4 min read

Guest Episode | STEFAN 'Pengy' MOTT: Tournament Marathon Tips and Tricks: How to Stay Mentally Sharp

Stefan shares some of his tips and tricks that serve him well as a professional player to stay mentally sharp throughout long and draining tournament days.
Guest Episode | STEFAN 'Pengy' MOTT: Tournament Marathon Tips and Tricks: How to Stay Mentally Sharp

Hello everyone, and welcome to a brand new episode of Gaming Science.

Today's guest episode is written by someone who has been around in esports for a very long time, serving many different roles. To you StarCraft fans out there, his name surely rings a bell, and I'm very happy and thankful to have him contribute to this newsletter.

During his SC2 times, he was a player, caster and manager/team captain for mYinsanity before joining PSISTORM Gaming as their player manager. He currently is a professional player and regional champion in Pokémon.

With his experience as a professional player and manager, he is more than well equipped to provide providing his expert opinion on various topics in the industry.

💡 Today, Stefan shares some of his tips and tricks that serve him well as a professional player to stay mentally sharp throughout long and draining tournament days. More specifically, he talks about his sleep and eating routines, as well as community time and the 'secret bathroom' meta. 😅

Hi there gamers! I’m Stefan Mott, AKA Pengy. I’ve been a competitive gamer for more years than I care to admit (I’m old!). Since 2020 my competitive focus has been the Pokémon Video Game Circuit (VGC), but I spent many years in the Starcraft space as well. Today, I’ll be taking you through my tips and tricks to keeping mentally sharp throughout long tournament days.

Long days are not unique to Pokémon tournaments, but for context our tournament days are usually about 9-11 hours encompassing ~9 rounds of competition, so staying locked in can be a real challenge.

Probably the most obvious thing - your day should start with a good night’s rest.

If you’re struggling to sleep, especially if you’re having pre-tournament active brain syndrome, melatonin supplements can be a great help.

Equally important to getting your rest though is making sure you wake up early enough. I know a lot of players who will try to get every extra minute of sleep they can before rushing off to the venue, but it takes me about 90 minutes to fully wake up, so I try to wake up at around 7:00 if my tournament is starting at 8:30 (which is pretty normal for us). This also leaves you plenty of time to seek out caffeine and to explore the venue.

Personally I like to find what we call “secret bathrooms” to avoid long lines later in the day, and I also like to find a spot that I can retreat to later in the day if I want some alone time.

Seeing people who you don’t often get the chance to hang out with is the best part of major events, but being social can be draining for some people. This is where that secret little hidey hole comes in handy!

Sometimes what I need to stay locked in and recharge is to sit alone with my thoughts and listen to music to recharge, away from everyone else. Even if there are a lot of people who want to catch up with you at the event, it’s important to remember that it’s okay to take care of your mental stamina first. There’s always time to chat with people and hang out when the games are done!

Equally important in keeping your energy up is making sure that you’re not starving yourself - but also being smart about what you’re eating.

It’s a long day so it can be tempting to eat a big lunch, but that’s a great way to tire yourself out with a food coma. I find it especially good to avoid lots of carbs like pasta. Ultimately, this bit is different for everyone so you’ll probably have to try out a few things to find out what’s right for you, but my tactic is to eat a small breakfast sandwich and then just snack on things like protein bars, nuts, jerky - basically anything that’s a good source of protein. I usually don’t eat a meal until the tournament is done, and then I’ll have a big dinner.

On a more interpersonal level, remember to check on your friends! It can be really easy to get sucked into the competition to the point where you drown everything else out, but ultimately community is what makes competing so enjoyable.

It also serves as a good reminder that even if things don’t go your way on the day you still have that community aspect to enjoy; your weekend isn’t ruined.


Big fat thanks to Stefan for writing this piece and his insides on the matter. If you want to follow his journey as a professional player, make sure to follow him on X.

As always, see you guys next week.

Christian 🙂

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