Early research into the growing esports industry highlights a need for better coaching to prevent burnout among professional players. The study, conducted by researchers at the University of Waterloo, identified several areas, including player fatigue, mental stress and peak performance conditions, that require in-depth research to improve coaching and player performance.
“They burn out because they spend long hours sitting at desks playing and training,” said Bader Sabtan, a systems design engineering PhD student who led the study. “It results in all kinds of problems, from mental health issues to back and wrist injuries.”
In a survey of professional League of Legends teams, it was found there are virtually no standardized coaching approaches or techniques to guide young players. Instead, players work to remain competitive in the constantly changing team battle video game, one of several with lucrative fan followings around the world, by practicing 12 to 14 hours a day, six days a week.
Coaches who participated in the study unanimously agreed that methods must be developed to make practice more efficient and strategic to reduce the demands on players.
“I was surprised to learn even top professional coaches don’t have systematic training methods,” said Shi Cao, a systems design engineering professor and a member of the Games Institute at Waterloo. “Nothing is supported by scientific evidence or research. Just as physiology and kinesiology research supports traditional sports, cognitive psychology and human factors engineering can support mental work like esports.”
The study, Current Practice and Challenges in Coaching Esports Players: An Interview Study With League of Legends Professional Team Coaches, appears in the journal Entertainment Computing.
(All information was provided by EurekAlert!)