How Much Sleep Do Pro Gamers Get?

eSports Pro Gamer Late Night Sleep
Reading Time: 3 minutes

If you’re looking to become an eSports Athlete or a Pro Gamer, it’s important to know how much sleep the average player gets. The short answer is typically not enough. A study conducted by the ASSM, and KSSM (Asian Society of Sleep Medicine/Korean Society of Sleep Medicine) explored the risk factors and sleep intervention in eSports. Showing that the average amount of time pro gamers sleep is around 4-5 hours. 

This is due to a number of factors. Due to game duration it can be necessary to play for 10+ hours at a time to truly practice certain scenarios. Young adults in the 17-25 age group tend more towards evening activities. As well as the effects of adrenaline and hyperarousal. Combine all of that with caffeine, and well, you get some restlessness to say the least.

However, eSports teams are starting to take a bigger focus on the health and well being of their players. This includes nutritionists, sleep specialist, and team counselors for managing stress. Although eSports isn’t considered a traditional sport, teams are adopting the mentality to better protect their players. It’s well known that sleep deprivation has numerous negative effects. Not just on performance, but health as well. The average number of hours a pro gamer gets is steadily going up because of this. So the real question is, how much sleep SHOULD a pro gamer get?

You Snooze You….Win?

Pro Gamer Computer Mouse Alarm Clock Sleep

As always here is your disclaimer. I AM NOT A DOCTOR, NUTRITIONIST, SLEEP SPECIALIST. Okay.

Studies have proven that the optimal amount of sleep to maintain mental performance is 7-9 hours of sleep a night. This isn’t always easily accomplished however. The factors mentioned above relate to eSports teams that are primarily on circuits. In a lot of ways, it’s similar to sports teams that have packed schedules and travel around the country. But what about the player trying to get to that level. Trying to be signed by a team and become an official eSports athlete?

It can be difficult to squeeze in that amount of sleep, with a proper amount of practice. Often times players in that age bracket are also managing school, or work. Improvement in eSports can take a considerable amount of time, and you have to fit it in somewhere. So what can you do to help ensure you get that sleep, while also improving?

A Note on Streamers

Streaming can be considered a full time job. With people streaming for more than 10 hours at a time. Also considered pro gamers, the same rules apply written above. Sleep should always be a priority in any field of work.

Wrap Up

Although it would be nice to say that pro gamers get enough sleep. Right now on average they are just under the recommended levels, based on the recent research. A ton of work is being done to support eSports athletes all across the globe. Hopefully our tips and information above will help calm some fears, and continue your improvement.

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Caffeine and eSports Performance

Bleeding Edge eSports Cofeee
Reading Time: 4 minutes

I want to start this post off by emphatically stating; I am NOT a Nutritionist, Dietitian, or a Doctor of any kind. So I will not be telling you what you should or should not consume, or the quantity. However, I do want to analyze how caffeine or energy drinks can effect your performance in eSports.

Caffeine and eSports are forever intertwined. From drinking a ton of soda while playing in our living rooms, to where we are today with major brand sponsorships from Monster and Red Bull. For a lot of us it’s our go-to whenever we start playing. For others it’s just part of their every day life. Regardless of your reason, can you confidently assess the impact it is having on your performance? Are you aware of when it’s aiding you or hindering you?

With those questions in mind, let’s look at the effects of caffeine and the way it correlates with performance.

A General Overview

After researching hundreds of scholarly reviewed articles, the general consensus is there is no definitive understanding of the effects that caffeine has on cognitive performance. There are too many variables to truly give an answer. A persons health, age, or diet can play a factor. The tests used during the experiments don’t reflect that of a competitive eSport. Not to mention a lot of articles just contradict each other. However, there are some facts that we can go off of.

