League of Legends, though the most popular game in the world, is arguably one of the most difficult games to learn. As a MOBA, there are a myriad of skills to hone and improve, as well as various factors to keep track of in game. However, just like any physical sport, there are specific methods to gradually improve your skills.
Preparing your mind for improvement
Learning any skill is easier when your mind is focused. With that in mind, you want to make sure that you’re under the right mindset before you start playing a game of League of Legends. Here are a few ways to get your mind focused:
- Reduce any potential distractions that will take your focus away from the game, such as your phone’s notifications or unrelated YouTube videos.
- Take a few deep breaths before you begin each game. League of Legends can be a very stressful and emotional game, so it helps to be as calm and collected as possible right from the beginning. Here’s an example of a ,deep breathing exercise from WebMD.
- Knowing that League of Legends is a team game, there will be times where the state of the game goes out of your control. Regardless of what happens, create a mental contract on your own that you’ll still focus on improving on skills that you do have control over. At the end of the day, there’s no reason to dwell on factors that are out of your control, even less so taking it out on teammates.
Now that you’re mentally ready to improve, what are some mechanical ways to get better at the game? Here are a few key methods, which will seem quite similar to improving at real sports.
Performing League of Legends Drills
In sports like soccer or tennis, one way to improve is to perform drills by practicing very specific movements. Since playing League of Legends also consists of many specific movements and commands, performing drills within the game will also be useful. Below are a few drills you can perform at the beginning of each of your practice sessions:
- Start a training tool game with any champion you want to practice last-hitting with.
- Get into a game and avoid buying any items. Head to whichever lane your champion belongs to and attempt to only last hit minions for 10 minutes.
- At the 10 minute mark, note down your CS (Creep Score).
- Repeat this drill every day that you practice and continue noting down your CS counts to see gradual improvements.
- Next level: add an enemy AI into your practice tool game and try to get the same or better CS score as you did without the AI.
- Start a training tool game with any champion you want to practice in the jungle.
- Get into a game and buy the usual items for jungling.
- Try to kill all jungle monsters on your side of the jungle in the fastest possible time.
- Once you’ve completed it, note down the time.
- Repeat this drill every day that you practice and note down the time to see gradual improvement.
,LoL Dodge Game: this is a browser game that replicates the movement and ability commands in League of Legends. It includes minigames of dodging skillshots as well as hitting skillshots. It also includes a final score at the end of every round that measures your performance, so you can note down your best score each practice to notice any improvements.
VODS stand for Video on Demand, which is a way to access videos from some form of storage facility. In the case of League of Legends and other esports, VODS are replays of a game someone has played. Watching both your VODS and VODS of skilled players are crucial ways to improve at the game. The in-game client allows you to download and watch VODS of both your own and other players’ games:
The key reason why watching your VODS leads to improvement is due to the amount of information you can process while you’re playing in a game. Because League of Legends has so many factors and variables to keep track of while you’re in a game, it is incredibly easy to lose track of the skill you want to improve on. As an example, if you wanted to improve on CSing, perhaps it might be much harder when the opposing champions are aggressive and zone you away from minions. Regardless of how much distraction you perceive during the game, watching VODS will always be useful because it provides a way to watch your own gameplay without any of the distractions you would experience in game.
One very useful way to improve during a VOD is to decide whether a play or habit you had in game was useful or detrimental to the outcome of the game. If it was useful, then make a mental note to replicate that play in the future. If the outcome was detrimental, then make a mental note to make alternative decisions next time.
One other way of watching VODS alongside your own is to watch VODS of skilled players. This might include professional players in the esports scene like LCS or LCK, or streamers who specialize in the champion you like to play. The reason why watching professionals play is useful is because it gives you a playstyle to replicate on your own. If the professional reached Challenger rank by playing that champion, then replicating those plays on your own will naturally lead to your own improvement as well.
One systematic way you can watch professional VODS is to pause before every play and ask yourself what you would do in that scenario. Come up with a theory of how you would play the event out, then play the VOD to observe what the professional does. If they did the same thing you would do, then continue doing that in your own games. If they do something different to what you would do, then ask yourself why they responded differently, come up with a theory, and try to test that theory out in your own games by replicating what they did.
While watching VODS and performing drills are beneficial, these practices can be bolstered with personal coaching. The key benefit with coaching is that it’s personally tailored towards your own journey of improvement. For example, if you want to improve on trading with the opponent, a professional coach can personally look at your previous games and give you personalized advice.
While there are many League of Legends coaching sites, Vanta Leagues provides both short and long term private coaching, as well as 8-9 weeks of team coaching, all on a youth-friendly platform. In tandem with coaching skills and mechanics, we also strive to emphasize pro-social aspects such as teamwork, emotional regulation and leadership. Click here for more information regarding our coaching services.
A Few Last Short Tips
- Stick to 2 or 3 champions at a time: each champion is unique in their abilities and their playstyle. Thus, it might be easiest to improve at the game overall by focusing on a small number of champions so you can focus on skills outside of champion mastery.
- Utilize sites that show the best builds: sites such as ,op.gg and ,u.gg provide optimal items, runes, summoner spells and skill orders for every champion in the game. By following what the site shows, it allows you to focus more on the gameplay aspect of League rather than the secondary items and builds.
- Don’t be afraid to mute the chat: League of Legends can house many players who voice their frustrations in chat in the form of blaming or insults. It can be beneficial to have a zero-tolerance policy to this and to mute the player’s chat when it happens, as doing so allows you to continue focusing on yourself as opposed to another player’s qualms. While it might be tempting to keep their chat on in hopes that they will eventually say something productive, the moment they start insulting other players is when the drawbacks of keeping the chat outweigh the benefits.
- Have fun! It can sometimes be daunting to think about how much you want/need to improve at the game. Regardless of whether you’re improving for your Vanta team or for your own Solo-Queue journey, always keep in mind that it’s still a video game! Find enjoyment in the process of improvement, and take plenty of breaks!
If you are looking for more information about League of Legends, head over to our League of Legends webpage where we dive into more specifics.
Carlson is an ongoing League of Legends coach, writer and streamer at Vanta Leagues. With a Psychology and Counselling background, he hopes to highlight the mental benefits of team video games in his writing, as well as having a healthy mindset when playing ranked games.