Wake up, sneak in a workout before grabbing lunch with teammates, stretch before practice, run through plays, scrimmage another team, and get to sleep.
This isn’t the routine of a soccer player or aspiring Olympian, but the template for a new generation of esports players—professional gamers who compete for huge sums of money, sometimes in front of sold-out arenas.
Esport training and tournament competition can lead to long, intense schedules, which means pros have to maintain peak reaction times, fast-twitch muscles, and good decision-making for hours on end. Most of the money is made in prizes, which means that if you don’t win, you don’t get paid beyond a modest base salary. Players are under immense pressure: Losing a $500,000 tournament because you were tired isn’t an option.