Table of Contents
To balance the cycle of obligations and virtual training can be hard. Returning from school or work, a swift sequence ensues, involving changing clothes, finishing yesterday’s pizza leftovers, and sipping on an energy drink. You’ve mastered the basics for survival and hastily power up your gaming machine. Within minutes, all neon lights illuminate, the online client launches, and everything is set for a new match in Fortnite or another game. In the meantime, you might call your friends and you’re prepared to engage in combat with players from around the globe. Your loadout is ready, your fingers hover over the keyboard, counting down the final seconds of matchmaking.
Today, you feel you’ll manage to get pushed even higher in the rankings, and the only obstacle is the gradual depletion of the energy drink in your can. The match commences, and you accumulate initial hits. The initial game gradually wraps up, and the next one follows because only playing can propel you forward. However, a new adversary emerges, and it’s not bugs or lags. It doesn’t come from the virtual world; its harbinger is repeated yawning and heavy eyelids.
This adversary primarily targets your gradually declining gaming performance and focus. Its sole aim is to send you to bed, which, willingly or not, it will inevitably achieve after some time. The toll of this situation includes the loss of XP, a poorer score, and no progression. If you’re wondering if anything can be done about it, you’re reading the right source code. Today, we’ll focus on how to optimize and, more importantly, improve your e-sports gaming performance in a healthier way, so you can ascend to new levels without any external bugs disrupting your gameplay. So, settle comfortably into your gaming chair, because the game is about to begin!
In the article, you’ll learn about these tips to improve your performance:
Gamer vs. E-Sports Athlete
Before delving into individual tips, it’s important to note that there’s a difference in approach to performance between regular gamers and e-sports athletes. It’s akin to the difference between basic and elite character classes in RPG games, where each has its skill tree and strength. Most regular gamers don’t address their performance in any significant way and don’t take their keyboard or gamepad as seriously. These players are basic or commercial consumers, interested in games like GTA 5, prioritizing gaming more for fun. However, these gamers sometimes boost themselves with coffee or an energy drink to maintain alertness during play after a demanding day at work or school.
E-sports athletes or professional gamers represent an elite class of players whose primary focus is on advancing levels and success. They train hard, participate in tournaments, analyze every pixel of their performance, and their statistics improve. The e-sports approach to gaming is thus drastically different from that of regular gamers and more akin to the preparation of professional athletes. Our article delves deeper into the world of virtual athletes.
How to Become a Better E-Sports Athlete and Player
Below, we’ll explore various tips on how to enhance your gaming. Some of these tips can also be applied by casual players, so there’s something here for everyone.
1. Get Enough Sleep for Optimal Respawn
Adequate sleep is one of the most crucial factors for performance and regeneration in all aspects of life, including e-sports. The lives of gamers often revolve around online tournaments, training, and travelling to various competitions, camps, and events. Sleep is often overlooked, with late hours dedicated more to gaming than the bed, relying on energy drinks for recharge. While your in-game character can respawn almost instantly without performance loss, we humans need a longer respawn in the form of quality sleep to function optimally under these conditions.
The success of e-sports athletes depends mainly on fine motor skills and cognitive functions. Key elements include visuomotor performance, attention, and working memory. All these areas are based on cognitive functions, and their performance can be negatively affected by a lack of sleep. Insufficient sleep can decrease your reaction time and the speed of information processing. Poor sleep on the keyboard also slows down the speed of processing visual stimuli, meaning your reactions in the virtual world might be slower regardless of your monitor’s refresh rate. [1 – 2]
Instead of constant consumption of energy drinks or other pre-workout supplements, it’s crucial to prioritize quality sleep. The ideal duration is considered to be 7 to 9 hours, with no one-size-fits-all recommendation. Sleep routines are personalized offline events that may differ for each individual. It’s best to test what works for you and then focus on optimizing your sleep routine.
Consistency is key, ideally your routine should start about 30 minutes before bedtime. The aim is to relax and prepare for sleep, which might be challenging, especially after hours of virtual action. At least half an hour before sleeping, log out from Steam, Battlenet, Epic, or any other online client you use for gaming. Then, allocate time to hygiene, followed by non-productive relaxation activities. This doesn’t mean playing Mario on the Switch but engaging in activities like reading a physical book. Afterward, dim the lights, relax, and try to unwind until you fall asleep. More sleep-related tips can be found in our article that focuses on falling asleep quickly. [3 – 4]
Additional tips for optimal respawn can be found in an article that explores other ways of resting in case sleep isn’t effective.
