In this day and age, traditional sports are common in schools. Our society long ago concluded that, even though there are some inherent risks, active participation in sports is good for students. But with the recent rise of competitive gaming culture, a new question has presented itself: Should schools participate in esports?
One of the reasons schools consider sports important is because of how good physical activity is for a student’s self-esteem, physical health, and mood.
It is easy to see that gaming doesn’t provide students with the same physical activity that normal sports do, but there are many benefits of competitive gaming that can change a student’s life for the better. So, what are the benefits of esports in school?
1. Esports improves reaction time and hand-eye coordination
We’ve all heard this one. A parent tells their child that video games aren’t good for them. The child says, “but mom it’s improving my hand-eye coordination!” Though it’s no excuse for staying up till 6 am playing Minecraft, it is true.
Children who play video games, especially fast-paced games, have been shown to have increased coordination and reaction time. But don’t worry that’s just the tip of the iceberg.
2. Esports creates peer relationships
Much like traditional sports, almost all esports are team-based games. This means that students get to play alongside each other, make friends, and engage in their community. This is a vital part of growth, development, and mental health in any age group.Check out our post on ,esports and belonging written by Rebecca Yacono.
3. Esports participation can help improve critical thinking skills and adaptability
The most popular esports are games in which the players have to process hundreds of tiny pieces of information. The best players are constantly reassessing the information presented to them and adjusting their strategy accordingly. This is a great way for students to learn how to think critically and adapt even under a time crunch.
4. Esports can aid in the increase of self-confidence
Just like with traditional sports, participating in something they are good at improves a student’s confidence and self-esteem. Students that are good with computers, have great mental acuity or have faster than average reflexes can find a place to excel in esports where they may not have in traditional ones.
5. Esports promotes teamwork
Like we said, most esports are team-based games. Students participating in esports get to practice working together with a group of their peers. Just like projects in school (though likely a little more fun), this teaches kids how to value others’ opinions, work in tandem with another person, and share credit with their partners.
6. Communication is developed through esports participation
Regardless of where you work or who you work with, communication is a vitally important skill in our world. Remember the dozens of tidbits of information that players need to be processing? Well, to be a good esports team, students need to be coordinated.
To do that, each member on the team has to process all that info, decide what is worth communicating, and then efficiently tell their team. The faster they can do this the more likely they are to win.
7. Esports can help develop leadership among individuals
Every team needs a leader. In almost every esports, players are divided into specific roles with specific responsibilities, but in every game, moments come when someone needs to decide something for the team. This is when the leader steps up. Stepping into this role teaches students how to care for, encourage, and inspire a team.
8. Esports reaches students that traditional sports can’t
Esports share a lot of the same benefits as traditional sports, so why include them if you already have a way for students to work on teamwork, communication, leadership, etc.? Because not every student can play traditional sports or is skilled at them.
Toucouille is a great example of an esports player who was unable to participate in other sports growing up. Toucouille is a professional League of Legends player from France. He has a genetic disorder that makes his bones break more easily, and yet, he is currently playing on a professional team in the League of Legends Champion Series (LCS). He is one of the top competitors in North America.
In esports, it doesn’t matter how well-suited your body is to physical activity. A school esports team is a great way to help students who can’t or don’t want to play traditional sports find community and success in a competitive setting.
9. Esports teaches kids how to deal with failure
One of the hardest and best lessons that competition teaches us is how to deal with failure. When a player gives everything they have and still comes up short, it can be hard to handle mentally.
Failing when you gave everything can be tough. Like traditional sports, being on an esports team can teach students not to be afraid of failing and how to come back stronger.
10. Participating in organized esports can help students learn healthy gaming habits
Regardless of whether or not their school has an esports team, students will play video games. Video games are often used to relieve stress and can involve a lot of sitting. It is not uncommon for gamers to develop bad health habits like never working out, isolating, or eating poorly.
Having an esports team helps the students learn how to play games healthily. Any good esport coach knows that taking care of their physical and mental health actually helps students play better. This is an important lesson that will help students interested in video games balance their time and health habits with their passion for video games.
Garrett White lives in Houston Texas with the most amazing woman in the world, his wife. Anytime he isn’t running D&D, playing video games, or reading a book, he is writing short stories and articles about one of those things.