When we talk about changing our perception IRL, we, of course, mean In Rocket League. This is the gaming world folks, real-life can wait over there!
Let me lay out the scene for you. A few days before releasing this video, I got myself back into Grand Champion. It was great, I felt at home and back with the big boys where I thought I belonged. The gratification of knowing that I was now considered ‘OK’ at a video game was very rewarding. Everything in the world seemed perfect. Then, as if I was being cursed by the man above, I hit a bad streak of losses and went plummeting back down to Champion.. then even further back down to Champion D1. Wow, how did this happen?
Let’s track our minds back to something I said in my video “How to get to Grand Champion in Rocket League”. I’ll quote myself, “You need to be playing in ranked when you are playing to the best of your ability”. The thing is, I thought I was playing at my best, and this perception gave me reasoning to keep playing and in the end destroying my ranked progress further. The drop in rank led to me playing worse, I decided that I no longer cared about my rank and would play ultimate YOLO-style because who gives a damn when you’re not making progress anyway?
Changing your perception in Rocket League
The video is me speaking for 8 minutes about Rocket League psychology and how to shift your perception of progression. I get it, there are a few big words here and you might already be cracking a yawn just listening or reading this. However, I feel this is an extremely important topic for Rocket League players of all levels and without being able to manage our psychological state when playing, our progress is hindered from the get-go. I’m a culprit, you’re a culprit, we’re all culprits. Read further below to see how we can positively shift perception and how we can progress in Rocket League.
Defining our ability
Firstly, we need to consider how we define our Rocket League ability and to consider our rank as one of many factors that reflect our skill level. Our current rank is a hugely subjective factor that has a ton of variables impacting it. As mentioned already, I went from Grand Champion to the bottom of Champion within a couple of days! Your rank SHOULD NOT be the main determinate for how you perceive yourself as a player.
We’re going to take a look at some mental perceptions and what we can do to improve them. We’ll then look at some other recommendations I have for changing your perception in Rocket League.
Negative Automatic Thoughts
When we start playing badly it is very common for us to start thinking negatively and this is defined as ‘Negative Automatic Thoughts‘. Here are two examples, “I’m never going to get any better” and “I put all this time in and I’m not improving”.
The thing is, just by picking up your controller and going into games means you’re already improving. Every scenario you encounter and the decisions you make are an opportunity for improvement. If you jump straight into ranked games without doing any warmups or training then your progress will be inevitably slower. But, as I say to my clients in the gym, half the battle is just showing up to your session. Whatever you do after turning up (or loading up the game) is going to contribute to your growth as a player in some way.
Comparing ourselves to pro players
I love watching RLCS and seeing how consistent and perfect the pro players play the game. I sometimes compare myself to them but then I start wondering why I can’t be this good or consistent. Comparing yourself to others is extremely common and even more common in my line of work at the gym. A new client will sign up for a month and tell me they want to look like Dwayne Johnson. It’s not a very realistic short-term goal, but it is still a goal!
Having these goals and mental images is not a bad thing. What people don’t consider when comparing themselves to others is the actual journey of the pro’s to reach that point. Do you know how many hours Kronovi has played on RL? In April 2018, Kronovi had over 5000 hours of gameplay on the clock. That’s over 208 days and this was a statistic from over a year ago! How about Dwayne Johnson? Did you know that he started in the gym when he was 13 years old!
When we compare ourselves to the big boys we tend to be too objective. We don’t properly consider the facts because our brains don’t want to listen. What we hear, read and see will impact our perception of ourselves and our own progression and ability to do something. The point I’m making here is that the comparisons we make between ourselves and others are rarely accurate because there are too many variables to consider. Instead of making straight comparisons, we should be thinking about what the pro’s did and are still doing to remain in the competitive scene. Instead if making direct comparisons, we should be thinking about what the pro’s did to reach the competitive scene. Then consider what they do to remain there
Something I’ve been doing recently to increase my progress is re-visiting previous training maps. If I completed it, can I still complete it, or can I complete it quicker? If I couldn’t complete it, can I complete it now? The training pack in particular that helped me recently was the Speed Jump Boost Map that I mentioned in my previous video. I hadn’t used this pack in a few months because I was stuck at a certain level. So I decided to try it again to see if I could find some shed of success after losing my rank, and it worked! I managed to complete the level for the first time ever and progressed to the levels after that which I’d never tried before. Then I ended up completing the entire pack, then re-doing some of the harder levels with ease that I never did before. The moral of this is that taking some time out of my day and revisiting these levels reinforced the fact that I was still improving at the game even if my rank was faltering.
Visit the past
This last piece of advice is both fun and a little bit embarrassing. Open up Rocket League and head into your replays section. Scroll all the way to the bottom and start watching some of your old gameplay, what do you see? I don’t need to go into much detail here. Looking at my own replays I can tell how bad they’re going to be just by seeing my car choice. The point here is to recognise and realise your progression. My gameplay was absolutely terrible and it’s clear that I had no idea what I was doing, but it also showed me just how much better at the game I am now. You don’t even need to watch your oldest videos. Going back just six months is a guarantee that you will see improvements in much of your gameplay.
That’s it for this one. It was very much a dive into our own minds and a chance to identify how we look at and perceive our own progression. Don’t beat yourself up when the game isn’t going your way, think about changing your perception in Rocket League instead.
In my previous post, I talked about how to train effectively in Rocket League. Hit the link to go and check it out now.