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Putting “sports” into Esports

If you don’t like when your mom is telling you to eat vegetables or do some physical exercise every once in a while, then this article… is still something you should read. You are going to learn why and how practicing sports can make you a better gamer and, by default, a better Legends of Runeterra player.


If you don’t like when your mom is telling you to eat vegetables or do some physical exercise every once in a while, then this article… is still something you should read. You are going to learn why and how practicing sports can make you a better gamer and, by default, a better Legends of Runeterra player. 


As you already know, my name is Constantin “CastMin” Dumitru, caster for many community tournaments and peak Top 20 player on the EU server, Funsmith Burn aficionado, and interview host for all these great player winning tournaments every week.


Today we are going to learn why practicing any sport should be important for you. This is not going to be some generic Ooga-Booga, but rather a compilation of scientific results explained in simple words and my personal experience, as I have been at both extremes of doing sports and doing absolutely nothing while playing Runeterra.


Improvement



If you are here, you most likely want to learn about specific benefits that you can get so you can up your Runeterra game by exercising. I won’t keep you waiting and lay a few of them right away:


~ Better grip of the situation at hand – this essentially means you will be able to filter a lot easier the information you are presented with, get rid of the useless parts, and make decisions faster and easier (Colcombe & Cramer, 2003).


To be honest, that is why I think I have never needed a deck tracker in my life. I always have the understanding of cards being played up to the point, threats that can meddle with my game plan at specific moments, and the sharp mind to decide if I need to play around with them based on the information that is available to me.


Here is the fun part: you possess the same amount of information as I do. It’s just that you are not processing and correlating it in the same way and at the same speed.


~ Improved mental and physical endurance – this cute little guy 



 is responsible for your energy level which is impacting your endurance directly; long story short, more physical exercises, more mitochondria, more energy, better

 endurance;

This is vital for you as a Runeterra player, especially if you are a very competitive one, because:


grinding on ladder takes a lot of time, therefore a lot of mental and physical fatigue will be involved;


Seasonal tournaments are now 9 rounds, which means at least 9 hours of clenching your butt-cheeks on the same chair that you need to be prepared for and food and water alone will not be able to cut it for you;


–  practice can go on for hours and it will keep increasing because new interactions will be added to the game, new decks will emerge, and learning in this game means being able to go the long way and prepare accordingly.


Avoidance


This subcategory is going to tackle the biggest issue you and I will be dealing with in a game like Runeterra and that is BURNOUT. This is defined by the Merriam-Webster Dictionary (2021) as “exhaustion of physical or emotional strength or motivation usually as a result of prolonged stress or frustration”. I am going to repeat the three areas you are going to feel a severe downfall: 


PHYSICAL, EMOTIONAL, and MOTIVATIONAL.


That doesn’t sound great, huh? Well, it’s not and you should take steps towards eliminating the risks.


It is quite simple, as 30 minutes of daily cardio exercise is more than enough to protect you against the effects of accumulated stress and anxiety that you can suffer. And oh, boy, you will need it after you miss lethal, your opponent high-rolling you, your low rolls, and… yeah, I probably shouldn’t bring those up. I am supposed to help you 😂

If you want to understand how much of a game-changer is playing stressless, do this exercise:

Take any streamer that gets frustrated after a few games, starts flaming all over, and blames any aspect of the game (been there, done that), and then take a streamer like WhatAmI or MonteXristo and compare their performances. You will understand exactly what am I talking about and why people like the last two I have mentioned are still playing and performing, while others might have already quit.

Why do PROs practice sports?

Really. Why do they, when they could just play the game day in and day out? That was the question Tuomas & Veli-Matti (2016) asked in their study “Do E-Athletes Move?”, in which they asked around 115 PROs of the industry about the importance of sports in their lives. These are a few of the results they obtained:

~ Around 1.08 hours of the average 5.28 they are spending on training is dedicated to physical exercises;

~ Most of them (55.6 %) believe that including physical exercises in their training is having a positive impact on their performance while playing their games;

~ 81.7 % of them have a physical exercise program and 70.4 % of them are planning it themselves, which means you can do it yourself, too.

A fun fact to enclose this category is: These e-athletes are doing physical exercises more than three times the globally recommended amount (Tuomas & Veli-Matti, 2016). They can’t all be just sports fanatics, can they?

My personal experience

It is for this particular reason that I wanted to bring this article to light.

As I have said before, I experienced both extremes of practicing sports regularly and not doing anything at all.

The first period took place a few months before Runeterra’s release, in 2019, and continued until late July. If you are following me, you know I am talking about the time I used to practice Martial Arts. I was so into it that I would start my day at 5 AM in the gym and end it at 10 PM also in the gym.

“Why are you telling me this? Do you just want to boost your ego or something?”

Maybe😂

Jokes aside, it was during this period that I managed to hit Top 40 quite consistently every season, playing for around 6 hours per day, having classes around 6 hours, and working on my college projects and final thesis for hours. As you can see, it is a lot of stress and mental pressure that I should’ve felt, yet it was quite easy for me to accomplish my tasks, just because I had that boost of energy after the training early in the morning and the late training to put me to sleep, so I can start a new day fresh and ready for action.

But in the previous year, when I needed to take a break because of Covid, I could sense my performance dropping dramatically. No more energy to play the game, no more will to play the game, and no more accomplishments in the Runeterra scene, even though I was at home, in my room and nobody would bother me too much.

If you ever need motivation, just close your eyes and try imagining both of these scenarios.

Which one would you pick?

Closing Words

I wrote this article as a way for you to improve but also as a warning. I want you to acknowledge that you need to perform at your best, whether it is gaming or something else, and be prepared to do so.

Sports and physical exercises still have many unknown positive effects on your performance as a gamer and I would be very glad if researchers would put more effort into studying this field, as the research up until now has been quite scarce.

Whatever the future may hold, I hope you enjoyed this article and found it useful.

Don’t forget to check out my Twitter as I will keep you up to date there about my future articles and future interviews with top competitors that will also share tips towards improving your game.