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Ming posted up some honest self-evaluation on his recent games. He notes that he has not been playing like he’s trying to win. It shouldn’t come as a surprise then that his most recent games have been defeats. Before the dice are rolled the game can be decided. If you’re not there to win and play to your fullest ability then you’ve already lost.
I realize that’s not revolutionary or ground breaking, realizing that your attitude effects the outcome of a game, but it’s worth mentioning every now and then as a reminder. I think some people forget just how much of an impact your mental state can have on a game. Once your lists are optimized and your strategies sound, the only factor left is mental preparedness. This is a key factor that separates the top players from the mediocre players. A top player goes into every single game expecting to win and going for the throat. The mediocre player will take that mindset when he/she feels they have the advantage, otherwise they tend to play with draws in mind, it’s better than losing, right?
In the end it all comes down to confidence. If you’re constantly questioning your codex rules or the general game rules when you know damn well you have them memorized then you’re showing a lack of self-confidence that’s going to crush you. Questioning things you know will only lead to overly questioning strategic and tactical decisions. If you can’t be sure of something that’s written in black and white then how can you be sure of a choice that has a lot of variables to it like tactics? Have faith that you know your army and the rules well. You might not always be right but as long as you’re not questioning yourself you’re at least showing confidence.
Don’t give up before a game even begins. There are some armies you probably have a real hard time facing but if you’ve resigned yourself to a loss already, or maybe a draw, then that’s the best you’ll most likely achieve. That line of thought tends to make players play too defensively and miss opportunities to exploit the enemy. A tough match up doesn’t mean you should sit back and just cover your ass. It means making hard choices and pushing yourself because to do anything else is just giving up.
I’ve been in the boat that Ming is in and know the feeling very well. When I first started playing at the LGS I was getting beat down left and right. Some of those beat downs were well deserved but others were matches I should have won but I lacked confidence. There were some opponents who were/are extremely skilled players and facing off against them I found intimidating. I just got tired of losing and began going into games expecting to win. I’m not saying I was cocky but I was confident in my abilities. Once I got there things turned around. The question is, how do you get there?
I think the best thing you can do to start building up confidence is start with what you know and do well. For me, I knew the rules inside and out, as well as having my Ork codex memorized. However, as mentioned above, I’d constantly question if I had the rules right, game rules or codex rules. I started by stopping second guessing my understanding of the rules. In doing so I was able to focus more on the game because I was confident in my knowledge. If you’re a great list builder then take confidence in the fact you did indeed build a great least. Those who are tactical geniuses should rest easy once the dice start rolling, knowing that their skill their is assured.
Whatever it is, begin with what you know and let that infuse your confidence level. From there start working on the other things. Once you have some self-confidence you can tackle your weaker areas with a stronger sense of purpose. It takes time and self-confidence alone won’t win you games but it’s a crucial component.
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