Scott Kingdon, B.Sc Sports therapist, graduated from the University of St. Mark & St. John. He previously worked with professional rugby club Exeter Chiefs RFC & football club Exeter City FC, and is aspiring to find his place within eSports.
To much of the public, gaming is the simple concept of playing video games. To the majority of gamers, gaming is competitive with the slight chance of a glorified victory. To a select few, gaming is a full-time job—paying out large salaries and prize pools from competing around the world against the best international teams.
Aidan “Zirene” Moon, a popular League of Legends commentator, said it best: “Performance coaches are becoming a necessity in professional League of Legends.” Due to the little privacy and massive amount of stress players experience being in the spotlight, not to mention the copious amounts of solo practice, team practice, and match days, it’s no wonder players burn out and under perform so regularly.
The Role of a Performance Coach
A performance coach can assist your team by creating a safe, learning environment whereby any emotional, physical, or mental stress is taken care of immediately. A sports therapist will not only support your players, but provide services like massages, diet assistance, nutrition plans, fitness advice, and an overall healthy environment that will be suitable to breed success and set a great foundation for the team’s future.
For example, Immortals, a top League of Legends team, is the gold star example in this regard. Robert Yip, the team’s psychologist, gaming coach, and strength and conditioning coach, has had a drastic impact on the team. Just a quick scan of their Twitter and you can see the improvements of mental and physical health with additions like wrist classes and post-scrim wrist massages.
Like any other athlete, professional gamers do tire and suffer from injury. Is it the role of esports athletes to look after their own health? Some would say yes, due to the fact gaming is a non-contact “sport,” and their hands are their tools. Like a traditional sports athlete, they should have dedicated physiotherapists and doctors on hand to provide treatment and advice.
Esports teams may not be as wealthy as traditional sports teams, but if you can get a qualified member on staff to assist your team, why haven’t you? Teams should be clamoring to snatch up a resource that shape their players into winners.
If you look at traditional professional athletes—with stress from the media, being perceived as a role model, performance-based salary—they are not too dissimilar from esports players. However, the traditional athlete can get all the help they need from the team and organization they are associated with. This shouldn’t be any different for esports professionals; teams should get the help they require without hesitation.
Too many players have had to pull themselves away from the scene to recover, and unfortunately, some never made it back. It’s the role of a performance coach or a specialist to prevent early retirement due to injury and provide teams with a stable player base.
Teams are lacking in the player health maintenance and development stage due to poor organization within the management staff themselves. The players are at risk and, the owners are seeking most of the benefits. Performance coaches and therapists are a must-have for successful teams competing at the highest level.