the game. Stay focused on the match, go over what’s been happening and just stay locked into the momentum of the game. Checking your phone you might lose track of something that happened or see something that triggers an emotional reaction. Give yourself some time and get back to anybody when you’re finished.


3. Go over the strategy

If you haven’t already, make sure to remind yourself what your plan is. At least enough to start the match off with some prepared decisions. I am a strong believer in adapting on the fly during games. If things are going well then keep doing what you’re doing, if things aren’t working then it may be time to throw the strategy out the window and improvise.


4. Go over the opponents strategy

You should already have enough information available to you to analyse your opponents strategy. Look for any repetitive things they are doing. Trade-off’s in decisions that they make. Pathing they take. Extra things they like to do. It can help you understand the thought process of their overall strategy coming into the match. If there are also clear distinctions between your strengths and weaknesses than accept that reality. Start to think about what adjustments can be made to overcome these differences.


5. Take time doing what you enjoy right beforehand

Everyone has their pump up, get ready or calm down techniques that work for them. We are all different and enjoy different things to achieve these desired states of being. Whatever you like to do, whatever you find works for you do that. If you’re uncertain about what techniques you can try some examples are: listening to music, meditation, reading, watching something, playing the game (warmup), exercising, stretching, aim trainers.


6. Toilet break

Despite what our mind believes our body will usually react slightly differently before an important match. Nerves and anxiety are normal to arise before any big game and everyone deals with those feelings in different ways. Our body’s also affected by these states and can sometimes want to excrete in attempt to enter a more compacted survival like mode. If you’re feeling something wrong in the pit of your stomach try emptying the bowels for a new aerodynamic lightness.


7. Prepare liquid

Always have water or refreshments on hand. Even though gaming does not require the same amount if you were playing a sport, it’s still important to stay hydrated and keep the body feeling good during a long series. Sugar or caffeine can help some people focus, for example energy drinks/coffee. However, drink as recommended and see if it works for you beforehand. Be mindful of a sugar crash if you’re planning on having a long day of gaming.


8. Charge the wireless gear

Nowadays many of us are using wireless gear. Check that it’s all charged and ready to go. There’s nothing more detrimental than going back to the cable. Especially during an important game. Just a quick plug in the day before or morning of and you should be right to get through every second of battle cordless.


9. Check your ping and frames

Always check your ping and frames right before a match. Nothing worse than needing a quick restart to fix your machines memory bank. Always have a quick warmup before a match and just make sure everything is feeling okay. Same goes with checking if anybody is using the connection or perhaps it’s a bad time for the connection to a use a certain server or unlucky routing issue. I’ve seen too many good gamers crushed by lag over my years.

10. Put things in perspective

Remind yourself it’s just a game where sometimes you win and sometimes you lose. You play the game because you enjoy it and you have a lot of fun playing it. Any additional pressure you feel is all from you and your desire to win. Winnings importance is all made up by you and your ego. Of course you want to win and you are absolutely going to try your best to win but you accept any outcome with true independence. Having a carefree and accepting attitude will drastically help your mental focus through all those intense clutch moments.