Our Top CSGO Tips for Mentally Improving Your Gameplay

Toby Marshall
20 January 2022
Our Top Tips for Mentally Improving Your CS:GO Gameplay

When you start going into it a little bit deeper, you will find that there aren’t many tools to help you develop a proper CSGO mindset, and top tips for helping to improve in this area. Yes, there are retake maps and aim maps – and numerous ways to improve your actual mechanical skill set, but the only way you can actually improve your mental game skills is simply by playing the game.

Generally, our brains haven’t been conditioned to play video games whilst using critical thinking. Most people are taught that games are purely for fun – with no need for real thought or critical analysis required. That’s why, in this article, we are looking to delve deeper with some top tips into the idea of your mindset as you play CSGO, to help you to overcome the biggest hurdle you will face when playing the game – yourself.

Take Your Ego Out of the Game

One of the things that will hold most players back is, quite simply, their ego. Your ego will prevent you from fully understanding your own mistakes – which will end up leading to some serious frustration. Say, for example, there is a college student who has a bunch of friends that all play Counter-Strike: Global Offensive. This player happens to be a better player than his friendship group  – and he is generally referred to as the ‘good’ CSGO player in their group. This feeds the player’s ego even more and he becomes overconfident when heading over to a ranked match… and proceeds to be cocky, arrogant and gets annihilated by the opponents that are even better than they are.

They might then start attributing these defeats to the other playing ‘getting lucky’ or simply blaming others or the game for what happened to them. They don’t even then start to understand the real reason they died – because they are simply the best player in their group.

This player has then developed a mindset that is more based on winning as opposed to learning. It may also lead to them feeling that they need to win or else they will lose their title of the ‘good’ one. This can be hugely frustrating. Lots of players even go so far as to link their in-game skills to their self-belief and self-worth. If they aren’t good at the game, what are they actually any good at? It is very easy to fall into this trap – and many end up falling into this trap.

Then compare this type of mentality to the one you have when you first install the game. This is when you know nothing about the game and it’s all about learning. You want to learn how to improve your aim. You are desperate to learn the most optimal positions. You want to improve your movement etc… and when you die, you analyse what you did wrong and how you can improve. You don’t attribute it simply to outside extenuating circumstances.

If you find yourself becoming a victim of the ego when playing CSGO, one of our top tips is to simply think back to the mindset of the player that doesn’t understand what is happening  – and start to understand what’s going on. It doesn’t matter how much experience you have, there will always be areas that need improvement. When you read it – it seems obvious – but you need to question how you can improve every time you die and ask yourself really why it happened.

Understand Player Habits

You need to ask questions and start questioning what your opponents are doing. Firstly, take one round and set it apart from the others. Ask yourself where your opponents went that round and where they died – and think about where your teammates died.

One basic example of this is down Banana CT side of Inferno. If they didn’t Molotov car, you might take a quick look down Banana, prefire and get a kill… but what does this mean and what can we learn from this?

Firstly, we would see their reaction to their teammate being killed. Does this lead to them slowing down their push? (Many newer players often halt their approach and hesitate when their teammate dies). Or do they hold car in case you re-peek? Or do they keep on rushing in? If you find out that they halt their approach, what can you do with this knowledge?

CSGO Top Tips – Show Other Players Respect

One of the biggest and most basic mistakes in CSGO is not giving your opponents any respect, and is certainly one of our top tips. If we go back to our hypothetical scenario, it would really be a disrespect to your opponent to re-peek down Banana – and this could get you killed. This move would mean that you wouldn’t be respecting your opponents that your opponent might hold the angle.

At the start of a game, you should always respect that your opposition will kill you if you attempt to make a play. However, respect doesn’t mean you have to be scared of your opponents. It simply means you need to play as optimally as possible until you get more information to justify the decision you make. In a way, it’s like your opponent being innocent until proven guilty. You need to respect them as being a good opponent until they actually show weakness – or give you something you can exploit in later rounds. Not respecting your opponent is just as bad as giving them free opportunities.

So, going back to our earlier hypothetical situation. Instead of re-peeking, maybe, instead, you could put a smoke down banana. This shows respect to the opponent and also allows you to look down from car again to see if they won’t molly it again. 

So, if they go down the Banana again and you can get a frag or two before you retreat. This means that they are not adapting to your actions, which is a weakness which is a habit – and one you can exploit.

Remember, if you have a strategy that works, there’s no need to change it. Whenever you play, you can start asking questions – what have they done to counter what you did? What can you do to keep control of the scenario? You can then go back to playing optimal positions until you get another opportunity. 

This scenario is pretty basic. However, you can expand on it by throwing counter Molotovs etc. However, the principles are the same. You need to carefully take into account everything your opponent is doing and try to get a psychological edge over them.

Create Opportunities

The last of our top tips is that you need to remember that an opportunity can’t be made by forcing fights in CSGO – you have to create your own opportunities. You can do this by using a well-timed utility to catch your opposition players off guard – or by countering whatever your opponent is doing.

You need to make the game as easy as possible to frag and play. You need to increase your odds as much as possible by using any means possible. Don’t let the extra flash you have in your inventory sit there gathering dust!

You also need to remember to always be prepared for the type of counter-play your opponent might come up with as well. This can be done by asking more questions – such as ‘ how did they kill me? What did they do?’ or ‘how have they gained control of the game?’

You should also think of it as a type of conversation – you respond to their actions… what will your response be and what will their response be to that etc?

An in-game leader should make sure that they pay attention to the whole team – and what happens in each round. Information should flow freely within each team – and good players should always be thinking of how to create new opportunities. They should also get to that point where they force their opposition to start making mistakes – as the higher up you go, the less likely it is that the player will make unforced mistakes.

Hopefully, these points have been helpful – and will help you to improve your game – mentally as well as skilfully. CSGO is a game of skill and critical thinking – and to get to the top, you have to master both elements.

Author Toby Marshall