From martial arts to Esports, plateauing involves “[reaching] a level, period, or condition of stability or maximum attainment.” In other words, when one plateaus, they enter a state of limbo when it comes to improving their skills. It’s a frustrating situation many types of athletes find themselves battling, often resulting in irritability and self-doubt.
However, as with all obstacles to success, plateauing is manageable and is an essential part of development for gamers, particularly at the higher levels of play.
Avoiding the Plateau
Unfortunately, avoiding the plateau is a difficult, almost impossible, objective. At some point, everyone plateaus. The threshold for this aggravating state is different for each individual, but it’s an inevitability. For some, it may happen sooner rather than later. For others, it may take years to hit that wall.
Overcoming the Plateau
Overcoming the plateau is far more doable than avoiding it. It’s a grueling business, but worth the time and effort in order to continue pulling one’s self up the ladder. The higher one climbs, the more difficult it becomes to improve. To quote Frank Underwood from Netflix’s House of Cards, “The higher up the mountain, the more treacherous the path.”
As with most hinderances to one’s improvement, the solution to plateauing is self-study. Keep chiseling away at that mountain to make it to the top.
In most cases, plateauing is a result of learning most of what one needs to know from other players, coaches, videos, and/or guides. It’s at this juncture that most players need to really hunker down and do some analysis of their own gameplay. In truth, many gamers will already be doing this from the beginning of their Esports journey, but it’s when they plateau that self-study is going to be even more important.
Record one’s own matches and watch them. Similarly to how a football coaches watches the tapes of their team’s games to analyze where they need to improve, gamers should also be watching their own videos to pinpoint where their problems lie. Afterwards, corrections can be made and one can start getting around the plateau.
Complacency and Consistency
During a plateau, it’s important to remember some of the most essential guidelines of one’s training and competitiveness. Firstly, never get complacent. Complacency is like rust on a boat—basically a death sentence. Getting complacent can knock one back down the mountain so fast it’ll make their head spin, and if they get complacent in the middle of their plateau, the climb back up is going to be that much more difficult.
Secondly, remember to stick to one’s routine. Consistency is the key to overcoming any obstacle, and plateauing is no different. The moment one diverges from their schedule, the progress they made begins deteriorating. Feeling out of practice is a clear sign of someone who either didn’t have a routine or got derailed at some point. So, stay consistent.
Change it Up and Emotional Control
Thirdly, don’t be afraid to change it up a bit. Play something else for an hour or two one day, but don’t forget to continue practicing. The mind needs a breather sometimes, just like the body’s muscles. Overexertion will kill both passion and progress equally fast.
Lastly, control one’s emotions. Giving in to tilt is easily one of the swiftest ways to get annihilated, especially during competitive play. Staying nice and relaxed, even in the most irritating circumstances, will allow one to make more progress at a quicker rate. Thus, the plateau can be countered faster and one can get back to the state of constant improvement and success they’ve come to know and love.
As with all competitive sporting environments, always remember to have fun. Often, competitive streaks bring out the worst in people, especially when they are losing. Having fun is an essential component to Esport success. Otherwise, engaging in Esports is a futile effort to win in misery.
During a plateau, having fun can be difficult. It feels like one is banging their head against the side of the mountain instead of actually climbing up it. Regardless, it’s important to have a good time, not just for one’s own sake, but for the sake of fellow competitors. Once something stops being fun for everyone, interest dwindles, and it becomes a stone’s throw away from capitulating an entire industry.
So, always have fun, and when things are frustrating, difficult, and seemingly hopeless, find a way to make that fun, too. If one can make the hardest times fun, there’s nothing stopping them from having fun everywhere else. Plateauing is an evil struggle, but there can be no light without the dark. Overcome the plateau and watch one’s successes soar.0