The relevance of supervision of cybersportsmen as independent athletes

Chronicle Francois Savard

In the coming weeks, the Federation of Electronic Sports of Quebec (FQSE), whose admin powers have just ended, will submit a formal request for recognition to the provincial government.

I must say that the popularity of e-sports is not the same as it was 20 years ago, when I began to get involved in the competitive world of video games. We were far from the phenomenon that fills the stadiums today and the millions of dollars offered in scholarships to winning teams.

A large crowd attends e-sports competitions.

The popularity of e-sports (e-sports) is growing.

Photo: courtesy of MLG

At that time, there were absolutely no workouts, workouts or events for esports athletes. Players who wanted to improve had to turn to more experienced people, whose advice often consisted of spending as many hours as possible in the game. grind“,”text”:”grind”}}”>grind.

This is advice that I myself thought was good advice when I competed and still dreamed of becoming a pro.

However, in order to optimize their fine motor skills and hand-eye coordination, as well as gain the milliseconds of reaction time sometimes needed to win, an athlete in e-sports, as in any high-level sport, must maintain excellent life hygiene. .

Many professional esports teams partner with fitness professionals, sports psychologists, and even nutritionists to reach this level. Why don’t we do the same for young video game enthusiasts?

Role of government

In the public sector, since no e-sports federation is recognized by the government, there is virtually no oversight of video game competition. Anyone can say or do anything, and there are no standards or weights.

This is not the case at all in traditional sports, where sports federations have a vested interest in obtaining accreditation. Not only do they receive financial incentives such as grants, but they also have a regulatory framework that must be followed to avoid slippage.

In the coming weeks, the FQSE will submit a formal recognition request to the provincial government. This is also my last mandate as an outgoing director.

Many players fear that gaining accreditation will ruin events that are currently doing well in Quebec, such as LAN parties.

Several hundred players crowd into the large room through the rows where the computers are set up.

LAN parties are a big celebration where hundreds of video game lovers gather to play together, traditionally on a local network, but more often on online servers.

Photo: Radio-Canada/Simon-Rail Laplante

I fully understand the interest in these holiday gatherings; I have organized about ten over the years and it would be difficult to count the exact number of events I have participated in. This is a unique experience that I recommend to video game lovers at least once in a lifetime. However, here we are talking about meetings that should be purely entertaining, not competitive.

If this is a competition, then every effort should be made to ensure that the tournament schedule allows esports players to sleep well and take breaks to get up and stretch when game rounds last more than 45 minutes. The consumption of energy drinks should also be monitored.

In higher level competition, doping tests should also be considered to catch players who are illegally taking drugs such as Adderall’s psychostimulant in hopes of improving their performance.

High risk of injury

Another issue often overlooked by the general public in video game competition is the risk of injury. Of course, we are not talking about concussions, which happen all too often in sports such as hockey or football. Rather, it is about overload injuries such as tendonitis or carpal tunnel syndrome.

Unlike many esports players who had to end their professional careers abruptly, I was lucky and didn’t have to have surgery. However, I had to be treated by a specialist for a year due to problems with tingling and electric shock sensation in my arms and elbows.

Young people play video games online.

Ergonomics is important in esports.

Photo: iStock

Even today, if I don’t pay attention to my posture while playing, if I spend too much time on the computer or if I train with weights, the symptoms return.

However, this type of injury is preventable. In addition to regular breaks, players can incorporate simple warm-up and stretching exercises into their routine.

Obviously, without leaving them without help, young players will learn what good practices should be introduced into their habits.

A good example of educational institutions

School leaders — both public and private — that offer e-sports programs are already focusing on teaching players best practices.

According to Carl Levesque, director of the Arvida High School in Jonquiere, the purpose of these programs is not to encourage young people to play more, but to teach them how to do it better.

Most eSports programs have conditions that must be met in terms of academic performance and physical activity – this is particularly the case for Cégep de Drummondville, which requires students to participate in at least two hours of physical activity per week. If we really want to encourage young people to lead a healthy lifestyle, the best solution is to integrate them into the practice they love (in this case, video games).

Parents whose children follow this type of program often receive comments that their children open their game consoles or computers at home less and are less sedentary than before. One mother even mentioned that her son has started cooking!

These programs are excellent vectors of motivation against dropout and an invaluable source of self-esteem and a sense of accomplishment. They also allow you to learn how to communicate and work as a team, feel valued in pushing yourself forward and acquiring new skills.

Young people play video games on the computer.

Students of the Académie Sainte-Marie playing e-sports.

Photo: Courtesy: Accademia Sainte-Marie

Of course, not all programs are the same. For example, the Center deformation Professionalnelle des Riverains (CFPR) and the Esports Academy of Canada have invested in research and development to streamline their offering. On the other hand, other initiatives are supported at arm’s length by a member of the teaching staff who do their best with limited allocated resources.

Either way, it’s better than nothing at all. Young people will still play, supervised or unsupervised.

My purpose here is not to scare you. Several esports players have had interesting careers and never had health issues. Rather, my argument is that while the competitive landscape of video games is changing rapidly and bringing a lot of positivity to the lives of its followers, it is still young and there is room for improvement.

All that is needed is a little support to keep as many young people as possible able to continue to thrive without going over the top. Recognizing the FQSE as a sporting authority would be the first step.