How Sports Psychology is beating Tilting
We’ve all been there. I doesn’t matter what the game or console is.
You’re losing, no, more than that, you’re inexplicably, unbelievably losing. It should be business as usual right now, coasting along while thinking about what you’re going to have for dinner. But instead you’re being simultaneously pounded like old beef by some Ukrainian 12 year old and mocked voraciously in a language you don’t understand. Your insides are aflame with fury, the controller feels like it’s the wrong size, or maybe it’s your hands. You drag one of them to your face to wipe away tears of frustration only to replace it with palm sweat. The temptation to tombstone your PC/Console/Parents/Partner/Pets is building inside you like a heartburn tornado. Now comes the worst part: you adjust what you’re doing in a desperate attempt to regain ground, and you start getting smashed even harder than before.
Inevitably, your inner cup of rage runneth over and you grievously assault your controller/desk/self and storm away from the game. If you’re streaming you know you’ll end up on a rage compilation video somewhere, this understandably makes you even angrier. Is your misery being exploited? Is that against your human rights?
Rage Quitting is a pretty transparent term, but Tilting may be new to some of the uninitiated.
Urban Dictionary defines Tilting as both: When you make a mistake and then become so frustrated that you continue to make more mistakes.
And, perhaps more aptly: When your so pissed off from losing multiple amount of games that you play worse and worse till your so pissed you begin leaning over your keyboard screaming over every little mistake you make and complaining about gaming imbalances
Everyone’s been there, It’s a part of competing in anything and unfortunately causes many to go into a downward spiral as soon as they make a couple of small mistakes, resulting in any premeditated planning to fly out of the window and accusations of cheating to fly everywhere.
As natural a response as it may be, Tilting is simply not an option when it comes to professional esports. There are rehearsed strategies in place that need to be followed, there’s decorum to maintain, and possibly even teammates relying on you to keep your cool and support them under pressure.
That’s where traditional sports psychology is coming in - case in point is Astralis’ hiring of Lars Robl as their team psychologist. Formerly an officer in the Danish Special Operation Forces for 20 years before qualifying as a psychologist and being taken on by RFRSH, the group behind Astralis.
Under Robl’s guidance, the team developed a three-step strategy for overcoming Tilt, and re-centering yourself when you feel yourself slipping into anger. The steps are as follows:
Register the feeling of being tilted & accept it.
Release it, recognize that you’re deviating from the gameplan.
Refocus and get back to the game at hand.
That’s it. Boom. Tilt vanquished. It’s working for Astralis at least, they’ve been slaying lately. This was, of course, a problem that was inevitably going to be handled. With the ongoing professionalisation of esports teams and the hiring of experts who have worked with traditional sportspeople, issues such as losing your temper at.. well.. losing, were destined to be cleaned up quickly.