Overcoming Ranked Anxiety (Short Guide)
"Just play ranked" is advice which almost always demonstrates a misunderstanding of anxiety by the individual saying it. Hopefully this guide can give you a practical approach to overcoming what is largely an underrated and misunderstood phenomenon.
I recently have found myself encountering the problem of ranked anxiety more and more, both seeing it in others as well as needing to re-address it within myself. So while I have considered making a longer guide or video on the subject sometime in the far future, I want to go over two techniques, one to start and the other for maintenance, for those who are dealing with it now.
I believe there are two stages to ranked anxiety. The first is approaching ranked itself as a mode you don’t play often. The second is an increase in anxiety as both your rank and a correlated fear of losing that rank, go up.
To overcome the first I recommend looking at it as a form of acclimation. The basic idea is to move from what is comfortable (casual) and move towards that which is uncomfortable (ranked) until it becomes comfortable. Something like this:
3 Casual, 1 Ranked, 2 Casual, 1 Ranked, 1 Casual, 1 Ranked
To keep track of your progress I recommend writing down your plan in a text document (I prefer notepad++) then recording your games as you go using a 1 or 0 to denote a win or loss respectively. A day of Faeria might look like this:
Depending on the time you plan to spend you may play those 9 games in a day and restart the process the next day until your are comfortable with ranked.
Maybe you won’t reach the end, in which case I recommend planning fewer games and going through the entire plan. This helps you stay honest with yourself, a key to overcoming mental challenges.
If you have more time to play than just 9 games, you could finish the rest of your time playing how you normally would, casual, solo or pandora maybe. If you’re eager to get over your anxiety and move up the ladder, you could continue the pattern in the opposite direction: 1 Casual, 2 Ranked, 1 Casual, 3 Ranked. Eventually you won’t even feel like playing the 1 casual game and you’ll know you’re done. At least that’s what happened to me.
To deal with the second form of ranked anxiety I use a similar concept as for the first: plan your games. Decide beforehand how many ranked games you will play, then play them. Again, write down the plan and record your progress. When you’re done, feel free to move on to something else. If you felt you made the plan incorrectly, try to finish it, then adjust for next time. Constantly planning 10 games but only playing 2 will eventually loop back into avoiding ranked altogether. If you plan 10 and only play 2, plan 5 next time. If you can’t do 5, plan 3. Try to make your plans as accurate as possible so you know going in that you can trust yourself to finish the plan.
Hopefully these two techniques will be as useful to you as they have been to me and to others I have suggested them to. An added bonus of planning and recording your progress is you can later go back and remember good days you may have forgotten otherwise. Intended as inspiration, here is my record of the the last day of my first climb to God Rank, which I never would have experienced if I had kept playing casual.
Reach God Rank-100111 (GOD RANK!!!)