Your child loves to play video games. They will dedicate hours upon hours to hone their gaming skills. And they believe they are going to make a career of gaming in Esports. Your child believes they will be the next top-earning Esports star.
As a parent, you may be concerned about the risks of supporting your child’s dream. Is their goal any different than a child who wishes to be the next top professional athlete, musician, artist, or dancer?
Statistically, becoming a professional athlete is considerably more challenging than becoming a professional video gamer. The pool of aspiring athletes is vast, and only a tiny fraction make it to the professional level in traditional sports. The competition is fierce, and success often depends on factors like genetics, early exposure, and access to resources.
In contrast, professional gaming, while still highly competitive, has a lower barrier to entry. The esports industry is expanding rapidly, with numerous games and opportunities, making it relatively more accessible for talented players to achieve professional status. However, both paths require immense dedication, hard work, and a degree of luck to succeed.
In the exhilarating realm of Esports, where professional gamers compete at the highest levels and rake in top-dollar earnings, the journey to success can be a double-edged sword. While the glitz and glamour of Esports stardom are undeniable, the road to the top comes with its own set of unique challenges, chief among them being the ever-present risk of burnout.
Let’s delve into some of the world of Esports and explore the potential burnout risks faced by successful players, even those earning substantial incomes.
Intense Training Regimens
Esports professionals maintain rigorous training schedules, often spending several hours each day honing their skills and strategies. The relentless pursuit of perfection, lack of sleep, the highs and lows of the dopamine rush, and the extreme focus needed to play at an advanced level, can lead to physical and mental exhaustion, with players pushing themselves to the limit to maintain their competitive edge.
As top earners in the Esports world, players face enormous pressure to consistently perform at their peak. Fans, sponsors, and teams have high expectations, making any slump or decline in performance deeply scrutinized and stressful. Gaming provides instant reward and positive feedback. Diminished results can bring the kind of negative feedback that could impact self-esteem.
Travel and Jet Lag
Esports competitions often require players to travel extensively, crossing time zones and dealing with jet lag. The constant on-the-go lifestyle can disrupt sleep patterns and add to the overall stress.
Many successful Esports players supplement their income by live streaming their gameplay. Maintaining an engaging online presence while competing at the highest level can be taxing and time-consuming, often blurring the lines between work and leisure.
Lack of Off-Season
Unlike traditional sports, Esports often lack defined off-seasons. Players may find themselves competing year-round, leaving little time for rest and recovery.
Isolation and Loneliness
The constant demands of Esports can lead to social isolation as players spend countless hours training and competing, often alone in a room, undisturbed by any possible distractions. Loneliness and the absence of a support network can contribute to burnout.
Physical Health Neglect
Extended periods of sedentary gaming can take a toll on players’ physical health. Neglecting exercise and proper nutrition can lead to health issues, such as eye strain, carpal tunnel syndrome, heart and vascular issues, and posture-related issues like back and neck pain.
Mental Health Challenges
The intense pressure and constant scrutiny can impact players’ mental health. Issues like Anxiety and Depression are not uncommon, and the stigma surrounding mental health in Esports can deter players from seeking help. There can be a toxic stigma surrounding Esports that often portrays professional players as invincible and resilient, fueling the misconception that they shouldn’t struggle with mental health issues. This harmful narrative can pressure players into silence, fearing that seeking help may be perceived as a sign of weakness or inadequacy, thereby hindering their access to much-needed mental health support.
With substantial earnings come financial responsibilities, and players may feel compelled to maintain their success even if it comes at the cost of their well-being. This drive to continue to play, is due to the uncertainty of career longevity in this highly competitive industry. The fear of a short-lived career and financial instability after retirement can drive players to prioritize financial gains over their own health and well-being.
The transition from a successful esports career to retirement or a different profession can be anxiety-inducing. Players who have dedicated their lives to gaming may struggle to find purpose and fulfillment beyond their gaming careers. It will be important for a gamer to consider having a back-up plan, a good education, and a clear path moving forward, so they reduce this struggle.
Video Gaming Addiction
The allure of success and top-dollar earnings in the world of esports can sometimes carry with it the potential risk of video gaming addiction for even the most accomplished players. The constant demand for practice, competition, and maintaining a high level of performance can lead to prolonged gaming sessions. For successful esports players, the pressure to remain at the pinnacle of their game can be all-consuming, making it challenging to step away from the screen. The resulting addiction can manifest as a detrimental obsession that negatively impacts physical health, mental well-being, and personal relationships, potentially jeopardizing the very success these players have worked so hard to achieve. It underscores the importance of maintaining a healthy balance between gaming and other aspects of life to mitigate the risk of addiction in the competitive esports world.
Just as a parent would support a child who is pursuing a professional career in a sport, art, music, or dance, it’s important to consider professional Esports in much the same way. Create a plan to invest time and money into the child’s future, that includes boundaries and structure around physical health and fitness, personal care, good sleep habits and healthy diet, family time, and in-person activities outside of gaming.
Supervision and close monitoring are essential, watching for any signs that indicate the inability to follow through with the guidelines that are set out, and any signs that burnout may be at risk.
While the world of esports offers immense opportunities and financial rewards to successful players, it also presents a complex web of burnout risks. It is crucial for esports organizations, sponsors, parents, and players themselves to prioritize well-being, adopt balanced training regimens, and seek support when needed.
As esports continues to evolve, addressing burnout risks becomes paramount in ensuring the long-term health and success of the industry and its players.
Success in esports should never come at the expense of a child’s physical and mental health.