No matches

Photo: StarLadder

Ability is what you’re capable of doing. Motivation determines what you do. Attitude determines how well you do it.” – Lou Holtz.

This is the story of Na’Vi. Ability? Some of the best – but how about motivation and more importantly attitude?

Those who have followed Natus Vincere over the last two years are often left wondering how a squad with the young firepower of Aleksandr “s1mple” Kostyliev, Denis “electronic” Sharipov, and Egor “flamie” Vasilyev coupled with the veteran experience of Ioann “Edward” Sukhariev and Danylo “Zeus” Teslenko could falter so many times.

Photo: StarLadder

It’s not always so hard to figure out why as we’ve been given a look inside when players let their internal team struggles boil over on to social media or they say a little too much in an interview. Things haven’t been exactly peachy over the life of this roster and that’s pretty public knowledge. Often times this becomes more apparent in the body language of the players on the stage and it’s no secret that s1mple has struggled with his emotions in the past. Add this into an already documented lack of practice building up to certain events and you have a team set on underachieving.

Things could be looking up though. In an interview with HLTV following Na’Vi’s victory at StarSeries i-League Season 7, s1mple revealed that the organiation would be bringing in a dietitian and psychologist to help Andrey “B1ad3” Gorodenskiy put the team on the right track.

Now we’re trying to get a new system with B1ad3 and we’ll try to get new people into our team, a dietologist, and a psychologist as well,” s1mple said in the interview.

A team that is seemingly held back by their mentality and preparation bringing in structure, dietary help, and a sports psychologist? I feel like we’ve seen this before.

Credit: FACEIT

Yes, I’m talking about Astralis. The dominant Danes often found themselves falling short of the trophy, choking leads and opportunities for months. After a run of success, I personally had the opportunity to speak with Peter “dupreeh” Rasmussen at the ELEAGUE Atlanta Major where he shared the secret to their turnaround. It could be summed up in two words – sports psychologist.

dupreeh explained to me that this addition had helped the team learn how to approach the game, learn, exit and reflect on the game, manage stress, pressure, and more. This was only the beginning and as you probably know, Astralis hasn’t slowed down. The team still follows protocols, makes sure fitness, nutrition, and mental health are made just as important as the performance within the game as they’ve become more aware of just how much these areas intertwined.

Na’Vi currently has the best player in the world in s1mple and he’s not the lone beacon of talent in the squad. There is also no argument to be had that the team lacks in leadership, it is simply a matter of placing in the missing puzzle piece. I believe this change in approach to the game from blad3 accompanied by a more holistic approach and focus on mental strength and preparation could spell disaster for the few teams that could compete with Na’Vi in its current form.

If the players truly embrace and execute the ideas set forth by their psychologist, Astralis might want to look out and the rest of the teams will be left in the semifinals for months to come.

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