05. eSports

Book Review: Conditioning for Esports

May 30, 2024

Esports are a bit of an enigma.

On the one hand the dramatic rise of esports has been unprecedented, quickly garnering literally hundreds of millions of avid fans inspired by some of the most impressive brains on the planet.

On the other hand this domain is still in its infancy when it comes to understanding how to be effectively successful from a human performance perspective.

In a landmark bid to address this gap ‘‘Conditioning for Esports: A Guide to Training and Performance’’ is a book which comprehensively lays the foundations for teams, coaches and players to take performance to the next level. Here we will highlight what this quintessential guide has to offer this developing industry.

The Gist of the Book

From the outset comparisons are naturally drawn between esports and traditional sports. While from a sports science angle there is still a long way to go in terms of research, there is also a lot of underappreciated respect for competitive gamers as true athletes.

For example, studies are referenced which show that the levels of cortisol produced in competition are actually on par with that of a race car driver, matched with a high pulse rate of up to 180 beats per minute. Due to grueling training schedules and physical duress, around half of Esports athletes’ careers are ended due to injuries, often following multiple surgeries.

This underscores the need for a holistic approach to esports performance by both emulating a lot of what has been learned through sports science, while also appreciating the unique needs of esport athletes. In this light detailed attention is devoted to the performance mindset, the mind–body connection, the roles of nutrition, recovery, player development, and the physical and psychological conditioning necessary for peak performance in the gaming environment.

What makes the book a gem is the fact that the authors are bonafide experts in the fields of esports, traditional sports, physiological conditioning and human health. In a nutshell it is written from the ground-up to provide the necessary education and resources to help players achieve their performance goals, without losing sight of overall health and well-being.

A New Bible for Esports

Conditioning for Esports takes a rigorous approach to all aspects of player and team development, a kind of ten commandments style compendium delivered chapter by chapter across the following themes.

1. Bridging the Gap Between Traditional Sports and Esports

2. Player Development Within the Esport Ecosystem

3. The Cognitive Athlete—Making the Mind–Body Connection

4. Role of Performance Psychology in Esport Player Development

5. Nutrition and Esport Performance

6. Sleep, Fatigue, and Recovery in Esports

7. Esport Injury Assessment and Care

8. Corrective Exercise Guidelines for Esport Impairments

9. Physical Training and Exercise Guidelines for Esport Athletes

10. Physical Training Programming for Esport Teams

This offers a fresh holistic perspective on what it takes to succeed in this burgeoning field, in a way that is deeply detailed, yet highly accessible.

It paints a picture of an industry at a crossroads, with growing mainstream acceptance opening up more avenues for professional gamers to refine their skills. It emphasizes inclusivity, urging new talents from diverse backgrounds to bring their expertise into the esports arena.

Discussions cover how a panoply of skills can be honed and modified through the latest research, emphasizing that the understanding of neurophysical performance will continue to evolve in tandem with the growth of the industry.

Addressing Practical Needs

Transitioning from practice to game day, the book highlights the mental shift required to focus more on the process than the outcome. It underscores the importance of pregame readiness, advocating for mental and physical warm-ups to combat anxiety and sharpen focus. Communication, a critical component in team-based esports, is explored in depth, revealing how effective teamwork and preparation can significantly boost a player's performance.

Nutrition and trust in training receive special attention, emphasizing the need for personalized dietary plans and the crucial role of coaches in achieving team buy-in. This extends to the cognitive benefits of proper nutrition and the importance of understanding individual dietary needs to optimize performance.

It also tackles the less-discussed aspects of esports, such as the necessity of a well-designed gaming station to prevent injuries and promote long-term athlete health, the importance of sleep and its impact on cognitive and physical recovery, offering strategies to improve sleep hygiene.

The integration of exercise into an esports athlete's routine is also highlighted, detailing the benefits of a structured exercise regimen that aligns with general health guidelines but is tailored to the unique demands of esports.

Takeaways

Overall, Conditioning for Esports is a desperately needed one-stop guide for anyone involved in esports, from new players to seasoned professionals, coaches and even health practitioners. It offers a blueprint for not just surviving but thriving in the competitive world of esports, marking it as an essential read for those looking to elevate their game or understand the intricacies of this dynamic industry.

Available on Amazon: Conditioning for Esports: A Guide to Training and Performance

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