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2. Manage Your Food Inventory
E-sports players often spend six to ten hours a day gaming and training to hone their gaming performance to perfection. It’s a time-demanding schedule that typically leaves no room for dedicated meal breaks. Hence, during Fortnite sessions, they loot various junk food chests, which certainly doesn’t benefit their gaming performance. After all, nutrition serves as fuel for our bodies, and only an adequate supply of proper fuel can drive sufficient performance. Therefore, e-sports athletes should consider that they’re actually engaging in a sport and need to take care of their bodies similarly to football, basketball, or other sports players.
This perspective has led to an increasing number of professionals in the e-sports world focusing not just on their gaming level but also on their diet. If you’re serious about e-sports, it’s recommended to swap energy drinks, pizza, or kebabs for a varied and balanced diet providing optimal nutrition. Each meal should include quality proteins, complex carbohydrates, and healthy fats. E-sports athletes should opt for leaner meat sources for proteins, such as poultry or select beef, or their alternatives like tofu or seitan.
- Proteins themselves promote muscle growth and maintenance, help with satiety, and are crucial for immune system function.
- Complex carbohydrates (also known as polysaccharides) gradually replenish energy for e-sports athletes, unlike simple sugars found in sweetened carbonated drinks, which quickly deplete. Ideal examples of complex carbohydrates include rice, pasta, potatoes, bulgur, couscous, oats, and various legumes.
- E-sports athletes should also consider sources of healthy fats, beneficial not just for heart health but also for brain function. These fats can be found in flaxseeds, flaxseed oil, rapeseed oil, walnuts, or fish.
If you’re interested in the principles of nutrition, don’t miss our article What is a Healthy Diet and How to Learn to Eat Healthily.
3. Keep an Eye on Your Mana in the Form of Water
Hand in hand with nutrition goes mana in the form of hydration. Players engaged in a series of matches can easily forget to drink and expose themselves to signs of dehydration. These may include muscle weakness, headaches, fatigue, slower reactions, or dizziness. Needless to say, all these symptoms can negatively impact e-sports performance. Acknowledging and addressing this issue is crucial for players aiming to excel in their field. So, how can one remember to maintain a proper hydration during gaming? [5 – 6]
A basic aid might be keeping a water bottle within view of your monitor, reminding you to stay hydrated. For more motivation, you could use an app with notifications for drink breaks. A good tool is a hydration routine tailored to your gaming schedule. Drink before each match and use breaks, matchmaking intervals, or after games for hydrating.
However, developing the habit of consuming fluids regularly should also be adopted outside gaming, throughout the day. Sufficient hydration starts well before the game’s matchmaking begins. Apart from drinking, consider snacking on perks like fruits and vegetables with high water content instead of chips during gaming. Examples include watermelon, cucumber, oranges, or strawberries.
To be specific, general recommendations from the Institute of Medicine of the National Academies suggest a daily water intake of 2.7 litres for women (approximately 11 cups) and 3.7 litres for men (approximately 15 cups). Alternatively, you can guide your intake by the ratio of 30-45 ml of water per kilogram of body weight. A good indicator in this case is the colour of urine, which should be light to clear. [7 – 8]
4. Move Your Body, Not Just the Mouse
Serious e-sports gaming involves hours of sitting. Professional players train for roughly 7 to 10 hours a day. However, if this activity isn’t balanced with sufficient movement, it can lead to health issues. According to WHO, adequate exercise constitutes at least 150–300 minutes of moderate-intensity activity per week or 75–150 minutes of high-intensity aerobic activity weekly. The lack of movement not only brings problems stemming from a sedentary lifestyle but also poses a higher risk for cardiovascular diseases, various types of cancer, depression, anxiety, fatigue, diabetes, and obesity. Needless to say, none of these issues will enhance your gaming performance. [9 – 10]
E-sports players must also level up their physical fitness, albeit in a somewhat different way than elite athletes. Supporting this argument is a study from 2020, observing League of Legends players. It found that even brief intense exercise before playing LoL contributed to a 17% improvement in gaming performance. 
The impact of physical activity on mental health and cognitive performance is particularly interesting for e-sports players. The Asics’ Mind Games study indicated that a 16-week training program involving various activities which were gradually intensifying led to improved cognitive performance in participants by an average of 10%. Problem-solving ability increased by 9%, and information processing speed received a 10% boost. [12 – 13]
Similarly, a 2020 study suggests that aerobic exercise appears effective in enhancing attention. Exercise is beneficial for mental health, reducing anxiety, depression, and promoting a positive mood. All these factors could be crucial pieces in the overall performance puzzle for an e-sports player. Moreover, they can benefit from other advantages of physical activity outlined in our article on the reasons for exercising. This effort can be pushed even a bit further by the so-called green exercise, which brings other benefits associated with being in nature. [14 – 15]
It’s ideal to engage in some form of strength training that can be done at home. Our article focusing on bodyweight exercises can assist you in this regard. More experienced e-sports players might elevate their physical levels in the gym following a reasonable plan.