I Feel A Tingle

eSports Growth

One thing we absolutely know about caffeine is that in the “proper” doses it can improve mood and reduce fatigue. Improving mood is crucial when competing. It can help reduce the amount of self evaluation that is put into every micro decision. Keeping you calmer, while still being alert. Reducing fatigue is fairly obvious to any caffeine drinker. When we need to stay up late to study, or wake up on our way into work, caffeine has a positive effect.

However, caffeine alone doesn’t truly effect your cognitive performance. Combinations of caffeine and glucose (sugars) have been seen to improve cognition. By how much is still up for debate. Which is why you don’t see every eSports competitor drinking an energy drink before, during, or after a game. It’s not a make for performance. However, it can be a break for your performance.

…And Now I’m Crashing

Sleeping Before eSports Tournament

We have all been there. You are absolutely zooming, and then the crash hits you. Fatigue, headache, irritability, you name it. Studies show that too much caffeine, glucose and other ingredients can cause you to completely reverse the once positive effects of caffeine. Actually reducing cognitive performance, mood, and energy.

The tricky part for avid caffeine drinkers, is that we have the ability to build a tolerance for the effects. Meaning we need to consume more than a casual caffeine drinker to gain it’s effects. This mental and chemical blurring makes it much harder to be aware of how it’s impacting your performance. Sometimes you’ll drink some before a game and feel a boost, other times nothing, and sometimes you can feel your focus narrowing.

Why Is This Important?

Having a general understanding of caffeine and it’s effects can help you hone in on it’s impact on you. If you believe you have to drink an energy drink before you compete, or you won’t be at your best, this may convince you otherwise. It’s possible that the caffeine has altered your decision making at times, and you weren’t aware of it. Attributing it to just playing poorly.

Putting these things into perspective adds a layer to your performance, and consistency. More and more we are seeing huge pushes in the nutrition side of eSports. Being aware of your caffeine intake will put you a step ahead, and help you find balance. Especially when you consider the positive benefits it has, and your able to utilize them.

Years ago I worked an overnight job. Sometimes seven days a week. After working all night, I would drive out to tournaments and compete. At that time, I was drinking a lot of energy drinks, and they would get me to the alertness level I needed to win. However, after leaving that job and returning my sleep schedule to normal. I kept the same routine on my way to every tournament. Not realizing the effect it was having on my performance. My focus would narrow, I wouldn’t be able to adjust as easily, and I would lose my tournament endurance. Not all the time, but most of the time. Once I discovered this issue, I switched my drink of choice and my frequency. I immediately realized the difference, and my performance changed along with it.

For me, I stick to Coffee these days.

Hopefully this information brought you some awareness and helped you look at your relationship with caffeine differently as it relates to competition. 

If you’re looking to get into coffee, or already drink it but want to try something new. Check out the coffee that I drink. You won’t be disappointed.

eSports Replay Analysis Example (Written)

eSports Replay Analysis
Reading Time: 6 minutes

Recently, I reviewed a Super Smash Bros. Ultimate grand finals set for a client. I went into this review blind. I had never seen him play before, nor had I ever heard of him. For privacy reasons, I won’t reveal the player’s name.

However, I wanted to use the written feedback I gave him as an example for what you should expect when you pay for a replay review. Mainly I want this example to demonstrate how detailed the feedback should be, regardless of skill level. Typically the lower the skill level, the easier it is to provide meaningful feedback. Players who haven’t fully become proficient have obvious flaws and blind spots. This makes spotting mistakes and offering solutions very simple.

However, players who are very proficient tend to make less mistakes. Often their opportunities can revolve around mindset, and composure. Decision making at a higher level is often contextual, which makes providing meaningful feedback difficult as well.

Here is the grand finals set replay analysis I provided for my client (names have been replaced with X):

After watching your set and a few other ones including your loser’s finals set against X and your Quarter’s set against X. I have found some opportunities in your game that, if corrected, can help you continue your success. I will be breaking them down into 3 categories. Risk & Reward, Recognition of Opponent Adaptation, Approaching/Retreating reads.

