6 Dec





 min read

How To Play Esports in Middle School

A trusted mentor, an open mind, and consistent play schedule are the top three things we recommend for any student looking to play esports in middle school.

It’s no secret: middle school is an odd time. As everything changes, carving time to hone a new skill may seem extra daunting at the ripe age of twelve. 

For middle school students interested in esports, mastering their passion for games may seem even more elusive. Afterall, how do you approach telling your parents you want to play video games for a career? 

Source: Pexels

Thankfully, times (and parental perceptions) are changing toward gamers’ favor. 175 colleges and universities recognize the value of esports as members of the National Association of Collegiate Esports (NACE). As more varsity esports teams are created, the need for youth esports programs increases. Likewise, as public interest in esports rises, the path from middle school gamer to professional adult player begins to defog. 

In this article we’ll review our three must-haves to play esports in middle school. Without a strong mentor or coach, a consistent practice schedule, and open-mind, many young students may find it challenging to compete in a rapidly-growing competitive landscape. 

Middle school students need a leader

This first piece of advice can apply to any student interest, not just video games. A reliable adult figure is vital to a student’s journey. These types of role models ground kids while challenging their comfort zones and perceptions. 

In esports, a knowledgeable mentor is arguably even more crucial. Since esports is still a new student/athletic pursuit (the earliest scholarship for esports was offered less that ten years ago in 2014), a mentor or coach is necessary to help guide students on where the industry is going and what skills they need to improve (and how quickly they need to improve them). 

Vanta offers virtual coaching ideal for middle school students in need of a mentored approach to their gaming passion. This private coaching is tailored to the student and the game they love. 

A private coach is a great alternative when a brick-mortar day school does not offer an esports club or team. 

For middle school students interested in playing esports, knowing who to ask for help on their specific dreams is just the first part of the road towards professional gaming. 

Consistent play and open-minds

Middle school aged students are on the cusp of young adulthood. If they have worked with a mentor to define a goal, they’ll need the consistency to reach it and the flexibility to change it should circumstances change. 

As mentioned above, esports is still in its educational infancy. The requirements for esports scholarships will differ from school to school. Games will change and update. And the post-education professional landscape may be radically different from one year to the next. 

Traditional sports, like football, are fortunate to have developed clear systems. From flag football to the NFL, there are structures well in-place (like training camps, scouts, and collegiate divisions) to take students from the school-yard grass to football stadiums. 

Esports is still getting its repeatable footing. Where a mentor and esports coach can get you robust skills and guidance, only the student can chart their goals in the industry. 

If a middle school student wants to be a better Mario Kart player but isn’t quite sure they want to play as an adult, that’s ok. Learning skills and creating a disciplined training schedule early prepares their mind for the potential responsibility of playing competitively later. Or, they may apply those skills of patience and perseverance through games and apply it to other aspects of their lives. 

In another example, a middle school student may be dead-set on becoming a professional athlete in Rocket League, but, maybe the competitions won’t be what the student wants to do by the time they graduate. The need for nimble and open-minded thoughts about esports (and skills, overall) helps take a middle school student from casual gamer to professional adult, no matter the field they choose. 

Middle school goes by face. However, those years are some of the most influential for young minds. It’s the first age many children explore autonomy and agency about their goals. 

For middle school students interested in playing esports, it is an adult’s responsibility to guide them. 

Whether you find a private coach for their game or encourage them to sign up for a school esports club, initiative begins with a little push from a trusted corner. The more that students believe in themselves and their games, the natural development of consistency and open mindedness will occur. Without an open mind and regular gaming practice a student will struggle to remain engaged or competitive in an industry so committed to innovation.

If you are a gamer looking to get started in esports, you can check out our private coaching offerings, or join in on one of our leagues. If you have friends at your school interested in playing, look into starting a team at your school!

While not every student can own a gaming PC, many students can find ways to begin their esports journey. With support from parents, teachers, coaches, and mentors, students can take initiative and responsibility towards their esports career as early as middle school.

Spread the word.

Vanta BLOG