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The Road To Become A Pro Gamer Is Tough But Rewarding
Playing video games used to be considered a hobby, but, over the past few years, professional gaming has quickly exploded in popularity. The rise of eSports has created a new class of sports heroes, that may not be able to jump high or run fast, but can deplete your health bar and send you crying all the way back to the loading screen in the blink of an eye. This leads many aspiring gamers to ask themselves the question, “how can I become a pro gamer?”
In this article we’ve broken down the steps to help put you on the path to become a gaming legend. Here are the 8 steps to becoming a pro gamer:
- Pick your video game
- Upgrade your gear
- Create a routine
- Be consistent
- Get involved in the gaming community
- Create or join an eSports team
- Compete in tournaments and ladders
- Join a pro team
1) Pick your video game
Your first step towards becoming a pro gamer is to choose a game to become an expert in. Luckily, there are quite a few for you to pick from. And to kick you off, we recommend checking out our top 10 best eSports games post. It’s important to choose only one game because you’ll need to dedicate all your time and focus on practicing and mastering that one game. If you spread yourself across playing multiple games, you are less likely to become an expert, meaning your chances of going pro are slim to none.
So which game should you choose? This could end up being the million-dollar question. Literally. We’d first recommend a game that you’ve already played before and had a decent amount of experience in. This way you’re not starting from scratch. The next thing you should look at is the difficulty of a game. How easy is it to pick up and get better at? Are there a lot of rules and complexities that make it difficult to play? These things all matter. We’re not suggesting that you pick out the “easiest” game to play, but one that best suits your skillset. You might be an all-star with first-person shooter games, meaning Call of Duty could be an excellent choice for you. If you’re better at live-action sports games, FIFA is probably a better option for you.
Another critical thing to look at is if the game has a training or sandbox mode, where you can practice and get better without having to participate in real games or matches. For example, Counter-Strike: Global Offensive (CS:GO) has aim training maps to help practice your reflexes and aim. In FIFA, you can do skills training, which can help you get better at shooting, defending, passing, and much more. Choosing a game that enables you to practice could be a significant factor in whether you become an expert or not.
It’s also helpful to choose a game that has a lot of existing resources. For example, League of Legends has been around for years, and there are thousands of websites and YouTube videos out there with advice and tips to help you get better and master the game. This is huge as it can cut down the time you spend on finding techniques, shortcuts, and more that will help you get better at the game.
Ultimately, the choice of which game to choose is going to be up to you! You should pick the one that you realistically have the best shot at becoming an expert in, not just the one that you enjoy playing the most. But hey, if you can find one that you are both good at and passionate about, you might have found yourself a winner!
Step 2: Upgrade your gear
Once you have chosen your game, the next step is to make sure you have the right gear to help you succeed. To become an expert, you’ll have to play and practice for hours a day. So being equipped with the right equipment is critical as you want to make sure you are comfortable while playing.
Monitors (for PC gaming)
Let’s first begin with the monitor. This is a massive part of your gaming experience as its what you always stare at while playing. When evaluating which monitor to purchase, a few things should come to mind:
- Screen size: We’ve seen the most frequently used monitors have at least a 24” screen size.
- Aspect ratio: Most monitors have an aspect ratio of 16:9, and some ultra-wide monitors are 21:9.
- Resolution: HD (1,920 x 1,080) is now considered a minimum viable option. You really should look for higher resolutions like WQHD (2,560 x 1,400) or 4K (3,840 x 2,160).
- Refresh rate: 60Hz refresh rates are most common, but we recommend 144Hz or even 200Hz.The higher the refresh rate, the more frames per second (fps) it can support.
- Response time: You’ll want to keep this number as low as possible to prevent lags. A 1 millisecond response time is ideal.
- Panel type: Between the three types of panels, we recommend IPS panels (in-plane switching). TN (twisted nematic) panels are more common and cheaper but don’t typically have great viewing angles. VA panels (vertical alignment) have prolonged response times.
- Viewing angle: ideally, you’ll pick a monitor with a viewing angle of close to 180. This will help you look at the monitor from different angles and still make out the image.