5. Don’t Forget Your Mental Loadout
Competition in the world of e-sports is greater than ever. Players are earnestly working on improving their skills like precision, reflexes, and other gaming abilities. However, a significant part of performance resides in the mind, where it’s crucial to take care of your mental loadout. Many e-sports enthusiasts often overlook this aspect because of vigorous training, competitions, and the quest to become better and better. Hence, mental preparation should step into the game, much like in traditional sports. It usually involves stress management, goal setting, and maintaining a positive mindset.
Mental Preparation Techniques for e-sports Players:
In connection with mental preparation, various sports psychology techniques can be applied. You can try the following steps :
- Set Main Quest Goals: Defining specific, measurable goals can help e-sports players effectively measure their efforts and work on improvement. Goals might relate to a specific game (e.g., improving shooting accuracy) or a player’s performance (e.g., better team communication). Our article detailing specific steps in this regard could assist you in setting your goals.
- Utilize Mental Graphics Card – Visualize: Visualization techniques involve mentally envisioning success, steps toward it, or various scenarios to enhance performance. For e-sports players, this could involve visualizing specific gameplay or strategies for defeating opponents or more effective teamwork.
- Relax in Power-Saving Mode: Similar to other athletes, e-sports players can support their mental preparation through relaxation techniques. Deep breathing or meditation can help find inner peace, improve focus, aid in better sleep, and reduce stress.
- Activate Self-Care: Positive self-talk or comprehensive self-care can help players maintain a positive mindset and motivation during training or tournaments. Engaging in activities that fulfill you internally, such as sports, hobbies, a break from constant social media scrolling, or any self-care routine, could be beneficial. Good examples include reading a book, visiting the cinema, meeting friends, spending time in nature, or spending a day with your family.
Part of an e-sports player’s mental preparation should also involve stress management. Techniques mentioned above or additional steps can aid in mastering this complex quest. For instance, former professional Counter Strike player Ron “Rambo” Kim, who organises various training and workshops sessions for young e-sports enthusiasts, suggests starting from the basics. These basics involve practising slow breathing whenever you feel stressed. During his career, he adhered to a simple technique; inhaling through the nose and exhaling through the mouth for at least 5 to 10 seconds. 
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6. Try “Permitted Cheats” in the Form of Dietary Supplements
Behind the success of e-sports players lies hard work, self-discipline, and a strong motivation to be the best. Striving for excellence opens opportunities for so-called “allowed cheats,” which are dietary supplements specially designed for gamers. These are substances aimed at maximizing the abilities of every player. In practice, they can help improve focus, attention, memory, provide energy, and support cognitive abilities. 
From this perspective, players are particularly interested in cheats known as nootropics and adaptogens. Nootropics are often referred to as smart drugs, commonly comprising plant extracts sought to boost brain functions. They can positively influence memory, thinking, concentration, reaction speed, or overall mental performance. Some well-known nootropics include ginkgo biloba, caffeine, and choline. 
Another interesting cheat for players isn’t the legendary “HESOYAM” from GTA, but adaptogens. Mostly in the form of powder, tablets, or capsules, their composition is derived from fungi or specific plants. They are sought to better manage stress, anxiety, or fatigue and adapt more easily to these feelings, which are common parts of e-sports performance. Some famous adaptogens are ashwagandha, ginseng, or rhodiola rosea. 
In the case of supplements, e-sports players can go even further, often opting for vitamins and minerals. For instance, vitamin D is worth mentioning as it is mainly sourced from the sun, and people who spend a lot of time indoors, which applies to players, are prone to vitamin D deficiency. Vitamin D is crucial for functions like immune system support, bone health, and muscle function. Another example is zinc, which contributes to optimal cognitive functions. And as we mentioned earlier, that’s crucial for e-sports players.
If you don’t want to delve into supplement options too much, comprehensive mixtures like XBEAM pre-workouts for gamers and e-sports players might be the simplest choice. These contain a carefully crafted composition ideal for all the needs of players, including adaptogens, nootropics, vitamins, minerals, and other substances for maximum gaming support.
7. Matchmake with Better Players
One way to improve your e-sports performance is to set your matchmaking to face better players. Whether you’re playing Fortnite, League of Legends, CS:GO, Call of Duty, EA Sports FC, or any other game, facing stronger opponents can help you push your boundaries that may stagnate during matches with weaker players. However, it’s crucial not to take any potential losses or initial hiccups in your gameplay too personally.
