Any kind of competition comes with its stress. For those competing at the highest level of esports, that stress is just as real as that experienced by traditional athletes. Let’s break down the different kinds of stress esports athletes can experience and how it compares to that of traditional athletes.
What is stress?
For athletes, stress comes from competing at the highest level of a given sport. Such activity comes with both internal and external stressors that take their toll on an athlete’s psyche and body.
Even though the sports that traditional athletes and esports athletes participate in are relatively different, there is some overlap in terms of how high-level competitions affect them. Physical stressors come from actively performing that activity, while mental stressors come from the competitions, the team, their rivals, and more.
What are the physical stressors of an esports athlete?
Esports, like first-person shooters, require great amounts of skill and focus. In first-person shooters like CS:GO, players must have good hand-eye coordination. When players spot an enemy on their screen, they must move their hand to move the cursor on their screen. In addition to that, players must have good recoil control and fast reaction time, as all of this can happen in a fraction of a second.
To maintain good health, players must also keep an eye on their posture and nutrition. For this reason, many teams have health and nutrition coaches that help the players stay in their best shape, so their performance is at its peak.
Much like with traditional sports, esports come with their own risk for injury. Since many top esports are played with a mouse and keyboard, carpal tunnel is a common injury that occurs with time. Teams must be ready to provide their players with the best medical care to have them ready to play again as soon as possible.
These physical stressors combined can take their toll on an esports athlete, and they must be kept in check to ensure the players’ health.
What are the mental stressors of an esports athlete?
To play professionally at the highest level, players must also maintain their mental health. Since a team must work together to ensure the best results, internal criticism is unavoidable. If a player performs at a lesser level than their teammates, they might become the victim of such criticism. This can lead to self-doubt as well as the fear of failing and letting down their teammates.
Esports athletes are real people, of course, so they also have personal issues outside of the team. Family problems and other such outside issues can also affect the players’ mental health and their ability to play as well as they could. These can be impossible to avoid, and teams must be prepared to give players time to recover if something like this does happen.
As the old saying goes, practice makes perfect. It is not uncommon to see professional esports teams practice for 6-12 hours per day. This kind of time spent doing essentially the same thing can make players feel stressed and overworked, decreasing their interest in playing the game in the long run. Practice must be balanced with fun activities to keep this from happening.
How does this compare to traditional athletes?
When comparing the things that can affect esports athletes physically and mentally, it’s easy to see the overlap with traditional athletes. The practice sessions, the internal & external issues, living with teammates, and everything else mentioned above occurs with traditional athletes.
Not only that, but a study done by scientists at the German Sports University shows that esports professionals are athletes in the same sense as traditional athletes. Taking all of this into account, esports stress is also real stress and must be treated seriously to ensure that players not only perform at their best but are also as healthy as they can be.