- G-Sync and FreeSync: consider purchasing a monitor with either G-Sync and FreeSync technology to help keep your picture smooth and minimize lags.
Televisions (for console gaming)
Because gaming on video consoles like the PS4 and Xbox One is usually played from a couch or sofa, it wouldn’t make sense to use a computer monitor. The higher the distance between you and the screen, means you need a bigger screen. So for gaming on a console, computer monitors won’t cut it. You’ll instead want a good TV for gaming. Here are the factors we use when considering the best TV for gaming:
- Resolution: In today’s world, having a 4K or HDR TV is a must. These high-resolution options create a crisp and extremely high-quality picture for you to enjoy while gaming.
- Contrast: Typically, the higher the contrast, the better the picture on the screen looks while gaming.
- Color: We like bright, eye-popping colors while gaming. It makes the experience more vivid and real.
- Input lag: This is a huge factor to consider in gaming. Many video games are timing-focused and so having a slow input-lag won’t help you play better. We recommend having a less than 20-millisecond input lag, but 30-40 milliseconds is acceptable.
- Size: We love to look at TVs with larger screens. We recommend a screen that is +55 inches.
Mouse (for PC gaming)
If you’re playing on a PC, you’re absolutely going to want to find a great mouse. It’s easy to spend a lot of money on a gaming mouse, but it’s important to find a mouse that strikes a balance between performance and price. Your hand will be using and touching the gaming mouse for hours each day, so it’s vital that you find a good mouse that is comfortable and is smooth. When evaluating which gaming mouse to buy, you’ll want to check out the following areas:
- Polling rates: A high polling rate means you get faster response times with your mouse. The higher the number, the quicker the response time. We recommend finding something near 1,000Hz.
- DPI ratings: This stands for dots per inch. Generally, it’s better to choose a mouse that has a higher DPI rating.
- Ergonomics: It’s best to have an ergonomically friendly mouse so you can keep your hand comfortable while playing for hours. This is important, so you don’t develop long-term health issues like carpal tunnel.
- RGB Lighting: Typically you’ll either love or hate RGB lighting on a mouse. In our opinion, this is more of a flashy flare than providing a functional use.
Based on the factors above, we recommend the following gaming mice:
Once you have your screen set, you’ll next want to consider purchasing a great set of headsets, which have both a headphone and microphone feature combined. So you can both listen and talk while immersing yourself in a video game. Whether you actually need a headset will largely depend on the game you’re playing. For example, if you play FIFA or Tekken, it’s probably not as necessary to play with a headset. However, most other games that are popular in eSports do require headsets. And that’s why we advocate the importance of having a great set. Here’s what we look at when evaluating headsets:
- Connectivity: You’ll want to make sure you purchase a headset that is compatible with your gaming system. This is the first thing you should check before you buy! Generally, all headsets have 3.5mm connection types.
- Sound quality: One of the most critical elements of a headset is the sound quality. You’ll want to make sure the sound is crisp and smooth. Having a noise-canceling feature is a bonus.
- Mic performance: The best headsets out have a noise-canceling mic feature to help you speak clearly and crisply while playing.
- Wearability: Making sure the headset sits comfortably on your noggin is key. No one likes to wear a headset for hours that are too tight or stiff.
- Battery life: It’s important to find a headset that holds a battery charge for several hours at a time. We recommend finding a pair that has at least 12+ hours of battery life on a full charge.
- Wireless connectivity: In general, we highly recommend wireless headsets. We all know how annoying it is to be connected to a cord.
