I’ve been a League of Legends coach for a few years now, and I always think it’s funny how many people come to me with an attitude of: “I want to be better, tell me how”. As though there’s one sentence that could come out of my mouth that will miraculously help them transcend, and on the spot transform, from a pleb to a Pro level player.
There’s not one single easy way to get better. You’re not Popeye and spinach won’t give you superhuman powers, not even broccoli. Faker was great before he ate that!
So What Can A Coach Do, Exactly?
A coach can help you identify what you need to work on—and how— a lot faster than you can.you can take steps to become a better player yourself by reading guides like this, or educational YouTube videos.
Most of all, you must have the determination to learn.
Switch Up Your Perspective, Switch Up Your Game
The most common misconception about League of Legends is that it’s a game divided by the individual games we play, and only that. What we often fail to realize, is that it’s also a continuous game.
We can say that it’s divided by individual games, that have a beginning and an end, but that’s a limiting interpretation.
If we zoom out and change our perspective to a bigger scale, much like an RPG game—say WoW for example—in which we have one or multiple characters that level up over time, our perspective shifts.
Now applying this analogy to League is how you can unlock a certain perspective that will help you develop as a player.
Think About Patterns
Think back to the first game of LoL that you played. There was your first favorite champ you’ve ever had. There were moments of joy, sadness, and anger, and there was your very last game. All that is your experience with the game.
This game is all about patterns.
You will never have the exact same game, even if all the champions are the same, or even the players that control the champions. Nevertheless, many games will look the same, and many phases of the game will be identical to others.
Developing Principles & Habits
In order to become a better player, you must first develop certain Principles or Habits. Think of Principles like your default computer settings. Maybe your screen’s default setting is 1920×1080, for example. It works each time, so that’s a good ‘default’ to stick to.
“Do not chase the Singed” is also a good principle, that’s a good default setting to have. The more principles you have, the less amount of conscious attention you have to invest in any given moment because you’ve already made the choice and it’s become a habit. These habits allow you to focus your conscious attention on what matters most.
You can, of course, divert from your principles and make a conscious choice. For example, when a singed is overextending and his HP is low, you should (probably) go and kill him.
How Developing Principles & Habits Help Make You A Better Gamer
Creating useful habits is fundamental to becoming a better player. Most people can only deal with 2 to 3 variables at the same time. However, a trained musician, for example, can play with 5 variables at the same time. This is why it’s so essential to train yourself and create useful habits.
You can’t just focus on all the elements of micro and macro play at the same time, but if you’ve already created a set of principles, you have a system to work within.
For example, you know that when the enemy is going for that cannon minion you have a window to attack him. You know that you should have a look at the minimap every few seconds, especially before going for an aggressive play. You know that Baron will be up soon and you need to be there.
Instead of calculating everything and focusing on every moment—which is impossible—your conscious attention can calculate the various data that you have collected subconsciously.
That perspective of continuity should follow you during your games as well when, for example, you kill an enemy, this doesn’t have to be the end of an event. Investigate if there are some other objectives that can be claimed following that kill.
Let’s Put It All Together
Let’s try to break down the Core of what you should start doing in order to develop those principles/habits:
- Set a Goal
- Identify your biggest Strength
- Identify your biggest Weakness
- Break down your goal into short-term attainable goals
- Learn from your errors
- Take notes
- Watch replays of your plays
- Practice, practice, practice
A Goal is where you aim at, and it should be important enough that will motivate you through the journey. Now, what’s your goal? Why are you playing this game?
Setting the destination is essential, “if you don’t know where you are going, any road will take you there…”
Really Focus On Your Goals—What Are They?
If you play just to enjoy yourself and you have no desire to put some effort to evolve as a player, then spot on, just carry on with what you are doing. You can’t go wrong if the goal is pure entertainment, or can you?
If you’re competitive or if pleasure’s diminishing returns kick in, and you are fed up with getting the same results, and repeating the same mistakes, look at the bigger picture.
To become a great player is not a sprint but a marathon, and you’ve probably already been running through that marathon for some time.
Winning or losing your next games is not that important, going 1-2 steps up or down the ladder is not important, not when you compare that to 200 or 1000 games.
If you set your goal to become a better player and being able to compete in a certain environment—either diamond, master, challenger or even turning pro – you need to take one step at a time.
The first step is setting a goal and committing to it, you can’t say “I want to be a champion and then go for YOLO plays all the time”. That’s like saying “I want to be a great 100-meter sprinter” and then you sit all day drinking beers!
Your strengths and weaknesses are in the sphere of your immediate comprehension, so you identify them and that brings clarity to your next task. Which is breaking down your Goal into short-term attainable goals.
It might take some time to develop the critical and analytical skills to self-reflect effectively, but the only way to do it is trying repeatedly.
“The master has failed more times than the beginner has even tried.” ― Stephen McCranie
That takes us to learning from your errors.
Failure Is Just A Lesson You Have Yet To Learn
Stop doing the things you know don’t work. Honestly, think about how many times you stayed to defend a tower either vs 2-3 enemies, or you had 10% HP left because you needed that 200 gold for the BF sword.
Or think about all the times it felt like someone is in the bush, or the jungler is coming. What did you do? You face-checked anyways, which I am glad you did because you can confirm that you should pay attention to your inner voice.
Trust yourself. When you don’t see the jungler and you “feel” you will get ganged, play it safe, it’s as simple as that. When the results are bad, use them. What did you do wrong, not your teammates, you have almost no control over them.
They are irrelevant, they might as well be bots.
Focus on getting better, for yourself.
What could YOU have done better to increase the chances of winning the game?
When the results are good, don’t get complacent and cocky. Looking back at my loses, the majority of them were due to cockiness, a vile cycle of extremely risky plays that draws the whole team into quicksand. Don’t start that cycle, and when someone else from your team stops it, break the chain.
If your teammates are dying one by one, when the times comes, you can either go solo and die and continue into that flow of the game, or you can withdraw.
You might break the chain of throws for good, at least for that 1 game. That’s one of the reasons why setting a goal is so important. If your priority is to become a better player and not to merely entertain yourself, then you should resist those common urges. The more you practice that, the more resilient you will become.
Take Notes To Stay Ahead
Take notes! Did you take notes when you studied at school or university? Take notes of your goals, of your mistakes, of everything you consider important. I know that for some that might seem tiresome, so ask yourself, what do you value more: the comfort of laziness or the rewards of trying? Do you value putting some effort into achieving your Goals?
Watch Replays Of Your Games
Watch replays of yourself, it really helps. A Coach can recognize a wider range of variables that would be useful to pay attention to, but anyone can take some benefits from watching their games and being critical of themselves. Never fall into the trap of blaming your team. As I said before: “What could YOU have done better to increase the chances of winning the game?”
That should be your primary concern when watching your replays.
Being Your Own Coach Means Persevering
Lastly, practice, be cohesive. Remember, your short-term goals should be in line with your long-term goals. Be consistent as you work towards being a better player.
Finally, I would suggest that you can either set 1 account—or if you only have 1 account—then set your solo queue on tryhard mode.
When you play in that account, or in solo q, you try hard, then when you feel drained but still want to play League of Legends, just switch accounts or go for a normal or flex.
You are in control and your actions will determine the outcome either whether like it or not.
As a Coach, I often see that one of my primary roles is to help students be consistent and help with their mindset.
Micro, macro, mechanics, etc, are only important if your mindset is in the right place.
Want more tips and tricks? Check out the other League of Legends articles.