Friday, April 10, 2015

The Learning Mindset

Friday! Yes it is already here. With most Friday's you don't want to do much of anything and really today shouldn't be more different. With this week's Reader Post Roboroadkill talks about something many people always mention, but do not go into. When you are trying to improve in the way you play any game there is a period of adjustment when you are not really better at all. This discourages people from actually putting in the effort because no one really likes losing. So have a read

A lot of the time don't want to take the necessary steps to improve because in the short term it might affect their performance. In my basketball experience I've dealt with (And still sometimes dealing with) some players who will not want to change their shot because their performance in the short term will be affected. People asked me for advice on shooting all the time, and when I'd give them my two cents on how they could improve, I'd always tell them "It's going to be uncomfortable, you're going to miss a lot of shots, more than with your current shot. But if you can get rid of the microwave mindset in the long term your performance will get better" The ones that really wanted to get better, listened. The ones that didn't made the excuse that they didn't want to miss shots NOW to affect how they will shoot later.

This is very true for Starcraft players. A few months ago I got advice from masters/GM Zergs and I'd only implement the stuff that would help my improvement now, and not for the future. This hurt me a LOT. In retrospect I had it better than any Starcraft 2 player could really dream of. Lots of time on my hands to grind out games to improve my mechanics, and a bunch of high level Zerg's to help me out with game knowledge and decision making. But the lure of those darn ladder points was just to strong and look where I am now. 

You MUST remember to that working towards a future goal requires all your attention to remain in the present, but don't sacrifice your performance in the future for short term gain. Great, you went on a winning streak by roach all inning every game. You just learned how to roach all in, learn from those games if you can, but if you want to be a macro player don't roach all in, focus on macro and don't cheese because you want ladder points. 

^^ This is very important for people who want to take the step towards a learning mentality, otherwise you're just going to get mad because your ladder points are going down even though you're getting better. 

Now on to the real meat of the subject which is why you lose more when trying to learn. This is a complicated subject, and I haven't completed my research but I've made some discoveries that have been interesting. 

In basketball the game goes so fast at the higher levels that you literally can't think you must do everything on instinct. The reason being is because once you have already thought about which kind of layup you want to do the widow for doing said layup is already gone. 

However when you're training, you're always thinking about what you are doing and continue to improve it through mass repetition. The same thing applies the Starcraft 2. 

When you are in a learning mindset you're always thinking about what you're doing to correct it. When you scout something you're always constantly running things through your mind about how to stop it, when the timings hit etc. Over playing massive amounts of games with this technique things will start becoming instinct. This is in fact the reason why commentary diminishes the level of your play drastically when you're streaming. Instead of the players just reacting on instinct they find themselves having to think about what they're doing and on top of that actually SAY what they are doing. 

So when you go into a game with an analytic mindset you're going to lose more games because reactions aren't as quick, not as precise, mechanics will diminish because brain power is being used elsewhere etc. But what people don't seem to understand is that something more important is going on. I'm only 15 so I barely know anything about the brain, so I'm not going to try to dump some scientific stuff on you guys, but this is what I'm finding. If you grind out massive amounts of games while thinking about what you're doing, all this information becomes subconscious. You're absorbing massive amounts of information and you don't even know it. 

Think about Koreans in a pro gaming house. They are constantly analyzing replays with each other, watching, and playing the game. They are absorbing so much information on a daily basis that everything is being drilled into their subconscious. 

How the winning mindset works

As I mentioned earlier before with basketball and how no good player thinks about what they're doing when they're playing and are simply reacting on instinct, basically their mind is blank. This applies to Starcraft 2. Ever notice pro players sitting in their chair just kind of getting into the zone? Blanking out so to speak? Well this is because their goal is very simple: Win the game. When the goal is to win and not to improve your mind needs to be blank. Everything must be instinct. You can't think about how you micro your Zergling's just do it. Those 50 ZVZ's you played with your friend focusing on Ling Bane control will now pay off because you aren't thinking, you are just reacting and playing off instinct. 

I did an experiment where I tested how this worked. I played a whole bunch of ladder games thinking about my opponents builds, scouting information, how I was going to react etc. The learning mindset. I had around a 50% winrate against mid - top diamond players, basically my level of play. Then after doing that I switched it up and approached the game as a pro player would, the goal was to win. Immediately I starting destroying everyone. My macro and micro mechanics were crisp, I was responding to everything my opponent was doing on time and I wasn't even thinking about what I was scouting I just immediately reacted. My winrate jumped to around 70% percent immediately even in my worst match up and I was making a ton of progress on the ladder. Then I pulled the plug, started playing with the learning mindset again and my winrate starting going down. 

When implementing the learning mindset and using it to aid in the winning mindset the results can be amazing. 

This isn't 100% but my findings have been interesting to say the least, and I'm looking forward to delving into this deeper. 

Hopefully you enjoyed the read and found it helpful. Thanks for reading!

So? I think he has done a really good job of explaining even if basketball is involved. Certainly some food for thought while you are ladder this weekend.

1 comment:

  1. I tend to agree. You go with what you are comfortable with and don't really improve becasue you are so scare losing effects you