Now we are not providing medical recommendations here, but it probably doesn’t take an Optometrist to convince you that staring at a screen for many hours each day could eventually be problematic. The fact is that there are many articles that show starring at computer and TV monitors for excessive periods of time can have negative side effects such as eye strain and irritation. The reason being is that although the HD-resolution on many monitors and screens may look sweet, there’s often a nasty undetectable high energy blue light that can also cause eye strain over time. One way to combat eye strain is by getting a pair of computer glasses, which act by reducing the effects associated with blue light emission. This is an additional option for you to consider, although not a requirement. Here’s what we look for when evaluating computer glasses:
- Blue light: You’ll want something that reduces the effects of blue light emission
- Comfort: As a gamer, you never know when you will need to make sudden movements to curse at the screen or jump for joy. Make sure you get a pair of lenses that can hang on comfortable and snug
- Style: This one will be a matter of preference, but it never hurts to have a nice looking pair of glasses
It’s essential to have good gear while on your way to becoming a pro gamer. You can’t use low-quality gear if you want to make it to the big leagues. Overall, we recommend starting with your computer monitor or TV screen before upgrading your headset or mouse. This is an essential part of gaming as it’s what you will be staring at for hours upon hours each day. A good screen can make a difference in your gameplay. After that, we’d recommend upgrading your mouse or controller since this will also significantly affect your gameplay. It’s important to make sure the mouse is super responsive and can keep up with quick play. A solid headset is a nice-to-have accessory that can further enhance your gaming experience and can make you feel like you’re really in the game. Lastly, grab a pair of solid computer glasses to keep your eyes comfortable on your rise to greatness!
Step 3: Create a routine
It’s important to remember that eSports gamers are professional athletes. So if you want to become a professional gamer, you must establish a routine similar to a professional athlete. From what we’ve seen, all the eSports gaming pros have amazing daily routines that they stick to. Below, we’ve laid out a basic sample schedule and some information that you can use to help your body and mind acclimate to the professional gaming lifestyle. Gaming is not just a physical ability, but also very much so a mental ability and so it’s key to keep your mind and body in good form while on your way to becoming an elite gamer.
Sample daily schedule
Here’s an example of what a beginner’s daily eSports training routine can look like:
|8:00 am||Wake up and drink a full glass of water and your vitamins.|
|8:30 am||Eat a healthy and well-rounded breakfast.|
|9:00 am||Time to work out and exercise!|
|10:30 am||Take a shower!|
|11:00 am||Time for some video game practice.|
|12:30 pm||Eat a good lunch and take a break from playing. We recommend going outside and taking a quick walk to get some fresh air.|
|1:30 pm||More practice time.|
|4:00 pm||Free time and relaxation time! It’s important to remember to take breaks and get some fresh air during the day.|
|6:00 pm||Dinner time!|
|7:00 pm||End your day with some final practice time.|
|8:30 pm||Get ready for bed with your nightly routine.|
|9:00 pm||Bedtime. It’s important to rest and get at least 8 hours of sleep per night.|
How do you practice gaming?
Practicing is the key to success in eSports. Without practice and training, your career in professional gaming will not take off. You can’t just show up to a tournament or competition and expect to be good at a video game suddenly. Similar to other sports like football and basketball, you will not get better at gaming without practice. Gameplay is everything in gaming, so it’s important to make sure you put in enough training hours a day. We’ve heard and seen some eSports pros put in 12-15 hours a day!
To train, we recommend playing both in practice-mode and competition-mode. In practice mode, which is also called SoloQ in some games like League of Legends, you play solo, usually against the computer and the results do not typically count towards your stats. This is different from competition-mode, which is often referred to as scrims, where you play against humans or the computer in matches that count towards your stats. We recommend playing in both SoloQ and scrims to get a variety of experience and to test your skills.
Another critical part of your training is to watch video and film. Not only can you watch videos on YouTube or Twitch that others post, but you can also record and watch your own games that you play. This is a key part of training as you can learn tips, tricks, and techniques from watching others and yourself play.
What should your diet look like?
Because gaming can be a very sedentary lifestyle, it’s important to eat right, so your mind and body stay healthy. A well-rounded diet will help you stay energized and well-rested and will help minimize health risks and issues. While we aren’t providing medical advice, here are our top tips for your diet while training to become an eSports pro:
- Drink lots of water, and cut out soda and juices as they typically contain a lot of sugar. Ideally a minimum of 8 glasses of 8 ounces of water per day.
- Eat lots of fruits and vegetables.
- Try to reduce heavy carbs like bread, rice, etc.
- Minimize foods that contain a lot of added sugar, like desserts and sweets. We know it may be hard to cut these out completely, so if you reserve eating sweets for special occasions or in moderation, this can help reduce your cravings.
