In the ever growing world of competitive eSports, the mental health of professional players takes a large toll but somehow the issue remains invisible or not talked about.
Each player has to go through a lot of practice, which requires grit, patience, and some high-quality skills. Despite so much dedication and time spent, players or gaming teams may not succeed in the major gaming leagues which is also a test to their “mental toughness during low times.
Further, there is a misconception that esports players cannot be prone to physical injuries as the games are not a test of players’ physical abilities. Apart from physical injuries, eSports players are increasingly facing anxiety, depression, burnout and social exclusion.
An eSports player’s capabilities are not tested for their specific skills on a controller or mouse, but also for their steely minds, which must be capable of withstanding the harsh judgment and pressure to overcome the challenge and come on top. A player’s true mental health is tested when he/she has to face the wrath of their fans when they are not at their best.
Over the years, an eSports player has been only taught to be the best. The players are always told that the best competitors, the greatest gamers are unbreakable. With so many expectations from their fans and even from themselves, the gamers barely have time for their personal life.
There are several examples in North America and South Korea where many players have rented separate spaces for training, after leaving their house in order to practice peacefully and focus on improving their skills. Sometimes the players also share the space and just wake up, eat, practice, sleep and repeat the cycle.
Despite having so much pressure, many prominent gamers have emerged across the world in the esports gaming arena and have mesmerized everyone with their gaming skills and have also bagged attractive prize money which is also an important factor in a gamer’s life.
Apart from the monetary factor, a gamer also learns teamwork, communication, the excitement of winning, and the hunger of improving themselves as a player. In an interview with Britishesports.org, former British Army veteran and a player of Team Great Britain (GB) sitting Volleyball team, Daniel Bingley talked about having a positive mental attitude and drew out a comparison between field sports and esports.
“Having a ‘positive mental attitude (PMA) is a life balance. I’m a big advocate of community fields, so when I do team sports I departmentalize and I extract from the real world, I am zoned in and being part of a community,” said Bingley.
“The ethos is the same in esports. When you’re playing a game, there are several factors that will go through your mind when you’re doing it. You want to participate, you want to achieve, you want to help each other, you don’t want to let each other down – these are fundamentals that we’re all engraved with,” he added.