With the news of Jarryd Hayne, an Australia Sporting star, joining the Mindfreak eSport team at the NSW Institute of Sport for the release of Call of Duty: Infinite Warfare Academy, a greater amount of focus has been put onto a scene that is often ignored by people who watch “real sports”. Hayne joined the team for their physical exercise programs. A course of physically and mentally demanding exercises designed to demonstrate the physical and mental strain that a day of tournament play can have on a player and help them cope with it.
Beyond the physical side of things there is also nutrition courses, team building and decision making activities. There are also several stress skill tests, such as the athletes holding their breath underwater and learning to calm their minds, allowing them to recognize the changes on their thoughts and action when in a normally stressful situation.
A good number of people will often disparage professional eSport athlete’s, thinking that because they don’t play a physical contact sport for 80 – 90 minutes that their efforts are worth less or somehow easier to come by. Where the exact opposite is true.
Traditional sport has had decades, and in some cases over a century, to develop into a thing that is playable by all and accessible at several high levels for those with the drive to get there. However, eSports are a very new development on the sport scene, but no less serious. The stereotypical 200pound man living in a basement will not be able to achieve what the professional player in the various eSport league can. Playing a single day tournament can often mean 4 – 6 matches of 45minutes to an hour, or more, each. From 9am until 9pm.
Physical and mental toughness is a must in this game. Someone who is physical unfit will not be able to react accordingly to the blindingly fast pace set by the other players in the game.
With further developments of the various leagues and game communities it will likely be only a matter of years until we see eSport breaking into the Olympic scene. I keenly look forward to further growth in the eSport scene, even if I will never be good enough to do it myself.