Esports psychology: 5 Good Mental Practices in CS:GO

Be present

We hear the phrase ‘be present’ so often nowadays that I begin to think that most people are just saying it without really thinking about its meaning. So, what does really ‘being present’ means? This is perhaps the simplest concept to understand and hardest task to achieve. Being present literally means to live in the exact situation at the exact time. The past cannot be changed, the future does not yet exist.

So let’s put this concept into the context of CS:GO. If you follow the idea of living in the exact situation of the exact time, you could think of CS:GO as a sequence of situations. These situations form the two-minute rounds and the two-minute rounds form the match. Now if you want to achieve a victory in each of the rounds, you have to do your best in each of the situations composing the rounds. Being present means to stay focused and alert NOW. Acknowledge your mistakes in past situations, so that you could learn from them, but do not judge yourself about them – you can’t do anything to change them now. Don’t stress about your next round, because it doesn’t exist yet.

Accept the changes

Now, in order to use your full potential in all situations, you must accept the changes during the game. As most esports, CS:GO is a very dynamic and often unpredictable game, so whenever something is no going ‘according to plan’, that’s because sometimes it is a normal part of the game. You don’t need to stress about the changes. Instead, accept them – no matter positive or negative – and make the most of them. Changes are nothing but current situations which you have to deal with during your present moment. Changes could happen in-game (deaths, mistakes, smart plays etc.)  and outside of the game (communication, distractions, etc.). When a change occurs, there are ONLY TWO options – either you adjust and overtake or choke and fail.

Set realistic and controllable goals

In sports the biggest frustration comes from failing to achieve our goals. While there could be numerous reasons for this to happen, a lot of times it is because we didn’t set our goals properly in the first place. A lot of players say that their goal is to win this round or to win this match, championship, etc. But how much of this goal is in their control? I am not saying that you should not be aiming towards being victorious, but it would make a lot more sense if you think about victory and defeat as outcomes, rather than goals. You may have heard that ‘your goals should be as much as precise and measurable as possible’, but a lot of times we don’t get the reason WHY. Why should we have precise and measurable goals? Because that’s the way to control them and adjust when we are failing or overdoing. A realistic and measurable goal in terms of CS:GO is to aim for your best performance during each round. Everyone has different definition for their best performance, but having this thought in mind would make you focused on the present moment, self-aware, consistent with your play and if by any reason you fail to achieve your goal for the specific round, you could quickly ‘reset’ and adjust to the new conditions with the same measurable goal in mind.

Be consistent

Esports are very dynamic and action-based. In such environment we get instant feedback for our performance. If we perform good – we get instant rewards. If we perform bad – we lose and often feel bad. It’s needless to say that such ‘instant-gratification’ environment affects our thoughts, emotions and behavior in a certain way. It makes a lot of players to become satisfied shortly after they achieve a short-term success. But here is the difference between professional esports player and the ordinary casual or hardcore gamer. Professional esports players are process oriented while ‘non-professional’ players are outcome oriented. Professionals understand that one victory or defeat means nothing on the long-term. That’s why they are consistent in their play, mentality and attitude no matter what. On the other hand casual or hardcore gamers often define themselves as players with their current performance, meaning that they swing back and forth between victory and defeat – feeling good and feeling bad – all the time, which reflects their thoughts, emotions and behavior and makes them more inconsistent and less aware of their actual performance.

Take responsibility

Responsibility is the core value of the truly efficient team. Responsibility is the killer of unproductive teammates, emotional outburst and chaos.

In an environment where nobody is responsible for their actions everyone has the right to complain and blame ‘outside factors’ like teammates, enemies and even random chance for their loss. And they would be right about it. Why? Because nobody took responsibility. You are free to make your own excuses and nobody has the right to challenge you. Because they don’t take responsibility too.
On the contrary, in an environment where everyone has the mindset to be responsible for their own actions and holds accountable their teammates for doing so, being productive, engaged, focused and better after each game becomes easy and builds within the culture of their team.


CS:GO, esports, esports-psychology, tips-and-tricks , ,
About George
George Atanasov is a mental performance consultant, currently working in professional esports. He has experience consulting elite athletes and esports players. If you want to improve your mental game sign up for a free initial session with him by messaging at
One Comment
  1. Great content! Super high-quality! Keep it up! 🙂

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