What's going on Dragon Ballerz?! I'm back with some more advice on how to become a better player in the DBSCG! This time I'm going to cover the idea of setting goals for yourself, or even your testing group, in regards to this game that we all love. This may sound simple on the surface, but if you simply say that your goal is to win the 2019 National tournament with no proper preparation or milestone markers, odds are that it won't pan out for you. In this article, I'm going to outline the systematic ways that you can set and achieve goals!
SMART Goal setting is a method that gives you clear outlines as to how you can make attainable goals and then set them up for success. SMART stands for:
Let's breakdown this methodology and apply it directly to the DBSCG. Our given situation, which many of you may relate to, is that we are dealing with a player who is somewhere between casual and competitive, but wants to improve his game. The player in question has yet to win a locals. By using SMART Goals, I'm going to outline a plan for this player to reach this overarching goal.
Is the Goal Specific?
In order for a goal to be specific, it must be well defined and clear. Something like "getting better at the game" would be too unspecific and unclear as there are many specific facets of the game in which we can all improve. For this player, we need to set a more specific goal that will help them meet that overarching goal. To start with a specific goal, I would advise that this player increase his win-to-loss ratio. To stay true to our specific goals, it really helps to write them down. This allows us to keep a clear picture of the goal if it ever gets fuzzy in our minds or if we ever get side tracked. It also helps you remain accountable to yourself so that its harder to slack on your goal. If you read that goal everyday, let's say on your phone's wallpaper, you're going to be less likely to slack in pursuing it. We can always revisit the exact goal if we ever need to. I personally do this and it helps keep my life organized, helps me get my work done, and helps me meet my goals.
Is the Goal Measurable?
If you can't record your progress toward reaching your goal, the path to that goal is not going to be clear or direct. In regards to the goal of increasing a win-to-loss ratio, this is easily measurable with math! You can record your number of wins and losses for a month's worth of locals to get a baseline win-to-loss ratio. Let's say we do this, and we find that in a month, this player has won 20 games and lost 50. The win-to-loss ratio here is 20:50. In other words, this player wins 40% of their games on average, meaning they lose more often than they win. Through measurement, we defined a clear barrier that is preventing this player from their overarching goal of winning a locals.
Is the Goal Attainable?
Within your means, resources, and time, can you reach this goal? For example, if you can not afford to buy more competitive cards or spare time to go play at locals, a DBSCG-related goal would not be attainable. On the flip side, is this goal worth your resources and time? This is an important question to ask yourself, because in gaming especially, becoming a better player doesn't happen over night; it takes practice, dedication, and humility. You won't be the best right out of the gate, but you can become better if you put the time in! If you're prepared to invest into your goal, you'll be able to make great strives in achieving it!
Is the Goal Realistic?
This should really be at the beginning of the whole process, but SMART sounds a lot better than RSMAT, so here we are! You need to be honest with yourself in setting goals; you have to start with something that isn't too far fetched. In the case of our subject player, we established that before they can set the goal of winning a locals, they have to set a smaller, more attainable, and more realistic goal. The fact that we've determined this goal to be specific, measurable, and attainable tells us that it is also something we can realistically reach! That's another reason we have to scale back from winning Nationals or even just a locals; if you're win-to-loss ratio is only 40%, those goals are not realistic just yet.
Is the Goal Time-Based?
Now that we've established the other pillars of our SMART goal, we can set up a schedule in order to track our progress. Since we got our win-to-loss ratio baseline via recording a month of tracking wins and losses, that should tell you what our scheduling should entail. We can track the subject player's wins and losses monthly and test for improvement. To do this, we take the monthly wins and divide that number by the number of monthly losses. If the percentage increases month to month, it means the subject player is improving! Now, just because we have a goal for this player and record data every month, our subject player isn't going to magically improve at the game. This brings us to our next point:
What Can You Do to Actively Get Better?
Play to learn, not to win. If you're win-to-loss ratio is 40% or less, odds are that you don't quite know how to play to win most efficiently yet, so the focus should really be on playing to learn. Establish a game with a friend or that person at locals who constantly wins. Tell them that you want to play a game in which you can ask them questions about plays, or maybe even play with an open hand so that they can get a grasp of the decisions you tend to make. Or, have them over your shoulder debating plays with you while you play against someone else. Its really important that you absorb this information; don't let it fly in one ear and fly out the other. If you're afraid this will happen, take notes so that you can always refer back to them!
If this all sounds overly technical or overwhelming to you, let me tell you some good news; you're here, so you're doing something right. There are some great content creators in this game, and absorbing their content, taking it seriously, and taking notes on it can really make a world of difference in your play. I like to think of my self as a content creator in this category, so if there's ever anything specific you want me to cover or discuss, let me know!
That's going to bring this article to an end everyone. Use the SMART Goal method to set a goal that you can stick to, manage, and measure, so that you can see the DBS gains you want to see! I'd also love for anyone that uses this information to let me know in a few months time how it went for them! If you found this article helpful you can find more at Patreon.com/CrossWorldTCG