Babe Ruth was overweight, smoked cigars in the dugout, and frequently showed up to games hungover on little or no sleep. Mickey Mantle would start everyday with “a big glass filled with a shot or more of brandy, some Kahlua, and cream.” Time has moved on, and how these legends of yesteryear would fair under a typical baseball player’s training regimen is hard to imagine.Today’s athlete understands the importance of conditioning and training. Competition is fierce, and every effort could be the one thing that gives them an edge.
This includes esports athletes, who have specialized physical and mental needs when preparing for matches. It is one of the reasons that esports training facilities are becoming more common.
Photo Credit: The Esports Observer
Mavs Gaming, the NBA 2K League team operated by the Dallas Mavericks, recently opened a state-of-the-art home base (built by The Trade Group) – as did several other teams in the league. Team Liquid also has its own Alienware-sponsored, specialized practice arena located in Los Angeles.
The latest team to join this trend is French esports organization Team Vitality. However, the group has partnered with Gaming Campus to create a new 1200-square-meter training facility located in Lyon, France that is unlike any other center to date.
Gaming Campus is an esports startup dedicated to esports education. Courses offered at the new facility include:
- Gaming Academy: a program for those seeking to be a professional player, which will provide training in business development, media skills, and more.
- Gaming Business School: a management course that focuses on careers in the video game industry.
- Gaming Guru: a coaching platform that pairs amateurs anxious to improve their skills with professional players.
As part of this partnership, all of Team Vitality’s players will attend the gaming academy course, which will help them prepare for media interviews, coach them on business development (for streams, etc.), train them for contract negotiations, and help them get ready for life after professional gaming.
These facilities are being opened just as the unique needs of esports players are being understood. A professor at the German Sports University in Cologne, Ingo Froböse, recently completed a study of esports athletes. Even he was surprised by the results.
“We were particularly impressed by both the demands placed on the motor skills and their capabilities,” said Froböse. “The esports athletes achieve up to 400 movements on the keyboard and the mouse per minute, four times as much as the average person. The whole thing is asymmetrical, because both hands are being moved at the same time and various parts of the brain are also being used at the same time.”
Photo Credit: Team Vitality
The study found that, in addition to the intense motor skills needed, esports requires a high degree of tactical understanding to succeed at strategy games, such as Counter Strike: Global Offensive or League of Legends. To discover the exact strain on the brain, Froböse conducted tests to determine how much of the stress hormone cortisol was produced while competing.
“The amount of cortisol produced is about the same level as that of a race-car driver,” said Froböse. “This is combined with a high pulse, sometimes as high as 160 to 180 beats per minute, which is equivalent to what happens during a very fast run, almost a marathon. That’s not to mention the motor skills involved. So, in my opinion, esports are just as demanding as most other types of sports, if not more demanding.”
The report also concluded that most esports athletes did not understand the tension that was being put on their body during competition, and, therefore, did not train or prepare properly.
“In terms of their fitness, many of our test subjects are simply average citizens, and average citizens worry me. They simply aren’t fit. For example, they fail to do exercises that would strengthen the whole support system in the shoulder and neck areas. Were they to do this, this would improve their fine-motor skills in the arm area, something that is extremely important in competition,” said Froböse.
“What isn’t happening is cycling the stress, in other words, building in breaks after periods of strain so that the athlete can recover and overcome fatigue during competition. Another factor is getting the right nutrition.”
A stereotypical view of a gamer’s diet is loaded with processed foods (typically stuff that comes in bags) and sugary energy drinks. However, that should not be the case for a professional player. Froböse recommends that an esports athlete’s diet should be similar to that of other competitive athletes, including added nutrients such as ginseng, which increases circulation in the brain.
That is why these esports training facilities are going to become more and more common. It is not enough to just sit in front of the computer to prepare. Sitting for that long can actually be taxing on a person’s body. These athletes need to learn how to stretch. They need to understand that strengthening the upper body can help maintain stamina during matches. Even learning how to sit properly, without slouching, for example, can give them a needed boost.
Photo Credit: Cybersport.com
Throw in the educational benefit of the Gaming Campus facility, and Team Vitality may find they have a surprising advantage over their competitors.
Gaming Academy says that its course mixes esports performance with a program equivalent to a bachelor’s degree. Classes include:
- Media training with a presenter and journalist at Euronews, Serge Rombi
- Monetization of video games with Ubisoft monetization expert Vivien Cauhépé
- Public speaking with a coach and former singer at the National Opera of Lyon, Sonia Findling
- Data analysis adapted to video games with an expert in data ecommerce and media, Jean-Baptiste Gabellieri
- Business creation with the partner and founder of the Seedia investment fund, Sébastien Branche
- Business development with the former managing director at Eclypsia and Webedia customer manager, Théophile Monier
- Immersion in virtual reality with the founder of W3G studio Jimmy Fischer
- English and French adapted to video games
“Like any high-level sport, some careers are successful and others less so. As a professional sports practice, esports is no exception to the rule,” said Fabien Devide, president of Team Vitality. “It is therefore essential to offer athletes a pedagogical framework to improve their daily performance and allow them to bounce back to pursue the practice of their passion in other professional settings. Team Vitality is proud to be a forerunner in this field and delighted to be associated with the Gaming Academy, which shares the same vision.”
The first courses open to the public will begin October 2018, and applications for prospective students are now open. Ten students will be picked for this inaugural course. Team Vitality will serve on the selection committee for the potential students.
This new partnership is unique in the esports industry, but it is a clear indication of how important proper health of body and mind has become in esports. As more eyes turn to esports, competition for these limited professional positions is going to increase tenfold. The more focus a player puts on training, the better prepared they will be to meet these new challenges.
For more info on building or sponsoring an esports training facility, give one of the eGency pros a call at 972-323-6354.