When the game tests the mind: The battle against stress
When discussing competition in League of Legends, we often overlook the stress that players may feel during matches. Indeed, stress and anxiety are much more prevalent in esports than in traditional sports. Unlike the latter, an esports player can only rely on their mental faculties during games.
Esports has gained popularity in recent years and has attracted millions of professional and amateur players. However, this has also led to a high level of competition and increased pressure to perform at a high level.
Several factors come into play when discussing stress among professional players in general:
- In esports, players must constantly make quick and precise decisions. Moreover, operating in a virtual environment can increase the pressure and stress felt by players.
- Esports competitions can last for several hours, or even days. Players must maintain their focus and performance level throughout the competition, which can be very mentally and physically exhausting.
- In League of Legends, communication is essential for success. Players must be able to communicate quickly and effectively with their teammates while maintaining their focus on the game.
- Financial stakes are also another factor. Some competitions offer very high cash prizes, which can create pressure on the players.
A scourge taken very seriously by teams
The mental health of players is a subject that matters a lot to organizations. The most common and feared "injury" for players is burnout. They find themselves forced to put their careers on hold, which could harm their performance.
Several players are followed by sports psychologists, who do their best to eliminate anything that could cause stress in a player. For example, many modify their training sessions or even their overall lifestyle.
One of the best examples is Kyle "Danny" Sakamaki, former botlaner for Evil Geniuses in the LCS. As a reminder, the player had decided to pause his career to focus on his mental health. Some accusations circulated on social media, with a close associate of Danny claiming that Evil Geniuses did not support the young competitor. These accusations were refuted by Danny a few months later on Twitter:
"There have been a lot of rumors, and I want to tell you that it's entirely my doing and that the accusations against EG are not true. The truth is that the pressure of being a pro player overwhelmed me until I reached my breaking point, and EG supported me until the end."
Today, the player has completely put an end to his professional career but continues to work as a streamer for Evil Geniuses.