Are Esports players athletes? Picture Courtesy: Unsplash

Are Esports players athletes? Picture Courtesy: Unsplash

Are Esports players athletes?

Community Sep 26, 2022

It's a debate as old as Esports itself, but one of the world's greatest ever sportspersons has confirmed that professional gamers are athletes.

Are Esports Competitors Classified as Athletes? An athlete is "a person who is exceptionally proficient at sports or physical activity," by the Cambridge Dictionary. Therefore, if Esports is a sport, as the name implies, then contestants, especially those who play at the top level, must be athletes, right?

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Even if it is evident from language alone, some people will find it difficult to accept that Esports pros are natural athletes. It is worthwhile to consider all sides of the issue since it is a subject sure to spark controversy. Therefore, we shall explore whether or not Esports players should be called athletes in this article.

Definitions Of An Athlete

Definitions Of An Athlete. Picture Courtesy:

Esports participants would fit Oxford's and, to some degree, Collins' definitions of athletes if we agree, for the sake of argument, that Esports is a sport. Although some could reasonably argue that Esports does require agility, both mental and of the hands, and also stamina, as contests frequently last for several hours, the requirement of "physical strength, agility or stamina" means that an Esports professional would not fall under the definitions provided by Merriam-Webster or Dictionary.

This emphasizes the core problem in a big way. If you're willing to classify everybody participating in any activity as an athlete, then Esports competitors must also be athletes. However, if you claim that sports can only be defined as activities requiring extremes of physical strength, agility, or endurance, then the situation becomes considerably murkier. In a separate section, we explore whether Esports qualify as sports, although discussing whether participants are athletes is somewhat different. Some people, for instance, acknowledge games like darts and snooker but do not think that professionals are athletes.

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This is a straightforward binary choice for some people who firmly believe in one side. Let's now examine both arguments as we think that it is somewhat nuanced.

Esports Players Are Athletes

Esports Players Are Athletes. Picture Courtesy: Nndan Gaming

Several factors make it reasonable to classify Esports professionals as athletes. For starters, they participate in a sport that demands a lot of commitment and preparation. So many people play the most popular Esports games that only the best players can get to the top. Nobody is born with this extraordinary gift; it takes years of hard work and focused practice to hone and develop the necessary physical and mental abilities.

An interesting post examining the training schedules of several Esports teams was published on Medium in 2020. Players train together for around 50 hours weekly, and many also prefer to train alone. Since nutrition is essential for performance and response times, they accomplish this while adhering to a customized diet. Similar to other sports, teams also analyze their prior performance with their coach to determine what went well or poorly.

Modern technology is used during the training, focusing on essential abilities, including attention, memory, and response speed. To familiarise players with the distractions, they may encounter in a competitive context, training activities will even simulate real-life conditions with crowd sounds and shifting lighting. Esports teams now routinely employ fitness experts, and training is tied to the game itself. Being physically fitter may ultimately make all the difference since the margins between winning and losing are slim. This directly influences one's response speeds, stamina, and capacity for sustained attention.

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Esports players are between 9% and 21% more likely to be at a healthy weight compared to the general population, according to research done by the Queensland University of Technology in 2020. They also significantly reduce their use of alcohol and tobacco, thoroughly debunking the myth that those who engage in competitive video game play are inactive and overweight. According to the report, "Elite esports players spend more than an hour each day participating in physical activity as part of their training schedule, as a technique to improve gameplay and manage stress."

Although there is less emphasis on cardiovascular exercise compared to other sports, an Esports player's typical week is similar to that of professionals in "conventional sports" in many aspects. It's absurd to think that Esports competitors spend their days playing video games till the wee hours of the morning while still wearing their underpants. A good diet, a reasonable degree of physical fitness, regular sleep patterns, and other areas of well-being are given a lot of attention. This has aided in bringing Esports pros closer to the standard of what many consider a "regular" athlete.

Esports Players Are Not Athletes

Esports Players Are Not Athletes. Picture Courtesy: Unsplash

In the descriptions of an athlete, we gave before, physicality and succeeding at a physically demanding sport is often mentioned. This undoubtedly contributes to the stereotype of an athlete that is more prevalent nowadays. After all, a person with an "athletic" physique has much muscle mass and a very low body fat percentage. Numerous individuals strive for an "athletic" physique and the six-pack that goes along with it since it is necessary to compete at the highest level in many sports. Even though goalkeepers tend to handle most of the extra weight on the field, most players at the highest levels have amazing bodies.

Esports professionals perform some physical training, but not to the extent needed for sports like tennis, rugby, football, and most of the more conventional sports. These call for routinely taxing sessions that strain people physically. Regular gym visits are also needed since it is crucial to maintain and/or increase muscle strength. An average football player may run 10 or 11 kilometers over 90 minutes, with several powerful sprints mixed in. Rugby players, on the other hand, may go 7 km in 80 minutes, but they must also endure several physically demanding obstacles.

In the end, very few people would consider an Esports player an exceptional athlete. There may be a few fit individuals, but for them, working out is only a pastime and not essential to their success in Esports. To mention, only two players of snooker and darts fit this description. Fitness is taken much more seriously now than in the past, and some pros in these sports may be reasonably physically fit and have exceptional athletic ability. But few people think this is essential to success in their chosen sports.

Is There Currently A Consensus?

Is There Currently A Consensus? Picture Courtesy: Gaming Picture Hub

When it comes to debating whether or not Esports competitors qualify as athletes, there is a broad spectrum of diverse viewpoints. Although we recognize the merits of both sides of the debate, we believe that the evidence for the positive is more substantial than some would believe.

In recent years, the competitive Esports business has seen tremendous development, with players increasingly regarded as traditional athletes. To guarantee they can perform to the best of their ability, the majority take excellent care of their bodies. Esports players are closing the gap between themselves and more traditional "athletes" because of consistent training, serious nutritional attention, and incredible mental toughness. However, there is still a gap, and because it will never be filled, it will take a long time for a consensus to develop.

Many will undoubtedly debate whether it matters how we regard Esports pros or even consider it a sport. A rose by any other name would smell as good as a renowned Stratford-Upon-Avon native once penned. Although the words we choose to describe things affect how they are viewed, we argue that this is primarily accurate. Many individuals, mainly older, see Esports as "simply people playing video games."

Esports professionals would get a lot more respect if they started to be seen as athletes competing in a sport requiring exceptional talent and commitment. Despite this, they can probably do just fine without the approval and praise of Gen Xers and Baby Boomers, given the seven-figure prize money offered in the major tournaments!

You can also download the Tournafest app from Google Play or App Store to play Esports Tournaments & Scrims games like BGMI, Free Fire MAX, Call of Duty, CS: GO, Valorant, Pokemon Unite & win exciting rewards! You may also organize Tournaments & fetch unmatched perks.

Until next time,



Manish Gupta

I’m a creative thinker. I think it’s important to approach tasks and issues from different angles, rather than doing what has always been done. By having an open mind and taking a different approach.