First I want to get all of the basic stuff out of the way. You obviously understand your character, and the game quite well. If you didn’t you not only wouldn’t have been in Grand Finals, but you also wouldn’t have the placements under your belt that you have. (Did some twitter snooping).

Since you are as skilled as you are, and able to endure long tournaments, the opportunities become far more nuanced, and harder to work on. But they are necessary in this skill bracket. The main thing you are going to want to focus on is being as optimized as possible. Far beyond just your mechanical ability. You rarely flubbed a single input during the sets as far as I could tell, and your combo execution is just about perfect.

What I’m referring to when I say optimized, is optimizing your decision quality around Risk & Reward.

This is probably the easiest thing to correct and it only takes some reflection and re-watching of your footage to recognize what you’re doing.

There are many times in your sets that you are willing to fully commit an aerial on your opponent’s shield, or from far enough above them that it becomes telegraphed. In this instance it is mainly Dair, and Nair, though your Fair gets caught as well at times. I noticed this is a gentle habit that you carry over to your Wolf as well.

More often than not, when you are going for a Dair on your opponent. The % difference is large enough that, even if you land it, you can’t follow it up. Worse is if you don’t, the punish potential and sometimes kill potential that you end up in because of it is damaging to your overall game. In a lot of those Ken matches, if X had slightly better execution, those games would have turned out differently, and there are many examples of it during the set. The same goes for other aerials as well. Now, I know we have to take chances and commit to shield pressure at times, Smash is by no means a black and white game. However, becoming more aware of the Risk to Reward ratio when making those decisions will greatly increase your staying power in matches, and help you get closer to your win condition. (Up-Tilt B-air…etc)

Here are some timestamp examples of what I mean.

2:20

4:21

4:53

6:38

11:46

My recommendation to improve on this is to rewatch your footage. Check some of those timestamps out and ask yourself what other things you could have done in those positions. Play them out in your head one by one. Match them up to what you believe your opponent would and can do, and pick out the most optimal that still helps you maintain the pressure you’re looking for.

 

I struggled to get into your mind and understand your decision making in neutral. I watched it over and over and over again, but it was hard to spot the ‘why’ in some of your actions. So I started to focus specifically on how you were taking damage/how you were dealing damage. 

You utilize dash dancing a lot to control space and find openings. Which is great. However at times it looks a lot like guessing and less like reading. Almost a coin flip at times, and some of those times lead to you being shield punished and others it lead to huge combos for you. Now I know how neutral in Smash works, it is often like that. On top of that, I can’t fully get into your head and understand what you were specifically looking for at times. But the way you operated in neutral a lot of the time, looked as though you were okay with taking trades. 

Very rarely did you dash dance shield to bait something from your opponent and force them to over commit onto your shield. Or to not get caught in a post dash animation. Although this can seem small, it played a very large factor in why I believe your opponent switched to Terry, and the benefits he got from doing that.

Here are some timestamps of when your shielding really benefited you and helped turn the fight.

2:14

9:15

15:58

I strongly suggest you start exploring the idea of Approaching/Retreating reads. It won’t be 100% as there is still a lot of guesswork involved. However, trying to recognize when your opponent might commit or is going to retreat will help you avoid taking unnecessary percent, and also start your combo game more fluidly. This will help optimize your neutral, and make it less of a coin flip. It will also help you whiff punish more, and of course not be whiff punished as much. This will overall help with tempo, as well as conserving energy in earlier rounds of pools and matches. The best thing you can do is just actively make it a portion of your practice. When you’re in friendlies or early rounds, focus on the exercise of your opponents positioning.

 

Here is an example of a retreat that cost you some percent 

9:00

Here is an example of an approach read that helped you gain percent 

13:38

Falco has an insanely good air to air game, and being able to force your opponents into your strengths goes a really long way in controlling the full tempo of each match. 

