written by Disco
Many teams have issues with making the most of their scrims. Whether they practice once a week or twice a day, they seem to not get as much from scrims as they would like to. As clickbait-like as it sounds, there is one simple idea that can help teams get more value out of their scrims regardless of how often they scrim – intentionality. Here’s how to be intentional about scrims and to start getting value out of them.
Before going into specifics, a key thing to keep in mind is that the following information is not the only way to approach scrims. However, this approach can help teams who currently struggle with scrims have more focus on their goals and their specific path to improvement.
Being intentional is the state of being deliberate or purposeful; in other words, intentionality is the idea of every action and event having purpose and applying those actions deliberately. The idea here is to have an attitude of professionalism, a specific purpose for scrims, and a specific area of improvement to focus on. By having these things, a team can be in the correct mindset to get value out of scrims.
The first part of being intentional regarding scrims is to treat them professionally. Teams whose members show up late, don’t practice outside of scrims, and don’t take things seriously will not improve as fast as teams who don’t have these issues. Setting the tone of professionalism in scrims will help players treat their performance in the scrim as a job, allowing them to be focused on their gameplay and on what they are doing.
Next, teams tend to either focus on winning over learning in scrims or to have the broad goal of “improvement” without specificity. Both of these approaches are not optimal, as they do not encourage actively seeking out ways to improve. To counter this, designate scrims as either “performance” or “learning” scrims. “Performance” scrims have one purpose: to see where a team is currently at in terms of their gameplay. “Learning” scrims, on the other hand, are not concerned about winning or losing. Rather, they have the goal of focusing on a particular issue with the team and practicing the correct way to approach that issue. Note that the focus needs to be specific enough for teams to actively practice it while being broad enough for teams to have opportunities to practice it.
So what should teams be intentional about improving? The above diagram shows four areas of improvement for Overwatch teams: mechanics, fundamentals, strategies/set plays, and counter strategies. These four areas cover the majority of topics that teams can work on to improve their gameplay. While mechanics is primarily practiced and focused on outside of scrims, every single area can be practiced and improved on in scrims. Note that going from bottom to top is heavily advised; counter-stratting is almost worthless without understanding how to plan fights or having the mechanical ability to follow up on that plan.
Once the focus of the scrim is set, it’s now on the players to focus on improving that aspect of their gameplay. If reviewing gameplay is a part of team practice, this makes review much easier – simply look at the particular focus of the scrim to see how to further improve that aspect of play. That same review can then be used to either refine the focus or to create a new focus for the next scrim.
Intentionality is a valuable tool that few teams utilize and make the most of. By being intentional about scrims, teams can focus on specific areas of growth and can rapidly improve their performance. The point of being intentional is to change both the structure and mindset regarding scrims. By changing the structure of scrims, teams have a clear and consistent plan for dealing with scrims. And by changing the mindset of scrims, teams can go into scrims focusing on the correct things. These two things in concert can help teams start getting genuine value out of scrims.