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#mental health esports mindset

Esports – Not just bright lights and amazing content

Burnout at 23!!!

https://esportscontinental.com/uzi-officially-retires-from-league-of-legends/

China’s most famous e-sports player, Jian Zihao, has officially retired from gaming aged 23, citing ill-health reported the BBC in June 2020 (See the full article here)

He had been a professional gamer since 2012, playing League of Legends under the name of “Uzi”.

THE IMPACT

“As a result of staying up late for years, a fatty diet and being under insurmountable stress, last year I found out that I was type-2 diabetic.”

He went on to say that he had changed his work schedule, exercised and “taken medicine”, but that his situation had not changed.

“My mental state is not as good as it was before,” he said.

This is very telling of his lifestyle and the pitfalls of being a pro gamer.

THE GROWTH

https://fnatic.com

In my 8 months of being involved in Esports as a coach, I’ve come to realise gaming as a profession is relatively new, yet esports is growing at a considerable rate. The (former) CEO of Fnatic, Sam Matthews one of the leading Esports organisations with its headquarters in the UK, has this to say about growth.

“While the esports model has always had the keys to success with a continued rise in prominence with a larger global audience, the pandemic accelerated the awareness of the phenomenon. The pandemic highlighted the importance of digital streaming platforms and traditional broadcasters followed suit, reproducing the successful esports model. With broadcasters on board, we anticipate seeing the line of distinction between traditional sports, entertainment and esports continue to blur.” (Read the full article in Forbes here)

THE DILEMMA

Balance

With growth at such a fast pace, the pressures and expectations to succeed suddenly become a lot more real and here’s the dilemma. Young adults who dominate the demographic of gamers need to be resilient and understand there is more to winning than practicing up to 14 hours a day.

They have to consider downtime, diet, physical activity, spending time with family and friends and creating a schedule that allows the person to thrive and find a balance

When the person thrives, the professional gamer thrives

Uzi, the example above, didn’t know or understand the value and importance of finding that balance and personally I believe he can make a comeback with a few mental adjustments and changes to his lifestyle.

The question is does he want to get involved again?

THE POTENTIAL CHALLENGES

If you follow traditional sports like football (soccer) basketball and cricket for example, you can google many examples of players struggling under the pressure, suffering from anxiety and falling out of the game they once loved.

Do we want the same to happen to the young esports players? Let me remind you of the words of Sam Matthews “we anticipate seeing the line of distinction between traditional sports, entertainment and esports continue to blur.” Already we know the lines are already blurred from a mental wellbeing perspective.

For 7 years as a mental performance coach, I’ve coached footballers and basketball players and spoken to many former players about their issues and anxieties including how they were treated by their managers, their agents and others who wanted to exploit the players only for their own financial gain and I’d like to think a governing body to support the wellbeing of esports athletes is at least being considered. If not, I’m ready to lead on creating that project.

THE BRILLIANCE OF ESPORTS

League Of Legends Final 2019

If I were to join a team or even start a team, I’d place the wellbeing of the player at the centre of the organisation because I know if the players aren’t thriving the organisation will fail. Yes I’m aware there will be others waiting in the wings, but is that the message I’d want to send? If you can’t handle the pressure we will simply replace you? Definitely not!

Technology, content, apparel, hardware, software, events etc all play a huge part in the promotion and delivery of esports which is brilliant but sometimes, lost beneath all this excitement, social media presence, bright lights and amazing content is the fact that the players and indeed content creators need to understand how to navigate this world without experiencing burnout, anxiety or pressures because when they do, the love and passion for what they do will fade and losing a passion through burnout can be devastating. Just ask Uzi

If you’ve found this blog interesting, misinformed or intriguing, please let me know and comment. I’m open to feedback, questions and celebrations.

Live with purpose

Mike

Categories
#mental health

Mental Health and the NBA

A few days ago, All Star player for the Los Angeles Clippers, Paul George opened up about his struggles with mental health

The NBA playoffs are currently taking place in Orlando inside “The Bubble’ creating a sense of isolation away from family and friends and that sense of normality we have all learned to appreciate just a little bit more

In the extract below from an article published in SB Nation.com on August 26th, we get to understand more about his situation.

The Article

Paul George has spent the last week being the biggest punchline in the NBA. The Los Angeles Clippers forward was struggling immensely through the first four games of his team’s series with the Dallas Mavericks, becoming the first player since 1960 to shoot under 25 percent from the field in three straight playoff games. 

The jokes started to fly at George’s expense. The internet didn’t forget that he nicknamed himself “Playoff P” a few years back. The criticism was clearly getting to George. He posted corny memes to his Instagram account and disabled the comments. He said his knack wasn’t to score the ball. While the criticism over his play felt partially deserved as the series became tied at 2-2 on Luka Doncic’s immaculate buzzer-beater, some of it was starting to get ugly and personal. 

