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Tips to Play your Best on LAN

Note: With RyuLAN 2013 only a few days away, I wanted to push this back to the top to help those attending!

I remember many more years ago than I care to admit, attending my first LAN event. I was way more nervous than I should have been, and also very reserved, almost shy. For those of you that know me or have played with me on LAN, you know that's generally not me. Since that time I've attended countless events, and yes, even hosted some. Despite not winning every event, I've always performed well  for my team. 

Here are some of the things I've learned and suggestions I'd make so you can perform your best at the next LAN event you attend: 

The "usual" LAN set up, tabletop style. Sitting really close to the monitor though...

The "usual" LAN set up, tabletop style. Sitting really close to the monitor though...

  1. RELAX. You're getting ready to play a video game with a bunch of friends for the chance to win money and prizes. Life is good!! Don't pysch yourself out or get overly anxious. It WILL impact your play. Take some deep breaths, stretch, go walk around a bit, get some fresh air-- do what helps you relax.
  2. SLEEP! Preferably not DURING the event, but rather the night prior. If you're serious about playing your best, you might have to skip the evening activities the night before the event starts. But if you get a good night's rest you'll be awake, alert, and ready to frag. A good night's sleep can help your concentration and just as importantly, your reaction time. Both contribute to landing better shots, faster. And that adds up to winning.
  3. DON'T OVERDO IT ON THE ENERGY DRINKS!  I've seen this at every single LAN I've attended. Someone comes in with 3 cans of their favorite energy drink, pounds them all, and then proceeds to play like crap because they're hopped up and jittery. If you don't normally drink that much caffeine then don't do it the day of your matches! Try to stick to your normal intake. Have a cup of coffee or a single can (over longer than a 15 second period of time) of your preferred energy drink. But don't go overboard, as more here is definitely NOT better. 
  4. REVIEW THE GAME PLAN - Spend some of the downtime reviewing the strats you'll be running in as much detail as you possibly can with your team. Planning is great, but if the plans aren't communicated or well understood, they're as good as not planning at all. So make your plans and brief on them with your teammates before you get in to the match. 
  5. VISUALIZE LANDING YOUR SHOTS - This one might be more "zen" than some will care for, but there have been a number of studies that have shown the value and benefits of positive visualization. Close your eyes, take some deep breaths, and picture every detail you can in game, landing your shots. The peeks, the angles, the flashes, etc. Check out this great article for more info on visualization techniques 
  6. STICK WITH YOUR SET UP - If you usually play when wearing a short sleeved shirt, wear a short sleeved shirt. If you play leaning over your keyboard, then lean over your keyboard. Don't change your style of play because people are watching, or you're going to lose the consistency you've practiced to achieve for so long. Interestingly enough, most times I've seen this are when a LAN center is cool, some players throw on a sweatshirt. 
  7. MIRROR THE LAN SET UP AT HOME - This is one thing I did a long time ago. I had a computer desk that I loved, and it had the slide out keyboard/mouse drawer. My sensitivity at the time was really high, so my mousepad was small and everything fit perfectly. But then I started going to LANs and everything was essentially "tabletop", and very uncomfortable. So now I have a table, just like I would on LAN, and about the same height. 
  8. SOUND - A good, closed headset can be invaluable on LAN. LANs tend to be pretty noisy and hearing footsteps can be a challenge. A lot of the more recent majors have shown the players using sound cancelling headphones over the top of in-ear buds. The ear buds may be worth checking out if you plan to attend these kinds of events.
  9. USE THE MONITORS  - Because of what's described above for the sound levels at LANs, know how to use your teammates monitors to "ghost" or deathcam, spot enemies, verify what they're watching so you can watch something else, etc. The best way I've found to do this in the past was to have a buddy bring over his PC, and then play online. You'll find you start doing it naturally (and often times, too much). 

-Ryu

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