How to become an esports pro series: Competitions, Training and more
Esports pros tend to be in the news or media for one of three reasons: Either they are mentioned because they were selected for a new team or competition, they won a competition…or they recently made some kind of racial or misogynistic slur.
Only two of those are good of course, and they both have something in common: They involve competitions! That seems obvious at first glance, but it highlights something important: Unless there is a big competition going on, we don’t hear overly much about our favourite players.
That’s pretty similar to the way traditional athletes are treated – the national football teams of most countries train year round of course, but unless there is an International sporting event or a competition that involves the clubs of the individual players, there is little we hear about these guys (and girls!).
When the pros aren’t engaging in competitions, they are training just as hard as traditional athletes. Pro players will often train for more than 8 hours per day, 6 days per week – and all for one evening of Overwatch tournaments that may or may not decide if they even get to stay on the team.
The preparation for tournaments is particularly extreme – since most players have to travel in order to participate in events, they have to cope with jet-lag on top of a specialised training regime. In fact, in the weeks leading up to the competitions, they will do nothing but eat, sleep and train. That and bathroom breaks are quite literally all there is – for many pro teams that live in a gamer house together, meals will be provided by a nutritionist and cleaning and tidying will be done by staff.
The rest of the time, outside of competition, things are a little more relaxed, but high-profile pro gamers still have a lot less autonomy than you may think. Exercise regimen, dietary rules and precisely planned day plans are more common than you may think.
As for the competitions themselves, they too consist of a little more than what you see on Twitch. These events are incredibly elaborate and a huge amount of tech, work and manpower is necessary to run them. Venues often only have one or two days to set everything up, and the actual pros get very little time to get accustomed to it all.
Since most arenas have at least some capacity for live viewers to watch, that means it can get quite loud – not ideal for players that need to concentrate on split-second decisions. That’s why playing in an event is completely different from playing at home or in a familiar environment. Although they wear high-quality headphones that do drown out most of the noise, playing in front of hundreds if not thousands of people (plus however many watch the streams) can take its toll on players.
The equipment and machines found in these events are often a little different as well – this means that players have to be flexible with what they play on. While they may be allowed to bring their own mouse or even keyboard (not always), they will be using identical monitors and computers. If a player is particularly used to certain settings or environments, this can be an issue, especially for new pros that are doing their very first ever tournament. Seasoned pros are usually okay with it, but if you are thinking about becoming a pro player, you should consider what it’s like playing in a tournament hall on the big day, nerves and all.
Being an Overwatch pro is not an easy job!