eSports has become a more than a billion-dollar industry in recent years. A booming industry means more professional teams and increased opportunities for pro gamers pushing the boundaries of skill in their chosen game.
As a result, this leads to a way more competitive environment, ultimately putting more demand and expectations on the players.
In this article, we’ll be breaking down how pro gamers train–From a day in the life to diet, downtime, and exercise.
We’ll also go over what you might be able to learn from the practice routines of the pros to improve your own game.
How Many Hours Per Day Do Pro Gamers Train?
One of the most frequently asked questions when it comes to professional gamers’ routines is how many our do they spend on training.
For most of us, a few hours of gaming in the evening seems like a solid night of play. Depending on how busy you are, it might even sound like a luxury.
But how many hours do pro gamers train?
For pros like Robin ‘ropz’ Kool (professional Counter-Strike player), however, the first few hours are just a warm-up. Even before going pro, ropz would play an average of 10 matches of Counter-Strike: Global Offensive every day.
(Robin ‘ropz’ Kool, professional CS: GO player)
Whereas a game of another popular FPS, Overwatch 2, takes only about 20 minutes, a CS: GO game averages an hour’s run time. So while still attending high school, Kool consistently put in 10 hours of gaming practice per night.
While that’s not something we’d recommend to most of our readers, it certainly helped prepare Kool for the rigorous practice regimen in which six to eight hours of gaming a day is a given, and 12 to 14 hours a day of practice is not uncommon among professional players.
How Often Do Pro Gamers Train?
Another common question is how often do professionals train and whether they take days off.
For most professional gamers, keeping their skills and reflexes honed and ready for the next big competition is more than a full-time job. It’s not uncommon to hear about eSports teams living, sleeping, eating, and practicing all under the same roof.
With this level of commitment to their team and game of choice, you may not be surprised that many pro gamers “grind” or practice six, and sometimes even seven, days per week.
The common belief among pro gamers is that if you aren’t practicing, your competition will be.
In a competitive scene often decided by the smallest of margins, that may be the difference between going home with the trophy and prize money or nothing at all.
Although this seems to be the prevailing idea in the current eSports environment, that may be changing. Large teams are bringing in health and fitness specialists to try to avoid the quick and all too common burnout of young talented pro gamers.
A Day in the Life of a Pro Gamer
To give you a better idea of how a typical day of a pro gamer looks, we decided to look at one of the best in the business, a Korean League of Legends superstar, Faker.
(Lee Sang-hyeok, a.k.a Faker, professional League of Legends player)
For pro gamer Lee Sang-hyeok, known to fans of League of Legends as Faker, an average day starts with waking up around 11:50 a.m. and grabbing some Korean gimbap for breakfast from the local CVS.
His work day begins at noon, meeting with his fellow teammates of SK Telecom T1, or playing solo queue for an hour as a warm-up. Starting at 1 p.m., Faker and the rest of SK Telecom T1 play scrims together for the next three hours until 4 p.m.
Between 4 p.m. and 7 p.m., the team takes a break from their computers to eat lunch, run errands, and possibly return to play another solo queue game or two.
Faker says he sometimes also receives manual therapy during this time to help with muscle and joint health and reduce the pain that can come with years of long hours spent practicing at a computer.
After players are done relaxing or running errands, it’s back to team scrims for the next three hours between 7 p.m. and 10 p.m.
After eating dinner, Faker personally tends to play solo queue and stream, using this time to work on and try out different tactics and mechanics.
Faker believes in the importance of sleep and stretching to try and improve the quality of his nightly rest before hitting the hay at around 4 a.m.
Although Faker’s schedule should give you a good idea of an average day in the life of a pro gamer, keep in mind that their schedule will depend on the individual player, what team they are a part of, and what matches are coming up.
It is also becoming more common for teams to have physical workouts, something notably absent in Faker’s daily routine.
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The Three Main Pro Gamer Training Methods (You Can Do, Too)
Let’s get specific. There are three main areas important to success in the highly competitive world of eSports.