The Clippers needed George to be the best version of himself in Game 5 on Tuesday night, and George delivered. He finished the night with 35 points on 12-of-18 shooting from the field as Los Angeles skated to an impressive 154-111 victory. This was the player the Clippers were waiting for

After the game, George opened up on his struggles and how life in the bubble was impacting him. “The bubble got the best of me,” George said. “I was in a dark place.”

George continued to elaborate on how he was feeling post-game, talking about how the constant feedback loop was affecting his mental health while he couldn’t escape to the outside world in the bubble. 

“I under estimated mental health, honestly. I had anxiety. A little bit of depression. Just being locked in here …. I checked out.”

It wasn’t until he spoke with a professional, that he was able to move away from the darkness

George mentioned conversations he had with the team’s psychiatrist that played a role in his “energy” and “spirit” changing.

What this means for other pro athletes

When you read or hear about a professional athlete open up about their struggles, another professional athlete can draw inspiration and confidence knowing that opening up and talking is an option to consider and because the outcome was productive and positive, the athlete can see the positive effects of opening up

Other athletes opening up

Paul George wasn’t the first and he won’t be the last athlete to face mental health issues. Kevin Love and DeMar DeRozan are two other NBA players that have experienced issues and there are countless footballers (soccer players) that have also struggled with mental health)

What next?

If you know of an athlete or you are an athlete struggling to deal with the pressures and experiences professional sports bestow upon you, the message is clear – SPEAK TO A PROFESSIONAL.

Not only do you remove those negative feelings and emotions, but your performance increases almost immediately.

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#mental health Leadership

Winning V Wellbeing???

The Two Modes Of Thinking

There are two camps when it comes to creating a culture of a professional sports team

Winning at all costs V Wellbeing Of Athletes

Some believe winning at all costs is the way to go and some believe the wellbeing of athletes should come first so let’s explore what happens in each of the cultures.

Winning At All Costs

Photo by Andrea Piacquadio on Pexels.com

The only thing that matters is winning!

The only athletes you want are the ones that have that desire and hunger to run through walls to win and those that don’t make the grade will fall away, quickly replaced by someone else who wants a piece of the action.

Any mistakes will be punished. The coach has one way to coach and that’s to push the athletes to their limits.

The coach and athletes will knock the opponents down, seek to gain unfair advantages and do what it takes to ensure the win falls in their favour.

Losing is met with anger and extra training sessions and some form of punishment.

Losing brings an almost depressing state of mind as the reality of failure eats away at the minds of those involved.

Wellbeing Of Athletes

From speaking to people in the sports industry, there is a sense that when you put the wellbeing of athletes first, their desire to win will be diluted and their ability to perform under pressure will crack. Some perceive this approach as wrapping the athlete up in cotton wool as if to protect them from a hash reality and to make sure they are comfortable at all times.

This couldn’t be further away from the truth!

Who uses a wellbeing approach?

There are two current coaches I’m aware of that value the wellbeing of their athletes at the elite level and they have won championships by putting the wellbeing to their athletes at the centre of their culture.

I’ll highlight some of the key phrases from articles that demonstrate their approach


Jurgen Klopp – Manager of Liverpool Football Club (Premier league winners 2020)

Credit to Liverpool FC

The first thing Klopp did on arriving at Melwood, Liverpool’s training facility, in 2015 was to memorise the names of each member of the backroom staff, everyone from the kitman to the chefs to the janitor. 

It was clear from the start that the Klopp leadership mantra was based on cultivating relationships, bonds nurtured through humour, compassion, and the eagerness to help.

Be it victory or defeat, promise or pain, there was the leader embracing his troops, absorbing their experiences into his own.

Klopp is a rare leader who leads from the front without basking in the spotlight.

“have strong people around you with a better knowledge in different departments than yourself” is something Klopp has regularly acknowledged, stressing that a manager cannot “act like you know everything.”

Read more about this article here


Steve Kerr – Head Coach Of The Golden State Warriors (NBA champions 2015/17/18)

Credit To CNN.com

“My success stems from my players and the team as a whole. None of this is about me.”

Kerr is famous for always working to hone his leadership and coaching style.

“No matter what field you’re in, you’re managing human beings.” That’s why communication and compassion are so important to him, and how he builds trust and rapport.

Yelling and “tough love” is no longer viable in professional sports.

 “When I hear a coach saying I treat everyone the same, I don’t trust that coach. I’ve learned you have to treat each individual according to what that person needs.”

Read more from the article here


More People Understand The Value Of Putting Wellbeing At The Centre Of Player Development

There is a shift in attitudes towards the power and value of creating a wellbeing culture for professional sports team and blogs like this, and other programmes, articles and individuals are pushing wellbeing more towards the spotlight that shines over professional sports and moving away from the ‘Winning At All Costs’ cultures.