Playing against superior opponents is primarily about observing their gameplay strategy rather than focusing on a sequence of precisely placed hits. If you persist, this approach can eventually help you toughen your skills. You’ll learn better defense tactics, pushing your performance further. Additionally, this method provides an opportunity to gain healthy self-confidence and test your abilities against players who are better than you. Gradually, this can shape you into a pro gamer. 
8. Analyze Your Gameplay
Boosting your gaming skills requires understanding where you make mistakes, which will help you either avoid them in the future (or at least minimize their impact). One excellent tool in this regard is screen recording. Many professional e-sports players recommend this to beginners. If you play on consoles, you can use the native recording features. However, on a PC, you have more options to choose from a wide range of recording software like Restream or Bandicam. One secure option is using the native software from your graphics card; for instance, Nvidia offers the sophisticated GeForce Experience interface with image recording capabilities.
After your gaming session, don’t forget to review your gameplay and try to identify errors. Then, develop strategies on how to improve. You can also try a professional e-sports plan. It’s not like a physical exercise routine where you train chest/biceps on Monday, back/triceps on Tuesday, and shoulders/legs on Wednesday. Most e-sports training revolves around scrimmaging – playing against other pro players, often in a team. Different strategies are developed, and players work on specific skills. This training usually concludes with match analysis and review of recorded footage, where e-sports players, along with analysts, evaluate what went well and what didn’t in the game.
During the next scrimmaging sessions, players are expected to try and correct the identified mistakes. After the official team training ends, e-sports players often continue individual training for some time. Moreover, many professional e-sports teams have started incorporating other forms of training lately, including collaboration with sports trainers and therapists. However, the golden rule for anyone training at home and aiming for gradual improvement remains the aforementioned recording and analyzing gameplay, which is vital for spotting and rectifying mistakes. 
9. Optimize Your Gaming Setup
In the realm of e-sports, your physical posture during gameplay matters. If you’re reclining during matches on your gaming chair or table, you might not secure many points in the rankings. Moreover, this posture can cause back pain due to prolonged sitting. It all starts with your gaming chair, and it’s an investment you shouldn’t hesitate to make. Players in a healthy seated position tend to be more focused on the game, naturally increasing their chances of success. According to a 2009 study, better posture also contributes to greater self-confidence.
For e-sports, sitting upright can be one pixel in the overall performance mosaic, and it’s worth investing in a quality gaming chair. However, optimizing your gaming setup should also include an appropriate gaming desk and headphones. Quality headphones help isolate external noise. Forget about Spotify or YouTube, as music can be distracting. In this regard, high-quality gaming headphones can help you fully perceive the game’s sounds. They’re a fundamental pillar in popular FPS games like Counter-Strike, where you must hear players’ footsteps and gunfire direction. 
10. Be Patient and Don’t Think About GAME OVER
Long hours of gaming or training can become repetitive over time. You might find yourself traversing the same track, scoring goals, or winning flag battles with a team on a map you already know. Loot-centric game players might spend hours collecting items just to build one coveted weapon. Similarly, you could make significant progress in a game, only to fail at the end, sending you back to the beginning. Regardless of the specific scenario, gaming demands patience.
Just like in any other activity where you aim to progress, improvement in gaming involves a natural form of lagging. This can’t be solved with a more stable internet but rather with your patience. Do you want to get more points, shoot more accurately, navigate tracks faster, or score more goals? The recipe for this lies in repeatedly performing every gaming action that leads to your quest’s goal to solidify your technique.
You’ll score more goals in EA Sports FC only by repeatedly attacking the goal. You’ll improve your final racing time by repeatedly navigating specific tracks, learning to take cleaner turns, and reinforcing your knowledge of when to accelerate and when to hit the brakes. The reward for your hard and consistent work will be all those beautiful cut-scenes, rare achievements, XP, and moments of victorious triumph. [24 – 26]
From the tips provided, it’s clear that improving your e-sports performance doesn’t have to be an obstacle worthy of the final boss in Dark Souls. It’s important to gradually unlock your skill tree and think not only about the game itself but also about additional perks in the form of physical and mental health. Analyzing your gameplay, matching with better players, or using “allowed cheats” in the form of dietary supplements can help boost your reflexes and cognitive abilities.
However, you shouldn’t forget that among the pixels creating the perfect image of an e-sports player is a healthy diet and balancing gaming sessions with sufficient physical activity. Because if a player is fit in the real world, it can pay off twice as much in the virtual one. We’ll be rooting for you on your path to conquering the leaderboards.
If you liked the article, don’t forget to share it with your teammates. They can also find effective tips in it that can lead your team to victory.
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