As esports have increased in popularity, so did its awareness of its benefits. For the uninitiated, the steps needed to create an esports league in your high school can be quite convoluted. In this article, we’ll list out the general steps you’ll need to take to start an esports league in high school, whether you’re a student or a teacher.
As esports have increased in popularity, so did its awareness of its benefits. Refining teamwork, increasing social emotional skills and honing responsible decision making are only a few of the attributes that are needed to succeed. With that, schools have also begun to see the same benefits, and discovered huge untapped potential in growth for students that have a roaring passion for video games. However, for the uninitiated, the steps needed to create an esports league in your high school can be quite convoluted. In this article, we’ll list out the general steps you’ll need to take to start an esports league in high school, whether you’re a student or a teacher.
Find Games People are Passionate About
Esports have always started from a group of passionate players with the drive to improve at the game. Whether it’s a casual game that’s easy to start like Mario Kart or Rocket League, or more complex games such as League of Legends or Starcraft, no multiplayer game is off the table.
If you’re a student in a school without an esports club, perhaps that’s something you can take leadership to establish! Any successful club grows alongside the interest of its members, so it could be useful to advertise your intention to create a club to gather interested members. It may also be useful to find a teacher or staff member who’s also passionate about video games and esports, as it adds another layer of authenticity to your club.
Narrow Down to Your First Game
Once you’ve established a few games that your community is interested in, it’s time to narrow down your selection based on what’s financially feasible for you.
Since you’re likely just starting out, your budget will likely be low, or even zero. This would mean games that require one device per person will likely be more expensive, like League of Legends or Fortnite.What’s more financially feasible would be couch co-op/versus games like Mario Kart, Super Smash Bros and Street Fighter. These games only require one console and multiple controllers, which is much more portable and cheaper than having to bring multiple PCs.
Knowing that you’re going to be hosting a tournament in the near-future, it can be beneficial to choose a game that’s easy to watch and understand. Games like Mario Kart and Wii Sports are intuitive to both play and watch, so those who do come to watch your tournament may be driven to join the tournament themselves next time.
Start Your First Tournament
Once you’ve chosen your first game, it’s finally time to start a tournament. Try to rent out a classroom, or perhaps even an auditorium if you can. Try to choose a room with a large screen to project the game for your spectators to watch.
Just like when you were advertising your club, advertise this tournament in advance to your school to get students and teachers to come watch. The more people come, the more attention you’ll get. The more attention you’ll get, the more potential players and spectators will come to your next tournament!
Tournaments can also be further enhanced by having a caster or two to hype up the audience during the game. Since you’re the one who’s organizing the tournament, you yourself could potentially be the commentator, but perhaps there’s someone else who isn’t playing, but still has a burning passion for the game.
Once game day comes around, set everything up in advance, wait for your players and your spectators to arrive, and enjoy the fruits of your labor!
Refine and Expand Your League
Hopefully your first tournament brought a whole lot more attention to your cause! Once you’ve found more interested members, it’s now time to expand your esports club, and there’s a few ways to do this.
The most straightforward way to do so is to start adding games to your club. You can host smaller tournaments, or even just have small competitions during club meetings to gauge interest for other games.
If you feel bottlenecked by budgetary concerns, one official way to fund your program is to look to colleges with collegiate teams. Many of these colleges are looking for fresh players graduating from high school who may be transitioning to college, and may be willing to fund your club to facilitate your growth. It may be useful to look for colleges that are within your area, as they’re most likely to support you. Take a look at the list of colleges that have esports teams, and contact the ones that are closest to you to see if they’re willing to support you either financially or with some form of mentorship.
Another way you can legitimize your esports club is to look towards team coaching. Tournaments are there to test your skill against others, and having a coach to facilitate your growth is a great way to identify your team’s strengths and weaknesses that may have been overlooked.
While you could potentially find a coach within your school, another way is to find a professional coach, which can legitimize your esports league and bring it to the next level. For that, Vanta can specifically bring you coaching that’s catered to your school’s specific needs. Our coaches are trained to coach players all the way from the beginner to advanced levels, all the while developing valuable life skills to take with you in the future. We also offer private coaching for the individual gamer looking to hone their skills.
If your school is looking for an easy, affordable way to get involved in esports, Vanta offers free league competition for middle and high schools across the United States. All you need to do is put your teams together, and we will organize competition for you!
After your first tournament, you can continue to expand your club by finding more members, introducing more games, or hiring coaching to legitimize your organization.