Let’s discover the different ways to train better and prevent the stress and fatigue associated with eSports.
2017 seems to be the turning point for professional players: between the agreements of the Overwatch League and the average age of the players in continuous ascent it seems that there are no more limits for gamers who want to transform their passion into a career of all respect. The salaries of pro players are attracting many young players, but there is an invisible barrier to consider if you want to make long-term esports projects: the human body is not built to withstand many years of playing at the highest level.
To investigate the matter, we chatted with Taylor Johnson, an industry expert who has worked as an athletic trainer with some professional teams such as the San Francisco 49ers. He currently deals with consulting for esports players and organizations, providing training on improving performance, health and well-being for high-performance realities. From our discussion came several interesting thoughts on the current challenges of professional gaming and how the best teams should address them.
Habits First of all
The esports industry has made great strides in recent years and we are now seeing the natural evolution of a player health infrastructure. LoL esports recently published an article on NA LCS eating habits and how teams are controlling their players’ diets to prevent kids from going on to ramen and other microwaved products. We are also starting to see programmers posting selfies taken in the gym on social media, and this is a sign that health is being taken very seriously by organizations in this sector. But is all this enough? Johnson thinks this is a good start: “In my work I always try to apply the high-performance models used by professional teams in traditional sports,” he said.
Healthy mind in a healthy body
It is a tall order, but it is necessary if we are to make sure that players can perform at their best throughout their career. Player Hai Lam, currently in FlyQuest but who has become famous for his time in Cloud9, has had several problems with his wrists to be able to keep his performance high in the mid lane, while his former teammate Ray recently spoke about his depression during the Summers Split of 2017: there are many players who have had health problems, physical and mental, during the esports competitions. Johnson’s profession tries first of all to influence the aspects related to the development of these players: “First we need to rebuild the systems and calendars that are used in the best traditional sports organizations,” he explained.
Do Not Stuck!
Once you have learned the basics, you can move on to something a little more complex and difficult to achieve: “We need to promote health and well-being throughout the gamer community,” Johnson insisted. One of the biggest challenges of his work is to eliminate the stereotype that esports do not require exceptional physical and mental abilities, just like traditional sports. This misconception can lead to serious consequences and get to finish some careers ahead of time: “I think there are horrible preconceptions behind export and gaming in general, you imagine people sitting in front of the screen all the time. day, following a horrible diet and without a real structure to support them, but in reality, it is quite the opposite.
Don’t give up
Today we are witnessing huge steps forward towards an esports model that everyone agrees, especially in North America, but there are still many small teams that struggle to make young boys live under the same roof, often without previous experience outside. at home, and who have a dream in common. Of course, there are also moral components: investing in an infrastructure that takes care of the health and safety of players is the right thing to do. Gamers often do not have the right tools to apply these models to their own lives on their own, and it is normal that they do not have them: the experts in the sector are there for this.
When you put players in a gaming house for the first time without a precise structure, perhaps dreaming of the highest levels of the competition, it is obvious that they will push their limits to the maximum to obtain certain results. It is human nature to ignore minor aches and pains that can arise from intensive use of the hands or poor posture, but in the long run these things leave their mark. We are seeing a growing need for attention to these players, for experts and infrastructure to provide certain solutions. The benefits in terms of preparation and performance are practically immediate: “Those who take physical and mental health seriously are starting to understand how all this translates into their games”.
The four pillars of performance
Johnson found a good way to simplify the matter: “The argument can be summarized using the four pillars of performance: nutrition, rest, mind and body. These are the areas on which we can act more easily ». Exporting might seem a long way from activities that require physical exertion, but gamers who are fully dedicated to practice can be amazed at the impact gaming has on their body. Not only are there various risks associated with a sedentary lifestyle, but the precise and fast movements associated with a high level of play can also be felt. Smash Bros. Melee players, for example, have shown that the impact of esports on their hands is obvious: it may not seem serious at first, but it quickly gets worse over time.
“We need to develop specific training and corrective exercises to address the most problematic areas and assess the individual and collective needs of individual teams,” Johnson reiterated. Each esports discipline brings with it unique challenges: «Let’s take Dota as an example: the match can be a best of three or five, and each match could last more than an hour. You need to set up a training and exercises that reflect the dynamics and stress associated with this type of competition at the highest levels. The creation of customized scenarios for the training of players could be of fundamental importance, especially before those tournaments where you play everything. The players of Melee, Starcraft and League of Legends have to face very different challenges ».
Health and safety are important factors for players of all levels, but when it comes to the toughest competitions around there are further advantages to consider: “Some research has shown the benefits that physical activity and nutrition have on cognitive function, blood pressure, speed of execution and reaction times. Mental health is an issue that affects all esports organizations. Having experts in depression and other disorders characteristic of young adults available is of paramount importance to societies, but mental health goes beyond these extreme cases: an integral part of a healthy routine is the ability to cope with the small challenges of daily life. Especially if your life is in the spotlight.
“There are some players who often lose their temper or who need paths to learn how to manage stress and maintain inner balance,” says Johnson. “Just look at the longevity of the players to understand that the risk of exhaustion is growing rapidly.” Many think that people of a certain age stop competing for physiological reasons such as loss of reflexes and concentration, but according to Johnson, mental fatigue could be the real culprit. “When I look at the psychological side of the players, I notice that the more reserved and milder are less inclined to make mistakes and lose the game.” All this is extremely interconnected, physical and mental health go hand in hand: “The emotional stability that can be obtained from the correct eating, rest and training habits,