- Protein is key to your diet. Fish, chicken, and other meats are excellent sources of protein. Fish also has Omega-3 and phosphorus, which can support heart and brain health.
- Try not overeat as this will make you feel tired, lazy and sleepy, which won’t help you in gaming.
- We recommend taking vitamins and supplements such as fish oil, krill-oil, apple cider vinegar, or multivitamins. If you need help sleeping, try taking melatonin before bed as it can support sleep health.
Why is physical exercise important?
You might be wondering why physical exercise is important in professional gaming. You may think it has no effect on your gameplay or success in eSports. If you currently feel this way, we’re here to inform you that you couldn’t be more wrong! Physical exercise and activity are vital to keeping you both mentally and physically healthy.
As we mentioned, gaming can be an extremely sedentary lifestyle. You could be sitting down for hours a day, which is not the best for your body. Without exercise and eating well, you can quickly and very easily gain weight. Sitting down for long periods of time also puts an enormous amount of pressure on your back and abdominal area.
Our first suggestion to maintain an active lifestyle is to take frequent breaks. It’s vital for you to stand up, stretch, and take walks multiple times throughout the day. Breaks are a very easy way to keep you in good shape and keep your mind active.
In addition to taking breaks, you will benefit by exercising at least 3-4 times per week for 60 minutes to help you stay in shape. We recommend swimming, walking, running, lifting weights, or doing yoga. Yoga is one of the best physical activity choices for pro gamers as it helps you build good posture, which is crucial since you will be sitting for long periods of time. It’s also not a bad idea to think about hiring a physical trainer to work with. They can help you craft a custom workout routine to keep you healthy and moving.
Not only does physical exercise help you physically, but you’ll be better off mentally as well. And you will undoubtedly be able to focus more on gaming.
Step 4: Be consistent
Once you get all the basics out of the way in the first three steps, the next most important thing in the process is to be consistent. It’s essential to turn gaming into a habit instead of something you do to have casual fun. Once your daily routine is developed, you need to be consistent and follow it every day as much as humanly possible. Prioritize your daily gaming routine above all else if you really want to get to the next level of elite gaming. Remember, gamers around the world are aspiring to become an eSports pro and are playing while you sleep!
One of the most vital things to be consistent is to be as relaxed as possible, which isn’t always easy as a pro gamer. Frustration is inevitable, and it’s important to remember that all players often have more bad days of training and competition, then good days. This is bound to happen to you, and you are indeed not alone. However, don’t get caught up in your bad spell, and instead, find a way to navigate through the mediocre gameplay.
If you find yourself having a rough day of gaming, we recommend taking a break and doing something you enjoy doing, like watching your favorite television show or movie, or going for a long walk, or hanging out with friends. It’s healthy and good to find a distraction away from gaming and can help reset you back on the right path. Don’t let your poor gaming spell mess up your consistency. If you find yourself getting frustrated, burned out, or stressed from gaming, make sure to pause your training and do something else. You can always come back to it the next day and pick up right where you left off. Believe us. You’ll thank us later!
Step 5: Get involved in the broader gaming community
As much as gaming is about your individual talent, it’s also imperative to immerse yourself in the gaming community, especially for the game you are competing in. The more you can socialize and network in the gaming community, the more you will learn. We have put together a few suggestions below for how to get involved in the gaming community.
Joining an online community
Each game has discussion boards and threads, chat rooms, and more filled with a large community of players from all over the world. This is the first place we recommend joining. And it’s also very easy to do! There are thousands of online communities waiting for you to join. We recommend focusing on just a few and picking ones that are related to the specific game you play.
For example, if you are playing League of Legends, we highly recommend joining the League of Legends subreddit. This has millions of subscribers and has thousands of various threads related to the game you love. This will give you a feel of what gamers in the League of Legends community are talking about and what is top of mind. It can also give you some excellent tips and advice for getting better at the game. Finally, you can also participate in threads, ask questions and get to know other gamers online, all of which is invaluable in helping you become a pro gamer. Steam also has some great discussion boards in their online communities, such as the one here for Dota 2.
