Among the laymen of the
eSportsThere is still some conception that a League of Legends or Counter Strike tournament is little more than a gathering of teenagers sitting in front of a screen to spend the afternoon playing video games. Fortunately,
fewer and fewer people think so: it is difficult that events that handle figures and audiences that have little to envy to those of traditional sports remain completely unknown to the most veteran generations.
Professionalization of the sector has been considerably fast and, although there are still some edges to be polished, the truth is that the structure of the competitions is as complex as we can find in the lite of football or basketball. The eSports teams have players and substitutes, of course, but
also trainers, analysts, nutritionists, physical trainers and even psychologists who help them get the most out of it. After all, the pressure to reach the lite of a multimillion dollar industry without having turned twenty can be overwhelming. What can a psychologist do for them?
In the mind of the player
Although many doubt in considering sports the eSports, in the psychological practice the differences are few. "It doesn't matter if the athlete plays a Counter Strike tournament or an football league; the mind plays a separate game when we compete," says Agustn Roel, founder of UP MIND Esports Psychology, a consulting firm that helps bring psychology to electronic sports. . "The logical way to go for anyone who wants to dedicate themselves to this is to study the psychology career, specialize in sports psychology and, subsequently, train in eSports."
And is that the
psychological challenges which a professional eSports player and an soccer player may face are similar, although there are certain differences. "In our sector, athletes do not have great adaptation times," said Jaime Callejas, a psychologist with the Movistar Riders team. "In three or four months, which is what lasts a season, you have to show if you are worth to be in your team or they can replace you. That leads to greater mental fatigue."
His exposure on social networks also represents a differential component in this regard if we take into account the average age of his audience – around 24 years – and who work in an eminently digital environment. Not to mention their professional life expectancy: the average age of the players is about 20 years, so
their careers are as short as intense. The former player Mario Motroco Martnez serves as an example: in an interview in 2012 he admitted that, at 25, his teammates nicknamed him "Grandfather."
"Players may face problems of
decision making and of
trust in oneself and in others, "says the specialist." The point is that everything is related to each other and, frequently, the problems that appear are the tip of the iceberg. Understanding what factors favor, decrease or slow your own performance or affect your health is the key to all this. "
One more piece in the eSports puzzle
Callejas remembers that, until six or seven years ago, in eSports the figure of the coach is not seen as something important and time has ended up making it a fundamental pillar in any team. "The same thing happens with psychology: more and more people believe that our figure is crucial, so that more and more bet for it."
The trend in this regard is clear. The Mad Lions team included Alejo Garca Naveira, a sports psychologist with about 20 years of experience in professional football in teams such as the Atletico de Madrid. And Astralis fich to Lars Robl, a soldier of the country's special forces, to help his players fight frustration, manage patience and keep morale high.
X6tence, one of the best-known Spanish eSports teams, outsources psychology services to be able to use, depending on their specific needs, more traditional professionals or techniques such as neurostimulation or brain mapping. "We try to specialize the response we give to players based on each game," explains its CEO, Adrin Gmez. "In Counter Strike, for example, players do mental reset every minute and a half while League of Legends is more like football, where reality lasts the entire game."