The way of the spirit!

Ive spoken before about overall manners. Howto behave towards eachother inside a community. Its definently important, because you can change the way even sponsors see the game in the end, where there is harmony people wanna be. And same goes for dota.
This blogentry wont be about that. This time i wanna speak about manners inside the team. Hopefully a word like manners isnt even needed, but a way of acting is still definently needed. You'll see worse team beating better teams with equal heroes for special reasons. Maybe you can analyze the game and find that there wasnt enough wards, or just that one carry didnt farm enough. But deeper behind those analyzes there is something that you cannot make statistics on, that you cannot count or screenshot. Not even record on ventrilo.
The teamspirit!

What is teamspirit?
Teamspirit can be helped in both directions if there is strong persons in the team. For example if someone is really happy and joyful this could spread among the other players of the team, but also if someone is negative and defensive this also spreads. Its always alot easier to have a strong teamspirit while winning since results definently influence the spirit. As everyone in the team have their own spirit, their own mind and attitude about the game, the team also has its own. But the hard part, especially in dota where there is five players, is that we cant count anyone out, so even if we got two people really negative we will have to let their spirit in to affect the overall spirit of the team.

In what way would teamspirit effect the game?
There are still teams, captains and leaders all over the world denying the fact that there is anything called teamspirit. Evenso there has been alot of science in the area people seem to have a hard time understanding what this word means, and that it would really affect the results at all. Its also a subject which is really hard to make studies on, simply because there are millions of variables, and you cant really completely understand what people thinks. But one of the most sucessfull study made in the subject was done in the military. Where the testsubjects where a number of equally educated/trained submarine guys where divided in two groups. One of those groups where set to work together on their spirit, talk about how they wanted things to run, how they wanted to behave towards eachother, meanwhile the other group couldt do this beforehand - but had to solve those things as the problems accured in the submarine. In the end the group that didnt solve the "spirit of the group" beforehand had to give up their trip - failing to make the submarine work properly eventhought they had exactly the same education.

So how can this be translated to DotA?
Quite simple. If i would say there are extremely good players who in clanwars looks completely hilarious, you would say that perhaps the other players in the team where bad, or that the picks werent in favour of the loosing team, but there is more then that. Lets just pick a hero, vengeful spirit. Look at the way smiske played that hero versus MYM game 1. Smiske is a brilliant player and knows completely what he needs to do - but in that game i would guess the spirit helped him to sacrifice himself as he did - not only because he knew it was gamewinning - but also because the simple fact that we were playing the game as one unit -  our teams sprit was in balance.
Xoy had 16 deaths and still warded most that game.
Look at the german scene, i dont want to be offensive, but there are so many great players from germany. I really think so. Kuroky, Fire found their new homes, but players like moods, nirph, Bihn, Kevin just to name a few are just brilliant players. But ive never seen a german team play all the way up to their full scale level, and i dont think its because of lacking strategymakers, neither lacking support or carryplayers, i think, and im almost certain that its about their overall spirit.
Ingame small descisions can be completely effected by the way you feel about your team. Are you in the right place at the right time. Do you place that extra ward uphill to make it a little bit easier. Do you carry that tpscroll to manage to help your teammates. Do you get that BKB first eventhough a Lothars feels much more fun. 
Do you keep on running eventhought your most probably dead - incase the last hit is a miss?
Are you playing as a part of the general teamspirit - or as a part of your own ego.
If your decisions are blocked by a bad teamspirit you might look better as a player but much worse inside the team.

So, what can i do to change the teamspirit?
First of all every team needs to constantly work on their spirit. If someone says they dont, they have simply not lost enough games yet. Teamspirit isnt constant, it changes as players changes and its always something you have to work on to get the best results.
Small comments can really change the status of a teamspirit
"Wow, that Drowranger really farmed shitloads. I dont know how we can win this game"
is definently a negative comment - even if its based on truth a comment like
"We'll need to keep more track on that drowranger from now, shes got a good start"
gives the team exactly the same information - just in a much more positive manner.

