Most fans, when they think of a sport, think of the amount of intense physical training that athletes go through to prepare for peak levels of competition. However, one primary aspect of competitive play, for esports and sports alike, is the game of mentality.

When defining the mental aspect of competition, there are many different things that affect players in both esports and sports. Perhaps the most obvious aspect of mentality comes from how players are influenced by wins or losses.

A tough loss can come to any player or team, and being able to recover from one and improve is a large obstacle that many competitors face. The ability to learn and accept losses is a major key in improvement in esports, and players that overlook this aspect of competition might miss a huge opportunity for future success.

Another component in the mental game of esports is a player’s endurance during long competitive sets.

For instance, in “Super Smash Brothers,” players might face sets in grand finals that can go up to a tiring ten games in a row, a feat that tests the player’s ability to play well over a long period of time. Consistency for players can be a tough challenge, and playing a set that can last up to forty-five minutes can be exhausting.

Another example of longer sets in competitive play can be seen in games like “Rainbow Six Siege,” where tactical play can mean playing out every second of the almost four-minute timer for each round. Learning to adapt to patient gameplay, and to have the mental endurance to play a long-lasting set, can define success for many esports competitors.

Along with how a competitor handles competition with an opponent, a large aspect of the mentality in esports comes with team-orientated play. Whether a team of two or a team of six, a player’s ability to play a team-based objective game can mean winning or losing in tournament.

In “Rainbow Six Siege,” team communication is a key aspect of success, and it’s important for players to be able to perform in environments that aren’t just one-on-one interactions. Working well with a team can give an edge to a player and an edge to their mental game.

Esports, much like traditional sports, are not just defined by how well a player is doing during competition. Wins and losses can develop from much more than simply how a player might be performing.

When considering the mental aspect of competitive play in esports, spectators and players can both see how in-depth esports can be. A player’s ability to adapt to the mental game of the game they are playing can mean large-scale improvement and potentially future success.

UTK Esports is a student organization at the University of Tennessee, Knoxville, interested in competing in and promoting collegiate and professional esports. If you have questions or would like to join and compete, please reach out to us at, or follow us on Twitter @utkesports.

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