Computer-gaming tournaments have become a world-class sport complete with well-trained players, rabid fans, and eye-popping prizes. In fact, these events have become such serious business that it is not unusual for gamers to invest thousands of dollars on the latest gaming equipment and even hire a custom computer builder to assemble a state-of-the-art gaming computer, all so they could stay up-to-date with the latest patches, campaigns, and games.

Some professional players also spend months of practice prior to the competition. If you don’t have the luxury of time and have less than a week to prepare, you can still increase your chances of winning by following these smart strategies.

Break Down the Game into Objectives

Successful goal setting involves creating smaller objectives that are well-defined and measurable. Winning is the goal, but this is too vague, general, and even overwhelming if you have no idea how to make it possible. Your objectives will help you calculate your risks and make your goal more achievable and specific.

Study the game play in advance, and map out potential challenges that might crop up during the game. You can turn these challenges into possible wins for your team by creating the appropriate tactical responses. Depending on the rules, mechanics, and format of the tournament, your objectives can include winning a specific number of rounds, completing a level within a specific time frame, applying challenging moves, and carrying out a complex strategy with your teammates.

Practice, Practice, Practice


Like in any competitive sport, computer gaming requires practice. You will need to get used to the commands and controls used in the game and intuitively navigate your way into different challenges. Also consider your environment when practicing. Many tournaments are open to the public, and this means you will be surrounded by hordes of screaming fans, background noise, and other distractions.

If you’re used to playing alone in the quiet confines of your own room, you might want to change things up a bit so you can get ready to play in a distracting gaming environment before the tournament. One idea would be to practice in an internet café or to have your friends over to watch you while you play.

Be Mentally Prepared

The battle will take place in your mind almost as much as on the computer screen. Focus, mental clarity, and resourcefulness are important tools during the game. Make this possible by getting good-quality sleep the night before and by avoiding food that causes brain fog. You should also avoid alcohol and other mind-altering substances that will affect your mood and performance.

Last but not least, be prepared for psychological warfare. Expect your competitors and their fans to come at you with teases and taunts throughout the game. They might try to distract you from the game play with by insulting or intimidating you. Rather than lash back at them and thus ruin your performance, train yourself to stay calm and focused even in the most chaotic of circumstances. Entering the contest with the right attitude and expectations can help you stay sharp and your eyes zoned in on your goal.

Develop Teamwork

If you are participating in a team competition, then it is very important that you build camaraderie with your teammates prior to the tournament day. Excellent teamwork can mean the difference between an efficient and well-executed victory and a sloppy, mistake-ridden loss.

To prepare, meet with your comrades at a specific time every day on the days leading to the tournament. The meeting can either be virtual or in real life. Make everyone commit, and use it for activities like brainstorming strategies, assigning roles in the team, and of course, playing together. Make your team-building activities fun and engaging so every member feels comfortable and at ease. Practice communicating with one another in a calm and clear way.

Don’t Forget Your Creature Comforts

Your creature comforts can make the day of the tournament more pleasurable, but they can also derail you from your ultimate goal to win because of a phenomenon known as decision burnout. This happens when you have to make many tiny and seemingly unimportant decisions that will eventually compromise your cognitive abilities. At the end of all that trivial decision-making, you might find yourself becoming frazzled and unfocused when it really matters.

To avoid burnout, you should make all the logistical preparations such as transportation, accommodation, and clothes in advance. If you need to fly out of town, book your tickets in advance, and find a hotel that is not too far from the tournament venue. When packing, consider the weather, and bring comfortable clothes. You want to focus the majority of your mental energy on the tournament and not on whether you’ll have a roof over your head or how you’ll be able to get home after the game.

Like any competitive sport, computer-game tournaments require adequate preparation and planning. Being an excellent player is one thing, but being an outstanding tournament player is an entirely different ballpark because you’ll be competing with other equally competitive gamers in an unfamiliar venue.


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