The last thing I want to point out is Recognition of Opponent Adaptation. Throughout the set we are always trying to adapt and make adjustments as we go. Often times a little too late, or not at all. The biggest adaptation your opponent made was:

  • Not over committing anymore. He stopped playing the same neutral game that you were, and became far more stationary and defensive. 
  • Reading your movement and catching you in mid dash/when you were stationary and shielding
  • Using larger, longer lasting hitboxes to combat your neutral. 

This I believe is why the Terry pick worked out so well in his favor (minus all other variables). He was able to use forward tilt, dash attack, and side B effectively against you because of your neutral style. Though Ken has great hitboxes, they are often less reliable from the ranges he needed to break through your neutral. It becomes very evident during the Terry Matches because his spacing is just outside of your range, while still inside of his. 

Here are some examples of his adaptation

9:10

11:09

16:22

Truthfully it looked as though he was working on these adjustments starting in Game 3 of the first set. Which is why after the reset, the games looked and felt different. 

I’m not saying that you didn’t make any adjustments or change what you were doing, however being able to recognize these subtle shifts in an opponent’s play and get there before they do is critical at this skill level. 

 

Mid-set reflection can be difficult without stirring too much self talk, though still important. I suggest making small mental notes after every single game, win or loss, and then letting them go as you play. Allowing your active mind to focus on what’s right in front of you. Of course, habit analysis of your opponents before tournaments is huge, and set reflection is as well.

 

I believe the best example of all 3 things that I have pointed out to you can be found in game 3 of the second set starting at 19:30.

If you take these three concepts and study the set as well, you should be able to see the subtle things that you can improve on. I hope that this has some impact for you, given your established ability. Look at some of your other sets as well, and see if you can spot any habits as well. Like your F-air out of shield timing or your dash grab game. 

If you would like me to review on of your replays, send me a message on twitter @CzechFreeA

 

 

 

Owning Your Performance (Accountability in eSports)

eSports Growth
Reading Time: 4 minutes

I would like to take this moment to be grateful for gaming as a whole. Among it’s many benefits, it is one of the few complex, time consuming activities that can provide you immediate feedback. In the form of tournament losses, game over screens, death timers etc.

Throughout our lives we participate in many activities that we don’t commonly see the result of. We can make what appears to be an inconsequential decision today, and see an explosive result from it a year from now. Alternatively, we can set forth on a triumphant journey and have it fizzle out without us knowing whether or not it impacted us. Either way, it’s hardly a 1:1 ratio, and the results we do obtain are usually ambiguous at best.Continue Reading–>

eSports Teams Need to Invest in Sport Psychology

Reading Time: 10 minutes

Recently I wrote a blog post titled ‘Lose The Battle, But Win The War’. The post was intended to motivate and reassure players who are going through a slump. The players, who despite their amazing accomplishments, feel like quitting. I wrote the post focusing more on their will to compete and not their results. I had the opportunity to speak to a few players after posting that blog, and discussed their current situations. Leading to a much faster recovery from their downward spiral. Some of these players were sponsored by well established companies, and it got me thinking. 

Is a player supposed to just fix their own mindset? 

Are they left to their own devices to find a way out of a slump? 

What happens if they never recover and the mounting pressure of losing sponsorship only makes it worse? 

How much money is at risk for a sponsor if their player(s) fall into a performance slump or have a meltdown on social media?

How can we retain a level of enjoyment in eSports while also pushing for peak performance?

All of these questions and many more need to be answered as eSports continues to grow. Especially if you’re a newer organization looking to form a team, but more so if you’re an established entity trying to survive. The answer is to turn to a practice used in athletics and competition today.

eSports teams need to invest in Sport Psychology, and the rest of this post will show you why.Continue Reading–>

Enhancing Your eSports Mindset

White Xbox Controller eSports
Reading Time: 5 minutes

In almost every blog post we have written, you will see that we always address the reader’s experiences in eSports, as a journey. Although, ‘trek’ might be the more accurate term. Finding a career in eSports is not something that will happen over night. Becoming the best at a specific game also, won’t happen over night. The truth is, becoming a professional in anything takes time, and effort. Unfortunately for competing in eSports, there is no traditional path. Every great player’s success story is different. For most of the G.O.A.T’s, eSports was still in pre-infancy. It wasn’t like it is today, with thousands of teams, broadcasts, and content to consume.