Keep in mind that anyone can work on these to improve their game:
• Macro skills (Game strategy)
• Micro skills (Reaction times, mechanics, etc.)
Let’s break these down for you.
Pro players and teams spend time analyzing videos of past matches to pinpoint areas in which they need to seek improvement or to find potential weaknesses in their competitors.
They also work with a coaching staff who are knowledgeable about the game and know the individual strengths of each player to help them reach higher levels of skill both individually and as a team.
While you don’t necessarily have a professional coach to discuss your macro game, you can easily record and watch your games to understand where you made mistakes and what you need to do better in your future matches.
Make sure not to overlook this aspect of your game–Some coaches (and even players) recommend practicing your macro as much as you can because, according to them, it’s the single most important aspect of competitive gaming.
Micro skills, in-game mechanics in other words, is an important factor any gamer must practice daily in order to get to the top of the leaderboards.
How do professional gamers sharpen their weapons?
For example, to train things like reaction times and aim, many professionals turn to aim trainers. These tools allow them to set up exact in-game scenarios to perfect certain aspects of their game.
And while we do recommend using aim trainers, the single most important thing when it comes to getting mechanically better is, you guessed it, playing the game itself.
As we mentioned earlier, many pro players are putting in 10+ hours every day in order to stay at the top. And the same goes for you–If you wanna get better, you simply need to put in the hours.
In the end, you can’t fake practice and hard work. This is why Pro gamers spend endless hours in-game practicing their aim, game sense, and reaction time.
It’s hard to overstate the importance of mindset in any competitive sport, and eSports is no different.
Important competitions with large audiences and huge prizes on the line can cause both physical and mental stress. This can negatively affect the mindset and, thus, the focus of players.
Pro gamers use proven methods of stress reduction such as meditation, team building, and physical exercise to stay focused and positive come game day.
The Importance of Working Out for Pro Gamers
Forget the old cliche of gamers as unathletic people who only get out of their chairs to go to the fridge.
As the new world of eSports develops, it is becoming increasingly common for pro gamers to train like other professional athletes, ensuring that their bodies are healthy and their minds are sharp.
Professional gaming organizations like European-based Rouge use different types of workouts, such as High-Intensity Interval Training, or HIIT, to make sure their players are in peak condition.
Why Pro Gamers Exercise for Their Minds
Practicing and competing in eSports is a mentally taxing profession, especially over the long run. One reason pro gamers take workouts seriously is that it helps them manage the inevitable stress that comes with high-stakes tournament play.
Physical exercise is also used to increase energy and endurance so that players can stay alert and focused during long, draining days.
On top of that, physical exercise boosts overall mood and can easily add important variety to a day that mostly centers around computers.
An active lifestyle is important for a healthy brain and helps players stay sharp and react fast when it matters most.
Why Pro Gamers Exercise for Their Bodies
Although you may not think of video games or eSports as demanding on the players’ bodies, so many hours in a chair using a mouse and keyboard can be the cause of pain and injury.
This could distract players or take them out of the gaming world altogether.
Taking care of their bodies through exercise is a way for pro gamers to increase blood flow, strength, and flexibility, as well as reduce the time they spend sitting and help them get outside.
eSports are still relatively new, so it may be too early to be sure, but effective workouts could be exactly the sort of thing that increases pro players’ quality of life, helping them avoid burnout and ultimately lengthen their careers.
- READ ALSO: How To Improve Your Tracking Aim?
What Do Pro Gamers Do in Their Down Time?
Pro gamers, like many professionals in their field, do not necessarily have a lot of extra downtime to utilize.
When they do get time off to relax, many pro gamers choose to hone their eating habits or indulge in their favorite meals.
Some also catch up on much-needed sleep or simply veg out with their favorite book or television series.
The Eating Habits of Pro Gamers
Food and nutrition play a vital part in the health and performance of athletes and eSports players alike. Many big teams may even have personal chefs that keep them fed while they practice.
Pro Dota 2 player for Old G, N0tail, avoids all heavy foods before his matches and believes eating too much meat removes blood from important body parts that need it during play.
