Interview January 15, 2021

Mental Health of Esports Players: Why it is Important to Have a Psychologist in Team

For a long time, esports disciplines were not taken seriously, especially in the post-soviet countries. But 2020 year was a great one for the esports industry in Ukraine, despite the world pandemic situation. In September, esports received the status of an official sport in Ukraine.

Football, boxing, wrestling, figure skating — psychological support is provided for completely different sports, because the psychologist is the second most important person in the team, after the coach. As with traditional sports, esports athletes are not only physically but emotionally stressed. Therefore, for esports, the profession of a psychologist is the most in-demand, although relatively new.

 «Excitement, pressure, burnout are the constant companions of esports athletes»

The most important task of a sports psychologist is to help players to solve these problems, establish a psycho-emotional state, relationships within the team and each player, and, of course, to help them become even stronger and more confident in the game.

Last year, the sports psychologist became part of the GetInPro team for a while. Marina Mospan — Ph.D. in Psychology, practicing sports psychologist for Ukrainian national teams, advised the finalists of the first season of the GP during the boot camp.

We talked to Marina in a short interview to understand the nuances of the work of a sports psychologist with esports athletes, and how important her help is in the career and life of each player and their families. Watch the full interview with Marina Mospan on our Youtube channel.

Here are the key points of our conversation.

Success factors

The fight against laziness, bad habits, and "floating" daily routine comes to the fore. Starting to play esports, you begin to live completely differently and in many moments, you do not belong to yourself anymore, but only to the game and the team.

Physical and mental fitness is also important. The esports axiom is that without working on your thinking, you will not develop your gaming thinking and skills to achieve the maximum heights in the industry.

Unlike other sports, a professional esports career begins in adolescence. And we all know that this is a rather difficult period for any person.

Therefore, one of the success factors in this area is the presence of a mentor nearby, who would support, give the right advice and help to preserve and realize the desire, with which a novice player enters professional esport.

A psychologist can become such a mentor. It will help the player to pump and develop skills for teaching self-control, self-regulation, and self-healing, working with their mental processes.

Teamwork

In team sports, we always say, that the team is a unique organism, which means we shift the emphasis to such moments as interpersonal interaction, psychological climate, and compatibility.

The player must understand his place in leadership positions and competitive struggle, as well as sensibly assess his behavior here and now. There is a fairly serious psychological work on personal qualities and processes. When you embark on the path of a professional, you understand that you can say goodbye to the person you were before. 

Mind development

I always teach my esports athletes that they must live life to the fullest. This means that in addition to sports, they should have other interests and hobbies through which they could also explore the world. They must connect with new people and make friends.

Esports players have very intense training. They spent 10-12 hours, sitting at computers, immersed in the virtual world, to which they gave all their strength and nerves. Therefore, they need to enjoy a full, eventful life, which implies not only total dedication to their work.

Even leaving the virtual world periodically, you can relieve that psycho-emotional stress, which requires constant training.

Leadership

A leader is a person who knows how to lead others and he is capable of doing it right. Having become the captain and leader, the player must correspond to this status not only personally, but also professionally. After all, the captain is responsible for professional work and the quality of its implementation by all players in the team.

For parents of esports athletes

If a future professional athlete was born in your family, do not rush to clip the wings of his or her dream. Take a closer look at your child and his attitude towards this matter. 

If he is passionate about the world of esports, puts enough effort and work into every game, then perhaps without clipping the wings of his dream, you will help to reveal the talent and reach that peak in professional eSports, which, thanks to your faith in him, will be successful. In Ukrainian high school esports teams or communities — a rare thing, but you always can give support to your child by enrolling him in an esports academy.

For esports athletes

When a situation arises in a family when a teenager wants to defend the vision of a particular issue about the profession that he wants to master and be in it, this is, first of all, an attitude to the work he is engaged in. This is the relationship with other people, towards life in general, as far as the ability to work on oneself is present.