How can esports stars lengthen their gaming careers?
With most top level esports professionals ending their careers in their mid-twenties, growing numbers of esports teams are taking significant steps to get the most out of their competitors. From hiring specialist sports psychologists, to improving the players’ training environments, it seems that there is a growing need to take better care of esports stars.
As the competitive gaming industry is expected to hit a value of $1.4 billion by 2020, it’s clear that there’s a real need to ensure that the competitors are able to perform at their best. And whilst there’s no shortage of aspiring young stars willing to enter the fray, it’s hoped that the current generation of competitive gamers can get help in avoiding that much-feared ‘burn out’ and enjoy longer and more successful playing careers.
The problem of ‘burn-out’ in esports
Esports has often been compared to traditional sports in that it favours younger competitors who are at peak physical condition. But whilst footballing stars like Cristiano Ronaldo can still be at the top of their game at 33 years of age, it’s extremely rare to find pro gamers playing in their thirties. Much of this is due to the fact that competitive gaming relies on extremely fast reaction times that tend to fade by the time that gamers hit their mid-twenties. But there’s also a growing feeling that esports stars are under too much pressure to practice over 12 hours per day which is leading to ailments such as wrist injuries and lower back pain.
In addition to this, there’s the prevailing mood that the toxic environment of esports has added unnecessary mental stress to its athletes. With each player’s performances scrutinised intensely on live streaming channels and social media, there can often feel like there is no dividing line between work and life away from the game. As a result, it’s little surprise to find that even top-level esports stars such as Stephen “Snoopeh” Ellis can retire from the competitive League of Legends gaming realm at just 23 years of age.
Achieving a sustainable esports career
Some gamers have managed to struggle through into their late twenties. Players like the Team Gravity star, Saintvicious, hit 28 years before he called it quits. But with star gamers able to command huge viewing figures and lucrative sponsorship deals, certain esports teams have made the effort to take better care of their competitors.
The esports team, Immortals, recently hired a sports psychology consultant to help their players focus their mental efforts, whilst the Dallas Fuel Overwatch team are now able to go home mid-season rather than being endlessly cooped up in their practice spaces.
Ultimately, it’s the gamers themselves who will need to know how far they can push things. Whilst many top level esports stars can earn up to $100,000 each year, such incomes can’t be relied upon. As a result, we have seen many gamers making plans for coaching roles and caster jobs in order to stay in the game just a little longer.