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Hitting a Slump: What does it mean and what can you do?

Serenity

Serenity

Wed 13th Aug 2014 - 11:39pm

The word slump is defined as a period of substantial failure or decline. At some stage almost every single player, professional and amateur alike, will go through a phase in which they underperform for a stretch of time in Counter-Strike: Global Offensive. This is a slump.

The first bit of good news is that this happens to the very best of them. The second bit of good news is that they can always be overcome. In this article we will be looking at defining and appreciating a slump for what it is as well as going over a few things to try and speed up the recovery time from one.

GeT_RiGhT on the wrong side of a comprehensive Team Dignitas win at Gfinity 3
 

Acknowledging and Accepting the Slump

Usually you will be able to tell for yourself if you are not at your peak and if not your teammates most certainly will. It may be before you even begin a match, a couple of rounds in, at the half switch or even once you see confirmation of a heavy loss that you realise today is not your day. However, a lot can go wrong in a single round of Counter-Strike and even more so throughout the course of a full match. Therefore it is important to remember that everyone can have a bad round or bad game, it is up to you to distinguish whether it is an isolated off period or a series of them; a slump.

Here are some of the things that become more noticeable during a slump:

Aim is off – Losing firefights that you know you shouldn’t, pre-firing is doing nothing and the one taps are nowhere to be seen. Suddenly the AK-47 is as untamed as it was the first day you played.

Bad positioning – Constantly getting shot in the back and being found out in the open at the worst possible times.

Losing your cool – Getting angry over every death or misplay and blaming your opponents, possibly falsely, for using external aid.

Kill to death ratio way under par – Sitting at the bottom of the leader board with your premade team where you would normally be leading the way at the top.

Loss after loss – In the end it’s another defeat in a terrible losing streak, with each one becoming more frustrating and painful to go through.

What Can You Do?

Unfortunately there is no single specific reason for these periods of underperformance. There are too many factors that can play a part; lack of motivation due to real life goings on, spending too much time playing every day and having exaggerated expectations can all lead to you being burnt out on the game. This means that there is no straight answer or cure; however there are a number of things that you can try in an attempt to break out of the slump and get back on track.

Here are some things to try when you know you are not at your best:

Take a break – First and foremost take a break from Counter-Strike, this is by far the most important thing to try. Do something active, go for a run, hit the gym or go hang out with your friends and family. If you can manage it a break of a few days or even a week is a good target. Your body, eyes and brain will thank you for it and you will more than likely come back fresh and on point once again.

Change game mode or game - Playing something other than Counter-Strike for a while can help ease the stress and take your mind off of things; perhaps look to a console favourite or a different genre of PC game entirely. If you truly can’t tear yourself away from the game then try something other than competitive gameplay. Put on your favourite tunes and head into some Surf, Zombie or even Deathmatch servers and simply play for fun, remember that there are a whole host of fantastic community made maps to try.

Adjust a minor setting – This is a tricky one and it is definitely up for debate. Personally I like the placebo effect that comes with physically changing something about the game, my crosshair colour or style for example. You definitely should not alter anything drastic such as heavily dropping your sensitivity but tweaking something small can make the game feel new in a good way. This one is certainly not for everyone and messing with settings that you are accustomed to can have a negative effect, so attempt with caution.

Check your surroundings – Sometimes the smallest unintentional change to the way you are sat or the position of your keyboard and mouse can make a big psychological impact and effect how comfortable you feel. There is a reason that some players struggle at LAN tournaments but are incredible online; they are simply most comfortable in their own homes with their own setups. Check and double check that everything is how you like it and feels right before you play. It may seem trivial but it’s surprising the difference a chair position or keyboard angle can make.

Try and find what works for you individually, but most importantly accept that slumps are a part of Counter-Strike and will happen to everyone. Being able to acknowledge and overcome one will help to make you more consistent as a player and help to prepare you for any future hiccups. Consistency is an incredibly valuable asset to have and slumps should not be ignored however painful they may be. In the long run you will benefit immensely from working through these rough patches and hopefully this article has given you a few things that will enable you to do so.