Comments or words within the own team can also effect the spirit both positive and negative
"Drayich has nothing. Not even treads, zzz"
same information could easily be said with
"We really have to give Drayich room to farm now, its needed"
Two comments giving the same information just 1 of them made out from the positive spectra and the other made from the negative.
If someone makes a misstake during a game, constructive critisism is the only way to achieve anything in discussions and to make people change their gameplay or behavior.
"Synderen, that stun was fucking awful. Why do you stun lich when void is attacking me?"
a comment which consists information to synderen that i rather want void to be stunned, but if i instead say
"Synderen, we really have to stun void futuremore. Hes the key in those situations"
then ive given the exact same information - just without harming the teamspirit unnecessary.

Setting up simple rules for communincations inside the teams can help. Deciding together howto solve problems that accure. Having an open enviroment that allows people to speak their opinion is also core things to keep a remaining strong spirit.

It doesnt have to be comments that effects the teams performance. Maybe i get a dagoon on a hero, even if its not a bad item i might just send the signal to the team that its an easy game - or even that i dont care about the game so much. This can create frustration that can be solved, but if your unlucky it could even make your sandking get a dagoon and when the enemys push you are unable to defend.

Failing to get into teamfights, just sloppy forgetting to get a tp could also send signals. Signals that effects the team negativly, evenso it might just have been a misstake. The only way of not letting those situations effect the spirit to much is via communication, or even taking the guilt. "Im sorry, i forgot to get a TP" could solve sucha situation meanwhile "Why would i tp into that fucking situation, its suicide" might just increase the problem.

Positive feedback or constructive critisism over negative feedback and simple critisism
is a really good rule. Remember that if someone fails to stun the right person, or dagger in with sandking the teamspirit and that players spirit is already harmed. You dont want to harm it even more with rough comments - you wanna make sure that the misstake is not happening again. This is never achieved with negative feedback or just critisism. Even if you might accomplish it a few times with that way, in the longrun it will only make people secondguessing themselves and playing worse.

This is only something for pro teams right, i mean, in a Dotapride game, who cares?
No, this goes for every team. Superbad as supergood. If two team are completely equal i guarantee that the team with a more balanced spirit will win the game. And i even think the team with more balanced spirit can beat much better opponents. This has happened numerous of times in sports and its nothing new. Look at swedens national team in hockey. The players in that team costs a fortue to have, but when they are put together they dont look especially strong. I would even say they look bad.

What about leadership?
As i said in the beginning, strong personalitys from either the negative or the positive spectra influence on the team spirit. But the biggest influence is the person with the leadership. If there is a good leader of a group or a team this person can simply push away all bad behavior and reclaim the spirit. This also works the same way in the opposite direction, where a leader of a team can completely destroy the spirit as he fails to keep it together.
"Gank Loda and win" - was something that was said back then when loda was TT. Even if it wasnt really true, i guess sometimes the reason people had that strategy also was because its hard to run a team if your constantly dead. Evenso i also understand it was since Loda most often played carryheroes.

So in the end
Practicing lasthitting, where to place wards, howto pick, howto kill roshan at level 7, what lanes are best, what lanepartners are best. All these things is superimportant to become a good dota team. If you master these bits of the game you will soon be a respected team in the dotacommunity. But to win those games who seems over, or to get that throphy from that lan, or to manage to beat the teams that seems unbeatable, you will definently need a balanced teamspirit. And to get that, you can only keep on working.
1 Anonym:

Nice reading!

