Psychologists in Esports: Profession Features

21 January 2020 Psychologists in Esports: Profession Features

Psychologists have long been sought-after in conventional sports, but this profession is brand-new to the esports sector. Nevertheless, the demand for specialists supporting esports teams grows year by year. Well, how do psychologists help professional players in practice?

What is the role of psychologists in esports?

Top-class sports implies both high physical and emotional loads. A coach helps to cope with the first issue while a skillful psychologist goes to the rescue in the second case. It is referred to both traditional athletic disciplines and esports.

Support has a huge impact on athletes’ performance and ultimate outcome: it allows to unlock the human potential as well as motivate for achievements and failure overcoming. Champions in elite sports are formed using the whole team of specialists: coaches, doctors, managers, and psychologists.

Psychological support experts are highly in-demand in esports, but this profession is just gaining popularity there. Esports psychologists assess and exploit the potential of players, advance them, and work on the result stabilization.

The majority of teams still prefer to change a team roster, fire one players, and hire others rather than to develop their talents. Esports athletes who receive support frequently show better results and steadily improve their skills. It is long-term investments in potential champions, but they are worth money and time spent.

Examples of esports psychological support

Examples of esports psychological support

One of the world’s best-known specialists is Weldon Green, a mental training coach who cooperates with League of Legends esports squads. He has worked with such teams as Copenhagen Wolves, Counter Logic Gaming, and Ember. The coach promotes the Japanese work culture concept, which means maximum focus during competitions and total relaxation after them.

Due to Weldon’s efforts, a lot of esports teams have rapidly succeeded and have learnt to support each other in critical situations right while matches. Following the fruitful project collaboration with the coach, organizations hire full-time psychologists for esports athletes. They saw the efficiency and realized the importance of such a professional.

Another successful example is Mia Stellberg from Finland. She has cooperated with a Danish squad – Astralis – that has finally won ELEAGUE Major: Atlanta 2017. According to organization representatives, the psychologist has made a great contribution to this achievement.

Mia specializes on the support of CS:GO teams and has experience in working with Dota 2 squads. She specifies the following key goals of esports psychologists: providing stable team performance and assuring the well-being of players. Ms. Stellberg consults esports organizations remotely and conducts specialized seminars.

Esports psychologist: obligations and skills

Esports psychologists can focus on three areas: backing certain players, solving team spirit issues, and assisting coaches. Professionals are able to fulfill assigned tasks by various means, but in general, esports psychologist operations can be divided into two primary stages: diagnostics and improvement.

Analytical objectives include:

  • preparation of players’ psychological profiles;

  • assessment of working capacity motivation;

  • diagnostics of cognitive functions;

  • analysis of team psychological atmosphere;

  • estimation of working conditions.

Enhancement methods:

  • teambuilding training;

  • development of cognitive functions;

  • personal growth and self-control lessons;

  • individual work with players, etc.

Certainly, the full list of psychologist’s tasks and activities is much bigger. It can be changed and complemented depending on the situation and requests of certain esports squads.

Psychologists’ opinion: the image of esports athletes

Psychologists’ opinion: the image of esports athletes

Assistance in emotion management is crucial to both well-known players aimed at the outcome and newcomers. Failures in major competitions cause anger, annoyance, and disappointment that subsequently lead to inattentiveness and motivation losses. Esports psychologists aim to teach athletes to cope with these emotions and strengthen their psychological state.

Mia Stellberg believes that being an esports player is a lot more complicated than participating in conventional sports competitions. Young players striving for success and implementation of their ambitions at any cost require support most of all.

The specialist thinks that esports athletes should keep a balance of physical state, professional development, and private life. She asserts that personal work with all team members is a crucial aspect: discovering their potential, motivations, specific characters, and expectations.

Profession establishment challenges

Addressing psychologists is mainly a foreign trend: teams officially express their gratitude to specialists on par with coaches after victories. In one of the interviews, Ninjas in Pyjamas stressed that they achieved the result after a bad streak only due to the assistance of a psychological training coach.

Esports psychologists are not quite popular in the CIS countries because of mindset features and wrong perception of such specialists. Many players consider esports psychologists not as psychological preparation coaches but as headshrinkers who will dig into their soul. Fortunately, a similar stereotype is gradually getting ruined and teams are looking to cooperate with sports psychologists.

Esports psychologists are often asked to improve the interaction among players to make their communication more productive. Besides, experts are expected to teach esports athletes to focus on gaming during training and competitions as well as not to be affected by emotions.


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