How to Maintain Team Morale in Matchmaking
Sat 14th Apr 2018 - 11:35am
As much as we all want to believe that we can carry matchmaking teams to victory by dropping 30-bombs every game, it just isn't going to happen. Competitive Counter-Strike is a team game, so you're going to have to employ teamwork to win games and rank up. Therefore, maintaining a positive, confident, and upbeat team atmosphere is essential to all aspects of CS:GO, from grinding out rounds to steamrolling your opponents.
It's not necessarily hard to maintain team morale, nor is it uncommon knowledge. But many players lack the presence of mind to actively implement a healthy team atmosphere. So to remedy this, here are seven easy starters for making the most out of your matchmaking teams.
Spark a Conversation in Warm-Up.
Start the game off right before it even begins. You're not just warming up your hands, but you're also warming up to your teammates. Building a solid rapport early will undoubtedly help your team's mentality. After all, everyone goes into a CS game with a hint of doubt in their mind, but hearing a friendly voice right off the bat is a strong indicator that the team isn't a bunch of braindead mic-spammers. A good introduction can make or break the tone for the rest of the game and make your job as an in-game motivator that much easier.
Type Less, Speak More. And with Purpose, Too!
Even if you're not the one guy using team chat instead of a microphone, try to type as little as possible. If you type meaningless messages like "oof" and "xD" into the chat box every time something mildly interesting happens, it'll absolutely hurt the team environment. Not only does it obscure the vision of whoever is alive, but it also makes you seem disinterested in the game.
You can even do something productive to stop this habit. Instead of typing out random messages after you die (or even worse, screaming them into your microphone), use the downtime to reflect on why you died and what you could've done differently to increase your impact on the round. Doing this won't distract your teammates, and it'll even keep you focused, prevent you from tilting, and improve your gamesense.
Keep Trash-Talking Talk to a Minimum.
This one might seem like a simple one. Obviously, trash-talking your own team would instantly crush the rapport you'd worked so hard to create with your teammates. Even if you're winning, a single insult or fit of rage could easily tilt your teammates. Casual banter isn't a deal-breaker, but there is a fine line. To make sure that you don't cross it, keep your voice playful and tone light. Also, don't annoy someone if he or she is having a rough game.
Surprisingly, trash-talking the enemy team can also be detrimental to your own team's atmosphere. This goes in tangent with the previous tip. Sometimes dissing the other team can work as intended by frustrating your enemies, but more often than not, it just makes you seem disengaged with your own team. If you're suddenly in a keyboard fight with someone on the opposite team, you're focusing less on shooting and more on spitting.
Keep Things Serious.
While a lot of people may say that having a good time is key to avoiding tilt and winning more games, having too much fun can also be a problem. You don't want to turn a 7-0 lead to a 7-8 deficit by running around aimlessly. So then what's a happy medium between focus and fun? The key is to keep your team upbeat, but still determined to win. You can do this in a lot of ways. Everyone has their own personal style, but it's important to make sure that you're not coming off as nagging. Even a simple, "Nice round guys! Let's focus on this next one," will do wonders to the overall team mentality.
Break the Silence Between Rounds.
There's nothing worse than losing an anti-eco. Except the silence that follows suit. The time after a crushing loss is the most important time to regroup, reflect, and prepare for the upcoming rounds. If nobody speaks up, the cycle will continue and the other team will have an easy time building momentum and clinching rounds. So, take it upon yourself to break the silence. Cut the cheese, whatever. Call a strategy and explain your rationale. The more people engaged with the game, the better. More of you will hit your shots, your communication will improve, and you'll work more as a unit. Even if you lose again, it's better to lose with a solid plan than without one.
Be a Positive Realist!
If you lose the first half of a match 5-10, it may seem like all is lost. But, if you win the pistol and subsequent eco-rounds, you could easily close the gap and make it a close game. This positive realism is essential to keeping your team in the game, because without realism or optimism, all you have is pessimism. And with a team full of pessimists, *there's no point in even trying. Ugh!* See what I mean? So, it's imperative that you effectively communicate the real situation of the game and articulate a plan to improve the situation.
Wondering how? Start small: call a pistol round strat or reassure your team at the half. Heck, you can even ditch the realism! Even if you're down 15-0, keep your chin up, because you never know. If you stay optimistic, rounds might start going your way. Think about it. Why else would professionals like Astralis have a sports psychologist to specifically work on this positive realism if it doesn't work? Case in point: it does. Peter "dupreeh" Rothmann definitely thinks so:
"It's funny when people think it doesn't make a difference having a sports psychologist."
~Peter "dupreeh" Rothmann to theScore
But, even if things still don't work out like they did for Astralis at the 2017 ELEAGUE Atlanta Major, at least you stayed positive and didn't throw yourself into a bad mood in the process.
Genuinely Be Nice!
Everyone likes some who is kind and friendly. Almost everybody will listen and cooperate more with people who are effectively nice. But, doing so is more than just saying "nice try" after every round. That routine gets old and ineffective very quickly. Rather, you should genuinely try to make a connection with your teammates with quality banter. Just kidding, that's Thorin's jab! Instead, what you should do is give credit where credit is due. Teammate get a good trade frag? Tell 'em! Good pick in mid? Tell 'em! Sick flick? Tell 'em!
You can even take advice straight from the pros. At CS Summit 2, caster James Bardolph commented that Timothy "autimatic" Ta of Cloud9 always seemed to have something genuinely positive to say. Here's an example of how autimatic kept the hearts of Cloud9 in the major with a genuine remark.
Image credit: @KN0NKER
"After we lost the first map, we were a little bit sad but when we were walking back to the stage I remember telling my teammates that this was going to be a great story. We went from 0-2 to the finals and we are about to go from 0-1 to win the final. Everyone stayed really confident, even on Inferno when we were losing clutches."
~Timothy "autimatic" Ta to DBLTAP
Undoubtedly, autimatic's naturally positive attitude played a hefty role in Cloud9's victory at the ELEAGUE Boston Major. Remember, everyone has a different personality, so feel free to discover your own techniques just as autmatic has!
If All Else Fails...
Your teammates are boosting each other in spawn, there's one guy that just will not stop typing "LMFAO" in chat, and the only comm you've heard or seen all game is someone typing "mics?" into team chat. You're completely done trying to be a good teammate, after countless rounds of doing your best. That's fine; it's just the nature of CS:GO matchmaking. But, before you start throwing a hissy fit, just try to buckle down and focus on positives. You might even drop a sick 30-bomb, even though you still lost. After all, there is absolutely nothing that you could've done more. Your team is just that bad...