In competition, mental state is important. Because of that, it is often the case you have to make mental loopholes you ignore in order to get into the right mindset and be confident. For instance, a team might feel down that they have to go through the play-ins for the League of Legends World Championship. But you can convince them that you are much better off this way because you get live practice and a warm-up before the main event, so you won’t get rocked by nerves like other teams.
If you are coming in cold from the prep group, you can say to yourself, “Oh, I didn’t need to waste this energy to play, so I can come in 100 percent when the main thing starts. I also get more time to prep.”
If you’re playing a better player or team, you can use that to kill any nerves you have. The expected outcome is that you are supposed to lose, so why feel worried? Or in some cases like shaGuar, they live off of that storybook feeling and play even better so that they can run over expectations. Others break down in that kind of pressure, in which case you have to find other ways to convince them (could be head-to-head record, voodoo, the transitive property, whatever). In the end, all that matters is getting the player into the right mindset to win.
People do this in regular ladder games as well. It’s why most people think, “everyone better than me is a no-life shitter” and also think “everyone below me is shit.” For team games, it’s a bit different, but I’ve found the best way to forcefully unite a team isn’t good advice, or awards, or happiness. It’s pure sport. Listen, you may hate me or the team, but do you hate us more than you hate the guys on the other team. Don’t think about winning, think about denying those assholes MMR points. Something along those lines.
Just one of those things that happens in competitions.