2 leyo:

ok i read most of that. i think instead of grouping all that into a word like team "spirit" its just a bunch of things that helps the team to win through better teamwork. like vs knows to swap void out and maybe sacrifice himself cos void's life is worth more than his. and sometimes he didnt even die.

the thing with the army i dont really know about ull have to link to the actual study so i can have a look at it especially the sample size and sampling criteria etc. but just cos they had equal education and training doesnt mean that both groups are the same. but with a large enough sample, and random allocation to groups. they can be assumed to be equal for the purposes of the study.

about what u said about negative comments within the team. i agree with u. negative comments dont help the team at all. but ppl cant help but get fustrated when something they are so passionate about isnt going their way. simple as that haha

didnt read the rest but what ive read seemed really obvious to me

3 leyo:

oh yea u can email me at the above address if u wanna discuss it. sorry the above post mightve seemed a bit rude not trying to put u down or anything just speaking my mind. hope u dont mind haha. and maybe im wrong i dunno just what i think. btw my name is leo and i was born in china but living in nz currently. sorry if i seemed rude lol

4 Evil.Wurstbrot:

Nice text, as (ex)leader of a few unkown german clans I can only agree with you, Dray!

If the spirit is bad and the team flames each other cause of every minor mistake, nobody can concentrate anymore and is just trying to find more mistakes, so he can defend himself if he does one.

5 Wuff:

This is SO good, ty for writing this.

6 Caissa:

Really nice read, papa Dray. I hope this will help my team :) Hälsingar från Argentina.

7 riquelme_one:

I couldn't agree more,

in an equal game, the flamers are often the ones who loose the game by destroying the morale.

As long as players are not robots, teamspirit is essential !!

8 DamneD:

Really good article on an important subject. I also had clan almost a year ago, though ofcourse not succesful as yours we were trying ourselves on CWs with the better teams in our country. The lost games were majorly cause of miscommunication and negative comments on Vent, when things went south. I as a leader i personally am a quick temepered guy and now realize also my mistakes of not supporting my guys and just getting angry at them. Well written indeed.

9 Just-to-train:

really nice article. I fully agree with the things that you said and there are lots of examples I could mention.

In the end, spirit was never a fact I undesestimated...but my team didnt care about that. Hard to explain this kind of stuff to someone who plays for kills or his own ego.

Well I think thats why the most "spirit gamer" are the supporter because they only play for the team to be succesfull.

10 EPOH:

heyho, nice read, GJ Dray

btw people who want to advance your leading abilities should read the book: "How To Win Friends And Influence people" by Dale Carnegy.The book has nothing to do with dota, but helps in leading and influencing people IRL alot.

11 Arnab:

Very good read. The fact that you wrote so much for the community shows ur love for the game and for us the average gamers. It is highly appreciated.

12 verybad:

Anyone who's ever been on a team with bad spirits can sign on this. Bad attitude loses more games than poor picks, stupid builds and weak moves combined.

13 Lycan:

Great Read ^^

14 LINk:

Most true! its a psycological factor that plays. Bad comments achieve nothing and its also hard (being a captain myself i understand) when within the team someone always criticizes another player. The latter's moral will be devastated. When developing teamwork if you have problems with a teammate who always thinks he knows best (and goes alone and messes up the game), instead of arguing with him, the next game follow exactly his play and let him lead, soon he will understand that something is wrong and since everything is going according to his ideas, the problem are those ideas. He will understand that and be more cooperative next time, and everything without having long theoretical debates (its always better to show then to tell) :) just a tip for teamworking :P

15 placenta:

i like they way u write.. u are very positive! starting from now, i will think twice before i write messages to the teammates.. tq for this good reading material that changed the way i see things!

16 taff:

nice text.

every team should know how to loose, becoz it just happens.

17 Anonym:

Hi there

Nice and wise article.Keep writing you have good soul and influence to people.In our time we really need it.

Sorry for my bad english :)

See ya

18 ty:

fuck it's all

19 LunaTuna:

Funny, that u manage the German clans as a negative example.

I'm from Germany and I played in German and in international teams and I also have the impression that German players are more unfriendly and aggressive towards their teammates than players of other nationalities.

I got no clue why that's so, though....