Apparently, N0tail is exhausted after big games and goes to bed without dinner, and eats a breakfast of eggs and carbs the next morning.
As you know, diet is dependent not only on personal preference but also on personal dietary restrictions.
For example, Call of Duty player Crimsix has a blood disorder and cannot eat chicken, cheese, alcohol, fish, tomatoes, strawberries, pineapples, nuts, citrus, or kiwi.
In contrast to N0tail, Crimsix usually likes to eat steak before his matches.
While diet is highly individual, it’s something you shouldn’t overlook in the slightest. Eating healthy can drastically improve your performance as well as other aspects of your life.
Common Sleep Patterns of Pro Gamers
With a full schedule of near-constant practice and the prevailing idea of always needing to “grind” more, it’s no surprise that sleep can sometimes be an issue in competitive gaming.
It is oftentimes sacrificed for caffeine and other stimulants.
Pro gamer Faker has been somewhat outspoken about his belief in sleep helping performance in-game, saying that he worries some Pro gamers don’t sleep enough.
Faker recommends at least eight hours of sleep and has said that if there were 25 hours in a day, he would spend the extra hour sleeping rather than practicing.
We agree with Faker on this one, as there is plenty of science showing the value of sleep on health and performance.
What Do Pro Gamers Do For Fun?
Pro gamers are a diverse group of individuals who all do different things for fun.
While many pro gamers tend to have ping pong tables and arcade games available for them to play in their gamer training facilities or living quarters, others prefer to relax.
Pro gamers may read online articles or books for fun, or tune in to popular television series and movies that range depending on what country they live in.
Pro gamers in colder climates may spend their fun recreational time indoors, while a pro gamer living in a warmer part of the world may hike, swim, or bike outdoors for fun on their few days off.
Everything You Need to Know About Pro Gamer Training Facilities
As eSports have evolved and money has continued to pour into pro gaming teams, large training facilities comparable to those built for professional athletes have been established.
Some of these facilities, like the 5,500-square-foot Verizon 5G Gaming Center, offer gamers just about everything they might need or want on the job—and then some.
(Verizon 5G Gaming Center)
These state-of-the-art facilities have their own meeting rooms for gamers, coaches, or other staff to meet when needed. In addition, they have practice rooms where gamers spend much of their time playing and training together.
There are even Streaming Pods where the pros can connect with their fans and stream after they are done with their daily scrims.
When the players need a break from playing video games, there are snack and drink bars where they can grab a soda, beer, or coffee.
Not to mention recreation rooms for relaxing with musical instruments along with ping pong tables, couches, board games, and more.
Some of these centers even include theaters where players and staff gather to watch live video game competitions when teams that they are affiliated with compete.
Last but not least, there are gyms where the pro players can stretch, lift weights, or maybe even dribble a soccer ball on their break.
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Can A Regular Gamer Train Like A Pro Gamer?
For most of us, it’s not practical or even desirable to train like a professional gamer or put in anywhere from eight to fourteen hours a day.
These are highly trained, and often well paid, professionals who are supported by teams of people to push the boundaries of what’s possible in their chosen game.
Many pro gamers have had to retire from gaming at a young age due to physical joint injuries and burnout caused by their extreme schedules and high levels of stress.
Although most of us will never train like a pro gamer, we may still be hoping to gain in skill or rise in the competitive ranks of our favorite games—and there are lessons we can take from pro gamers.
First and foremost, you have to put in the time to get better at gaming. Those who practice intelligently and with consistency will continue to improve.
Pro gamers also demonstrate that even in video games, it’s important to be physically active and take care of your body. Diet, sleep, and mental state all play important roles in how you perform.
Next time you’re getting ready to grind to improve your rank, or are just taking some time to practice a mechanic in your favorite game, you can draw on the example of the professionals to improve.
Whether or not you have an aspiration of one day becoming a pro gamer yourself, or are set on playing just for fun, there’s something to learn from the training habits of all pro gamers.