Hello everyone! Wow, feels good to be back! It has been a while since I wrote on the page for personal busy schedule, so I apologize for that! I was thinking about today’s topic because I wanted to write about something a bit different. My knowledge in my profession could be used perhaps in competitive Magic for good performance? Well, let’s see what we can do for it shall we?
Okay, let’s say you are going to a Magic the Gathering Grand Prix. You set you sights high and a minimum objective is to Day 2 and you really want to cash. So basicly you are going there with a competitive mindset, not just to have fun. But! I would say with a lot of personal experience, that if you enjoy and have fun doing something, you will achieve as good of a result as compared to grinding and grinding with not a single feeling of enjoyment. Yes you need to grind and be serious with those goals, but having fun and laughing for a mistake here and there won’t kill you! If you make a mistake, laugh about with your opponent. This helps you to evade a tilt during a match. I have made a ton of mistakes and sometimes when I am trying really really hard, I find myself even three turns later still thinking: “man, I really messed this game up three turns ago when I tapped my mana wrong.” If you think about the best athletes in the world, they are not afraid to fail. Heck, think about any succesfull person! Every single one of those persons have failed, a lot! It really is how you act after a fail or mistake. Fall down seven times, get back up eight? Have you heard of that? A great life quote, and it goes well with MTG also. You might not top 8, cash or Day 2 your first or even your fifth GP. If succeeding in a GP is important to you, keep at it! Just don’t give up if it is important to you. Work hard for it.
What To do?
For big tournament day tips, the best ones are: have a good nights sleep and be hydrated. Now, if you reeealy want to maximize your performance, you should keep a steady and stable sleeping pattern: etc. go to bed 11PM, get up 8AM. Doing this will keep your body feeling well rested. And if you always sleep 8 hours a night, for crying out loud, don’t go sleeping 4 or 12 hours before a GP! It will only mess up your body and you might feel drowzy and lack focus. Don’t take this to heart 100% like I said this. I have performance anxiety, before games I sometimes lose sleep and sleep only 4-6 hours, compared to my usual 8-10 hours. Usually adrenaline will compensate this lack of sleep, but I just want to emphasize the importance of steady sleeping patterns.
Another thing is to stay hydrated. There are various tips to stay hydrated but myself, I keep it fairly simple: I drink 3 big glasses of water when I wake up and before I go to bed. This way I try to minimize the dehydration we have after night of sleeping. Daytime I try to drink a glass of water between every meal and maybe a bit more. And I can’t stress enough, that water is the best way to hydrate. It is stress free for your body. Drinking Gatorade might sound nice, it tastes better, and maybe your favourite team’s atheltes drink it, but it is basicly loaded with sugar. It only differs from soda that it has some electrolytes that, yes, make your body better hydrated but sugar in these drink might cause your blood sugar levels to crash during the day of GP. Same effect will happen if you are dehydrated. Just keep a big bottle of water filled with you, and drink big gulps after every match and between games also if you have time. Try to find balance not to drink too little or too much: if you are thristy, you are way dehydrated. If you need to bathroom once every hour, you are drinking too much.
For constant energy and steady blood sugar levels, I advice eating 5-6 smallish meals with almost the same amount of energy. Avoid sugar, which makes you blood sugar levels to shoot sky high and then crash. Eat a good breakfast, lunch, two healthy snacks, dinner and if needed another snack before bed with limited carbohydrates. Also if possible, avoid eating about three hours before going to bed. It makes falling asleep a bit easier but if you are super hungry you can consume fat and protein: nuts, eggs, cottage cheese, meats etc. For breakfast I would advice oatmeal, eggs, fruit juice. Lunch salad, meat, rice, pasta or potatoe. Same really goes for dinner, just try to avoid fast food and huge amounts. Eating moderate or smallish meals will keep your metabolism going and you feeling energetic throughout the day. Good snacks are fruits, nuts, juice, eggs, protein bars. Just makes sure you eat every 3-4 hours.
Let’s Get Into Details!
Meditation is a good way to relax your mind and body between rounds throughtout the long days of GPs. Meditation might sound stupid, but it is really easy to do, you just need to learn it. It doesn’t have to be done somewhere where you are all alone or in complete silence. Easy way to do fast meditation is: Sit to a comfortable chair, but maintain a posture that is firm and where you feel at ease. You can listen to calm music if you wish (noise cancelling earphones are great!) and then just start on concentrating to your breathing. In through the nose, out through the mouth. Breath deep but don’t over over do it. Once you have focused on your breathing, try identify where it feels in your body: mouth, lungs, stomach? Can you feel your limbs, midsection, back, mind relaxing? Good. This should take 3-5 minutes, but you can do it for even longer periods of time if needed. Meditation is great way to de-stress yourself between rounds or after a tough loss.
Visualization is a very very powerful tool that many people can’t do properly. Power of one’s mind cannot be underestimated. Greatest athletes go over everything before their competitions. Now, this is impossible in MTG because there is too much random stuff going on, but you could visualize yourself playing in a win and in situation for day 2. See yourself playing it cool under preassure and winning the match! If you have seen it in your mind, achieving is much easier. You won’t be caught offguard by the situation.
Positive selftalk is a another powerful tool. Just try to focus to the things you go through during the day in your head: do feel angry, sad, is there negative conversation? Finding a simple, positive mantra is easy way to boost your selfconfidence and this way your performance. “I can do this”, “I am a good Magic player”, “Today is my day”, those are some example phrases you should go through your head every given moment during a GP day, I can guarantee you will feel a lot better with positive selftalk. Oh, and a great final tip! If you feel depressed, stressed or sad, people usually find themselves looking down. Simply just raising your head and looking a bit up gives you body a signal of hope, energy and positivity. I don’t know why, but this has been studied somewhere, but that is a another story!
I hope you enjoyed this, a bit different article, from the usual topics of the series. I would like to get feedback, if you liked this style of article. You can reach me via e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org or twitter: MythicalMagic
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See you next time!