Training & Work Life Balance in Esports

Stephen Ellis “Snoopeh” talks with Mark Register about the work life balance of a top tier player and how no one really knows the optimal way to train and find that balance:

Mark Register – How do you build relationships within your team and still have a life outside of the game house?

Stephen Ellis – What is…”life” Mark? I don’t know what you’re referring to… so how do you maintain a relationship with your team while still having a social life outside?

This is one of the kind of sacrifices in a way of being a competitive athlete or anyone who excels at the top of any profession. You have to understand that eighty-plus million people play League of Legends…just one game…eighty million people play League of Legends every month.

You want to be at the top 100 of that. That requires a degree of sacrifice whether you like it or not. If you want be the very best at something you have to sacrifice whether you want to be the best violinist in the world, the best gymnast, the best skier or anything. It requires a level sacrifice and I think there should be somewhat of a balance.

Even when you’re trying to be the very best at something you still need some sort of mental break from the environment you’re in or else it could actually be detrimental to your performance. But you also have to understand that as you’re an athlete, or musician, or an artist there’s going to be a level of sacrifice during that period and I think some players get caught up in…and I mean I can understand it myself…I went through a little bit myself.

You think you need to have the social aspect but I think it’s a sacrifice of being the very best at your craft and you just kind of have to own that and understand that if you want to be the very best at something you have to commit to it but your mind has to be in a good place.

You have to have somewhat of a balance but not think that it’s a necessary component throughout these years when you’re trying to master your craft.

What teams are figuring out is the right balance of being healthy but still going all-in with training and answering…what does that entail?

To preface that work-life balance when you’re at the top 0.01% of any profession…I think it’s almost an unhealthy addiction that you’re trying to compete at the highest level, there are going to be sacrifices and I think there are various teams out there implementing different models to find the optimal way of training and none of them know what the optimal way of training is…they’re just trying different things.

We’ve seen Steve for example at Team Liquid trying a 10 man roster to see if applying pressure from people on the bench to the main roster will motivate them, or are maybe he could take players off the main roster and give them a rest for a couple weeks likes SK Telecom somewhat does with Faker, were he’s not playing all the time only in key matches.

Then there’s the model where you’re not in a team house, you’re going to an office, and you’ve got a separate living environment. There’s various different methods being put in place.

Encouraging people to go to the gym on a daily basis, people are encouraged to do team building exercises.

There’s all these different models that teams are picking up to optimize training for an Esports professional player but no one really knows the right way we should be doing it.

It’s the same for sports honestly we’re significantly younger than sports and we have a lot to learn but even in traditional sports I don’t think there’s an optimal training environment our methodology that’s in place…instead we learn every day.

Phil Jackson, when he was coaching in the NBA had all these philosophies about the mind and the spiritual aspects of all these different philosophies that you could add to coaching…everyone else thought it was weird.

I think there are different things you can put in place but I wouldn’t say it’s about the work-life balance. If you want a work life balance…probably an office job is the better route for you.

But if you want to be the number one in the world at something…you’re going to have to have some sacrifice there.

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