Throughout the decade, esports has grown into a dynamic industry with endless opportunities for everyone. It's changed how the world sees games as a viable profession and allowed people to realize that esports and traditional sports aren't so dissimilar. It's evolved so much that esports players are receiving the same treatment as conventional sports athletes in preparation for tournaments and maintaining performance levels.
Nowadays, with million-dollar tournaments everywhere, cultivating various in-depth competitive scenes, young individuals are stepping into the industry and developing their careers through esports. And unfortunately, not many succeed due to the pure pressure it takes to become a top-tier esports player. However, the people who succeed engrave their names into the industry and inspire an entirely new generation of people to do great things in the ecosystem. And with so many performing history-defining feats, it begs to question—how does one go pro?
What Is An Esports Pro?
Esports pros are individuals that partake in high-end competitive gaming. Usually seen participating in premier tournaments or major third-party competitions, esports pros represent the most influential organizations worldwide. They sustain superhuman abilities throughout their gameplay at the peak of their performance thanks to high-demanding exercises, dietary routines, and training sessions lasting over five hours every day.
How To Go Pro In Esports?
Most people stepping into esports would think it's all about being good at playing games, and although that's partially right, there's much more to it than meets the eye. The fundamentals start with a player's skill to perform well in a game, with teammates, or against real competitive players. Like anything, players get better at playing games with continuous practice. Still, eventually, in all esports pro careers, there comes the point wherein they're unable to surpass their human limits.
Eventually, when a player can't improve their gameplay, outside factors like dietary routines, exercise, and healthy habits come into play. And even after honing the mind and body, one esports athlete can't expect to beat five others. This stage is where it all comes up to how well players can adapt and work with other pros to accomplish a more significant goal together—winning through a combination of teamwork, synchronization, and strategic thinking. So, competitive gaming might seem like esports players just play games relatively well, but the highest-paid athletes work almost every day for long hours to stay on top. And do so, alongside many others, further refining their craft to its perfection.
Choosing The Game And Climbing The Ranks
To become an esports pro, it all starts with playing games and practicing your gameplay skills. The first step is simply enjoying a game during free time and honing the different abilities required throughout gameplay. Gamers interested in multiplayer online battle arenas (MOBA) such as League of Legends or Dota 2 need to learn how to multitask, make split-second decisions, and strategize two steps ahead—and putting it all into play alongside your team.
Games like Counterstrike: Global Offensive, Call of Duty Modern Warfare, or Tom Clancy's Rainbow Six Siege, which are first-person shooters (FPS), require high-sense reaction speed, muscle memory, and natural hand-to-eye coordination; all performed rapidly. There are similarities between all triple-A esports titles, but ultimately, they all vary and require different skillsets, if not somewhat altered. This factor means that a professional League of Legends player can't instantly transition to Call of Duty Modern Warfare and expect to perform amazingly. It's essential to choose an enjoyable game to learn; that's also fun to play.
Every competitive game title has a ranking system, whether it's VALORANT or Halo Infinite. The potential and improvement of a player's natural talent escalate by playing and climbing these in-built ranking systems. These systems allow players to gauge their ability for that game and any upcoming tournament. It's a great starting point to build up the necessary skills to become an esports pro.
Finding The Right Team And Playing In Tournaments
After acquiring the required abilities to perform exceptionally during any grassroot or amateur tournament, the next step is to find a good team that can back up your strengths and cover your weaknesses. Groups or grassroot organizations are found all over, in Discord servers, across Twitter, and even through in-game friends made along the rank climbing journey. There's always someone that wants to put their skills to the test.
Once a team is found, it's all about training together consistently to a point wherein the group's synchronization and teamwork are superb. After realizing that the team's capable of competing effectively and professionally against other squads, it's time to scout and enter amateur tournaments or leagues.
Scouting for grassroot tournaments isn't the most fun thing and usually requires time and effort to look for approaching events to participate in with your team. Esports players can find tournaments or leagues through all sources of social media, esports competition organizers, or Discord servers. After finding and entering the first tournament, don't be surprised that things don't turn outright. Most of the time, it takes a while before teams reach stages wherein they perform on the same level as others that have played significantly longer. Other reasons like anxiety during games, uncontrolled emotions after losses, fear of taking risks, etc., factor into the success of many teams' competitive runs, so it's no surprise that it takes a while for individuals to adjust to the climate. It's crucial for individuals taking their first steps in the environment to move slowly, adjust appropriately to the competitive ecosystem and pressure of making decisions affecting games, and allow physical and mental health to take priority throughout the start of a player's esports career.
The transition from playing across amateur tournaments to third-party or premier competitions is totally up to a player's capabilities to perform and excel. This guide allows players to begin cultivating their journey, reach more significant milestones, and tune themselves into the next rising star. But at the end of the day, it all comes down to how much perseverance a rising esports player has to put in the hard work necessary to become a top-tier pro.
Keeping Performance Improving
On the note of esports health, what differentiates amateurs from rising esports pros is how they care for their mental and physical condition. It's vital to understand the severity esports athletes face later in their career when gaming improperly and in an unhealthy gameplay state. Esports players should treat their job the same way an NBA player or MMA fighter would naturally. With how much stress esports pros put on themselves, it's likely to see their skillsets degrade over time and combat the inevitable early retirement if untreated. It's essential to tune the mind and body together for the best performance.
Jay Hunter is a freelance writer, editor, interviewer and aspiring developer passionate about gaming and esports. In his spare time, you'll find him losing LP in League of Legends or watching hours of esports on end.