Luckily for us, eSports is getting to it’s prime position. Growing, evolving, and becoming more and more studied along side traditional sports. For us, we have the advantage of coming in with a different mindset. Unlike the previous greats, we are able to see the obstacles in front of us, light at the end of the tunnel and a small window into our dreams. Idols to look up to and emulate, and trophies to win. We have the assurance to know that our ‘hobby’ can become a career. All we have to do is go beyond a competitive mindset, and enter into an eSports Mindset.Continue Reading–>

How Do I Get Better in eSports? (2019)

eSports Keyboard
Reading Time: 4 minutes

How do I get Better in eSports?

What a question.

I went to Google, and typed in “How do I get better in eSports?” to find some quality information regarding improvement in eSports. I figured with the recent Fortnite World Cup, there would be a number of websites trying to cash in on the buzz of eSports. To my surprise and dismay, I found very little of relevancy.

eSports Google Search

Your very first result, the featured snippet, doesn’t even address the question properly. The rest of the results well… If they aren’t dead links, they are dated as far back as 2014. Although I could go on for hours about this. You clicked this post looking for solid advice, and I’m here to give it to you.

The Best Advice You Can Find

STOP! Before you continue, you need to understand a critical key here. There is no microwave, instant oatmeal recipe to getting better in eSports. Anyone who presents their information otherwise is only trying to cash in. eSports like all things, takes time.

Okay, let’s go.

1. Commit To eSports

If you want to get better. If you want to become a better eSports player, or have a chance at making a career out of this. YOU HAVE TO COMMIT.Continue Reading–>

Coaching Sessions – Project ‘Jeez’

Reading Time: 6 minutes

I never thought I would end up being a coach. With my competitive nature and selfish desire to win, I would rarely give out any advice. Even if I did, I didn’t believe they would be able to understand it the way I understood it. Or, if they didn’t implement it, I questioned if it was worth my time in the first place. However, as time went by, things definitely changed.

Being surrounded by people who either had great potential or victim mindsets sparked a flame in me. Winning stopped being the biggest desire, and helping steer players down the right path took it’s place.

I have coached many players, in many different games. Seen a myriad of results that both myself and my players have been very proud of. After a long break, I am happy to say that I am back at it again.Continue Reading–>

The Day After – Post Tournament Loss

Chess
Reading Time: 6 minutes

We’ve all been there. After hours of playing, grinding, studying we feel ready to go into this next tournament. In fact during warm ups, or the session the night before we can’t be beaten. “This will be the tournament where I get out of pools.” We say to ourselves. But then, after a crushing loss that sends us out of the tournament we are left with a flurry of thoughts and a surging energy. Some of which are hurtful, helpful, and hopeful. This is a devastating moment, but it’s effect’s don’t have to be negative. Let’s take a look at these reactions to better help us identify them in the moment.

Reactions are Relative

Electric

Not everyone shares the same reactions after a loss. In fact each variable could probably be broken down into a separate post all together. So for this example let’s make a few assumptions. Continue Reading–>

Mental Rehearsal – The Fading Form (Micro Visualization)

Maze
Reading Time: 4 minutes

Micro Visualization is an incredibly powerful tool that you have probably used all your life, but never had a name for it. The effects it can have on your performance, effort, or overall enjoyment are incredible. However, I believe there is something preventing us from fully taking advantage of it. Before we get into that, let’s take a brief look at what Micro Visualization is.

Can I Have a Cookie?

Cookie

Micro Visualization is Mental Rehearsal in it’s most actionable and basic form. It’s what you do before a job interview. Going over each question you may be asked, each answer you will give in return. How will I sit? Will my hair be okay?Continue Reading–>