Slumps

Slumps happen.  To everyone.  Well now that we have that out of the way, let’s work on what you can do about it J.  A slump is a time when you don’t seem to be performing at the same level that you expect yourself to, or maybe you aren’t getting the results you feel you deserve in tournament.  Often times a player will focus on one factor to blame for a slump, and this focus can blind them to a real solution.  Even thinking you are in a slump can, oddly enough, be the source of the slump itself or at least keep it going. So let’s see what can be done about different types of slumps!
All slumps look the same from the outside, a player is down on themselves about not playing as well as they’d like.  It can be that they aren’t placing as highly as they once did at a tournament, they aren’t beating the players they once did, or maybe they just physically and mentally feel less able to play the game than they once did.

In the first case of not placing as highly in tournament, keep in mind what I mentioned in ‘In Control‘, tournaments are a crazy place where a lot of things can go wrong for you.  All of the blame cannot be on you, but that doesn’t mean you are blameless.  Focus on what you control, practicing playing the game while also identifying problem matchups that you may run into often at this tournament and find a solution for them.  Don’t become too self-critical, make manageable goals towards self-improvement and keep going forward!  Create a positive mindset, this slump you’re in is just an unlucky streak and odds are that it’s about to end.

If you aren’t beating the players you once did, understand that you aren’t the only player that’s looking to improve.  Ask them for some advice, talk to other players who play your character or who play with your opponent a lot and take some notes.  Don’t rely on the hope that you just won’t encounter them in tournament, make a plan to beat them and create confidence for the situation.  The feeling of having planned to play a certain player or character will HELP you play your best and defeat them.  A lot of these games are mental, so do yourself a favor and prepare mentally.

If you are in the unfortunate place of feeling physically and mentally less apt at the game, you need to take a look inside.  Often this type of slump comes from the things that cause other slumps and really goes to town on your confidence, making you feel weak and unfocused.  Firstly you need to spend time practicing the game in training mode to get used to the way the game works, start with the basics and slowly work up.  Build confidence in your hands one step at a time.  Next you need to get some confidence in your mental game; I’d recommend playing with some different players of all different skill levels to reset your idea of your game.  Sometimes it’s best to play some players of a lower skill level to build some confidence too; it really works for some players.  Talk to yourself about how everyone feel this way sometimes and that soon enough you’ll be feeling better, just like if you were having a bad day. It can even help you if you take a small vacation from the game or hold off on playing your main(s) for a bit, the time away can give you a new perspective on the game and even help you develop new strategies.  But whatever you do, know that you are more than capable of playing the game at a high level and if you put time into it you will reap the rewards.

Slumps are only a portion physical and the vast majority is mental.  Create a plan for practicing the physical aspects of the game, and work on your internal dialogue, especially what you say about yourself.  Don’t talk shit about yourself, talk to yourself like you would to a friend or teammate.  “You can do this.”  “He just got lucky.”  “Let’s go practice that matchup.”  “We’ll get them next time!”  And you will.