When playing a game, it can be hard to keep a level head. Whether you are excited because you are winning, sad because you are losing or angry at yourself or your team. It is imperative to keep calm If you do not, that win may turn into a loss and that game, you were sure you lost may have become a victory if you had calmed down. I still struggle with keeping a level head, but I have found a few ways to help keep me calm in game. These strategies may not be new or groundbreaking, but they are effective.

If the game you play has text chat disable it right away. If you are typing in chat you are no longer paying attention to the game and cannot quickly respond if an enemy appears while you are typing. You might scoff at this and say having it is important for communication. There are some things that chat can be useful for like keeping track of ability cooldown timers. But most times, especially in lower ranked games, chat is used to trash talk the other team and vent at a teammate who a player thinks is not pulling their weight. I know there have been multiple occasions where I have not played well and being told how bad you are only making it harder to improve play in the moment. With chat off, you can focus on the game because you are not distracted by what a teammate is saying, and you are not tempted to reply. This can greatly help keep your mental where you want it.

Most games have a system that still lets you communicate called pings. Pings are a set of communication tools that allow you to quickly convey meaning without typing or voicing it. In League of Legends, you first click alt, control, G, or V and a small menu will appear. You will have four options, or you can select the x in the middle to cancel the ping. If you select the top option a “incoming danger” ping will appear, to the right is a “on my way” ping, the bottom is a “assist me” ping, and the left is a “enemy missing” ping. Once the menu is open you just click the one you want, and it will appear wherever on the map. Pings can be used to say anything that needs to be said quickly. When you master the basics of pings there are smart pings, which allows for faster communication in game. Some examples for effective use of pings includes clicking the ping button and selecting an enemy will ping your allies to join the fight. You can also click the ping button and select an ally tower to signal to defend that tower or select an enemy tower if you want to attack the tower. You can use the same ping multiple times in a row if it is an emergency. There is also a general ping you can assign to just point something out on the map. Pings are a faster way to communicate most thing then typing. You should try using them if you are not already.

Voice chat is the best way to communicate with people, however it is also the hardest because what you say has more impact. Some games have voice chat, but even if your game does not have voice chat you should use a third-party program such as Discord. When and how you communicate with your team can heavily influence how both you and your teammates play. Never quit. Comebacks happen especially when you can communicate with your team. Even if you think things are doomed do not start saying how you know you are going to lose. This kind of talk is a self-fulfilling prophecy. There is a huge difference in saying “we are in a tough spot, but we can still win” and “we lost let’s just ff (forfeit)”. I cannot tell you how many times a team I was on have lost purely on players saying how we could not win and how we should quit. This type of attitude can become apart of the team culture if you are not paying attention as those attitudes fester. On the flip side, trying to raise morale and telling your team that “we can win” can help if you can phrase it right for your team. This can be as small as saying “we can still win” to specific comment about a good play a teammate has done. Voice chat is an integral part of competitive play and it can be the difference between winning or losing.

Communication is extremely important, and it greatly effects one’s mindset. The way you communicate changes the outcomes of games. These 3 ideas will help you to keep a level head in your games. Give each a try even if you have some misgiven about one or all the ideas. These are all simple things that go a long way. Communication can greatly improve your enjoyment whether through better quick communication with pings or the ability to talk to someone over voice.

About the Author: Dagan McCarthy (@DaganMccarthy)
Dagan is a livelong gamer who consults with schools looking to implement programs for students to participate in esports, clubs, and intramural programs.