Creating this type of culture within your team has shown it can lead to winning just as Klopp and Kerr have proven.


Let me ask you a question

Would you rather be involved with a team where the manager/coach believes they know it all, they tell the players how good they are, how bad they are, no questions asked, highlight their mistakes to prove to them he’s the boss and when you win it was down to them? Players play through Fear!

OR

Be involved with a team that supports each other, where the manager wants the players to be the best they can be and understand their individual needs and questions and ideas can be aired for the purpose of finding a small margin of improvement? Players play with freedom!

When the person is feeling valued, trusted and respected, the athlete thrives

Listen, I understand creating this type of culture isn’t easy for some people, but if your team has had a losing season let me ask you this…

Knowing a wellbeing culture works and brings wins, wouldn’t you be curious as to how you can learn more and implement this culture?

Categories
#mental health

Comparing mental health with physical health – solutions

The Similarities

When comparing mental health and physical health its important to you that you understand the reality for many people in this world so you know what to do and what to say because this hard hitting blog will open your perspectives in new ways.

I’ll put to one side clinical mental and physical health because those issues deserve much more attention so this blog focuses on general mental and physical health.

Let’s look at the similarities

  • Everyone experiences physical and mental health
  • Both fluctuate depending on life choices
  • Both can improve
  • Both can decline
  • Both have support organisations offering help
  • Not everyone will experience negative mental and physical health
  • Some take both very seriously
  • Some live a life where both aren’t an issue
  • Some live a life where both are an issue
  • Both are the results of experiences and life choices

The Differences

  • You can see the results of one

We are quick to judge when we see others. It’s how we are programmed in our unconscious minds to keep the human race alive and so we judge people by their looks to help us connect and realise if that person is worthy of our time and attention.

We are social animals so we have to create judgements so we create a social circle that meets our beliefs and values so we fit in and have a support mechanism around us.

Looks Aren’t Everything

The world is full of people of all shapes and sizes and we are quick to judge their physical health based on what they look like.

We see all different types of body types, colours, shapes, heights and we create a judgment based on our expectations and beliefs of the world that allow us to understand what we see and we make judgements on the type of person they may be without actually speaking with them.

Is it fair we judge others without getting to know them?

We form opinions of them just as they form opinions of us.

Let’s say you see someone across the room at a party and they are overweight. It would be easy to say their health is at risk and assume they struggle with phsycial activity. But once a conversation starts, you learn more about their situation and the initial judgment melts away as you create a new understanding and appreciation for them as a human being.

Hiding Behind The Mask

Physical health is obvious and when we consider sports, we know when an athlete is out of shape.

Their data is poor, their times are poor and by looking at how they move, you can tell where they are at through comparing their data and movement with others. There is no hiding from having poor physical health as an athlete.

But mental health can be hidden behind a select few words “I’m OK coach, I’m just tired”, “I’ll get over it. I only missed a penalty”, “it’s another loss but I’ll put more work in”.

Hiding behind this mask not only sends the wrong message to others, but it questions your self-worth, creating a dangerous mix of incongruence and hiding the truth, meaning others and yourself will continue to behave as though nothing is wrong.

Making Choices

As I mentioned earlier there are many similarities between physical and mental health and deciding to do something about it when things are going wrong is a choice.

There are people out there who don’t value their physical health. They will continue to eat junk food, take no exercise, drink too much and live a life that’s over endulgant, even though they know their health is at risk and accept they will work it out for themselves and they will be ok

In the same breath, there are people who don’t value their mental health. They are overwhelmed, feeling stuck but feel they should work it out for themselves and they will be ok.

There’s a lesson I’ve learned over the years that I want to share with you because as much as we don’t like to think of people suffering on their own and there has to be more done to help, we have to accept some people don’t want help.

A New Perspective

But knowing not everyone wants help, we can provide help for those that need help. We have to push harder to provide cultures and environments where admitting you’re struggling, admitting you’re finding it hard, admitting you’re in a challenging place and you need help, is seen as courageous and normal.

These environments and cultures need to be implemented in professional sports and within organisations and anywhere where there’s human interaction and responsibility.

Empowerment And Self-Worth

We have to encourage individuals to appreciate, the choices they make will impact on their health.

We have to encourage individuals to understand what you do doesn’t define you but rather who you are defines you. A person shouldn’t be defined as a footballer that’s made a mistake. A person shouldn’t be defined as a player who’s no longer good enough. A person should be defined through how they approach a problem or challenge and if needed, offered the right support.

What Next?

If this blog has allowed you to understand mental health a little better, please comment and share with your network because as you know, you can’t see mental health issues but you can put information in front of a person, allow them to digest it and make a choice.