Concentration is key

Being competitive in Counter-Strike Source is heavily dependent on concentration. If you can't concentrate fully on the game, you're bound to make mistakes and miss shots that you normally wouldn't.

So obviously if you want to compete and play at the highest level, you will need to remove all distractions from your play area. Most of the below are common sense but important to mention nonetheless.

Common Distractions

  • Your Desk - As you can see in the picture to your right, your gaming desk can become quite a distraction if it's a pig-sty. Don't let it get out of control, keep it tidy and make sure you're using a comfortable chair.
  • Girlfriend(s) - There's nothing quite worse than your girl nagging you about the dishes while you're in a playoff match. Girls tend to save the biggest fights for when you're most vulnerable, anticipating that you'll cave. Keep her away during match time and show her that you love right after. A girl that appreciates you despite your e-sport addiction is a keeper.
  • Family - If you still live at home, try to setup your gaming center in the basement and tell them not to interrupt you for any reason while you're in a match. Mom can tell you to clean your room another time.
  • Animals - Little rover might be cute, but during a match he can become an annoyance fast. Lock the little bugger up, or lock him out of your play area.
  • Background Noise - Background noise can throw off your game. Make sure to turn off the television, radio, or anything else that even so much as beeps(yes turn off your bloody phone). When you're in a 1v5 situation you'll be glad that your alarm clock doesn't go off randomly deafening you.
  • Lighting - Don't forget to turn down the lights. You want to stay focused solely on your monitor and not your posters of swimsuit models.

Get "In the Zone"

Concentration is one of the most important aspects of Counter-Strike. All good players know the feeling of being "In the Zone". A state where a player is performing their best due to extreme concentration and focus. In fact, everything seems to happen in slow motion for them during this time giving them twice as much time to react. The reason they go into slow-mo mode is due to the brain's way of focusing attention. Think of your brain as a camera that can take 50 pictures per second. When the brain concentrating on two things, it will take 25 pictures of thing1 and 25 pictures of thing2. When "In the Zone", your brain is using all 50 pictures per second to focus on 1 thing, so events seem to happen in slow motion as you have double as many pictures to work with.

To play your best, you want to be "In the Zone" so it's important to minimize distractions. In later articles i will talk about how to maximize your concentration and explain how there are different levels of focus which effect your concentration. I became aware of these techniques through various martial arts mentors and psychology courses. Since Counter-Strike is a mind game, I know that these techniques will improve your performance and allow you to be "In the Zone" much more often.

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