Esports pro series – How to cope with loss and setbacks

Posted on September 4, 2018 - Last Updated on September 30, 2020

It’s a sad truth that when pursuing an Overwatch pro career, it is inevitable that you’ll be dealing with setbacks. This is true for any pro player, no matter the game and no matter how smooth his career has gone. In competitions of any sort really, setbacks are inevitable.


Because of this, knowing how to deal with losses and setbacks is absolutely critical. Even a world champion is going to lose some of his games, but most of the world class players already have their own strategies to deal with this. If you want to join them one day, you will need that as well.

There are different types of setbacks you will experience, and here are some strategies to deal with them:

1. Losing an important match/tournament

This is easily one of the most hurtful possibilities. Losing that all important qualifier or just barely missing the big tournament payout hurts, and not just in a financial sense. In order to get past this type of thing, you’d best look ahead instead – there’s always another tournament, always another event with an even bigger payout.

Alternatively you can focus on the good that happened at the tournament. You may have met some new players, made a friend or two or networked – but either way, people have seen you play, and that can be great down the line. Focus on the positive, even if that positive is just that you had a great sandwich for lunch that day.

2. Not being selected for a team/tournament

This one stings even more, because here someone made the conscious choice not to invite you to an event. Well, there’s nothing you can do about it. What you can do however, is make sure it won’t happen again. Instead of dwelling on the fact that you were passed over, look at why, and what you can do to not be passed on again.

Maybe you can increase your audience or improve your play-style – either way, don’t fixate on the rejection. In many cases you may even be able to ask the organisers why you were rejected – they may have helpful feedback.

3. Having a general bad day

It happens, doesn’t it? Nothing goes right, even the simplest of strategies fail and losing seems inevitable. The harder you try the worse it gets – in one word; frustrating. The best way to cope with days like this one is to take the day off. If you aren’t getting anywhere, don’t frustrate yourself, but go outside and do something else.

Come back a few hours later and try again – if nothing has changed, try the next day. Don’t take days like this as a reflection of your skill, see them much like a writer with writer’s block: as being temporary.

4. Encountering someone far more skilled than you

This can happen at just about any level – whether it’s the pro leagues or amateur tournaments. Don’t hesitate to face that person properly. Even if they are in fact better than you, that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t do your best. Focus on learning from them instead of resenting them for their skill.

If that doesn’t work because the person is unpleasant on top of being skilled, there’s always another way out: Look forward to the day THAT person meets someone more skilled than them and is put in their place. Who knows, if you improve enough, at your next match, it may well be you that does so, and wouldn’t that just be great?

Mel Avatar
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5-more-minutes gamer and aspiring esports journalist.

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