Online communities are a fabulous resource! You should definitely take advantage of meeting and connect with the millions of gamers around the world who play the same game as you. It’s a learning and networking opportunity and can help you find success in professional gaming. Also, you should launch your own website to establish a brand asset of your own.
Attend major eSports gaming events
Attending major gaming events provides you with opportunities to meet other gamers. This includes professional players, enthusiastic gamers who want to become pro, or even just general fans who enjoy watching eSports. The people you meet at eSports gaming events could assist you in your future endeavors to become a pro eSports gamer, so it’s critical to get out to these events and network in-person. The more you socialize at these gaming tournaments, the more extensive your network of acquaintances and connections becomes. Networking is vital, and will often result in opportunities for you down the road when you are ready to become a pro eSports gamer. Put forth your best effort at these gaming events, and give people a good reason to remember you!
Getting familiar with the gaming events will also give you a feel for the skill level required to become a pro eSports gamer. You’ll also see what it’s like to compete in front of hundreds or thousands of people. You’ll witness first-hand what it’s like to be a professional gamer, including the challenges and difficulties of the job.
Step 6: Create or join an eSports team
Once you begin to build your reputation and create a name for yourself as a serious gamer, it’s time to find a team to play with. And this is why training, competing and networking are all significant. Each of these three areas will help you find a team to join. The more you train and practice, the better your gameplay is, and the better you’ll likely do in competitions. This is why it’s very important to train a lot and to play competitively as much as possible.
Both training and competitions will help you become a better player and make you more desirable for a team. Finally, networking is invaluable as the people you meet online and at various gaming events will probably help you find and land a team to join. It’s significantly easier to find a spot on a team when you know influencers in the industry and community!
If you become an elite player, chances are a team will find you and proactively reach out to you. However, for most people, this is not the case, and you’ll have to do your own research and self-promotion to find yourself a team. It’s important to note you will probably need to start off joining a lower-tier team, instead of a team of elite players. You can’t just hop on to an elite team overnight. When looking for a team, you must set realistic goals and remember that you can build your way up and move teams once you gain some good experience.
In most cases, you’ll need to try out to earn your spot on a team. Tryouts can look different for all teams, but you’ll usually have to compete in several rounds of matches or games and show off your skills. eSports teams will want to make sure you’re a good fit for them, just like you evaluate whether the team is a good fit for you. If you don’t make the first team you try out for, don’t get discouraged. Think of it like a job interview — the more you do, the better you get at them, and hopefully, you’ll eventually land a job!
Another potential option is that you can create your own eSports league, but this will take a lot more work as you’ll have to field your own team of players and will have to do more logistical and organizational work in the background. We don’t recommend this to start, but if you are passionate or energized about doing so, it’s a totally viable option as well. If you are thinking about starting your own eSports league or eSports team check out our article for the best tips to get started!
As you become more experienced, it’s highly likely that you’ll jump around and join various eSports teams. This will help you become an even better player and gain a wider variety of experience. Each new team you join should be better than your last one. You can think of this as a promotion of some sort. When you make a move in eSports gaming from one team to another, you should make sure that your new team will teach you more and give you more experience than the last.
Step 7: Compete in tournaments and ladders
Once you are on a team, it’s essential to enter and compete in tournaments and ladders together. This is the only way you will get better and get noticed by the pro circuit teams. The main difference between a tournament and a ladder is that in a tournament you get eliminated when you lose. If you lose in a ladder, you will be placed on a lower ‘rung’ until you win more games. Tournaments have an ending with a champion or winner. Ladders can go on indefinitely as the person or team sitting on top of the ladder can continuously be swapped out depending on who is the latest victor.
Even though they have some differences, tournaments and ladders will both help you advance your eSports gaming career. The more tournaments and ladders you compete in, the better of a player you will become. There is no real substitute for the live, competitive play that you experience in tournaments and ladders as you can truly put a test to your skills. And the good news is that tournaments and ladders happen year round, so you have plenty of opportunities to find one to play in.
You can pretty much always find tournaments and ladders to compete in. Websites like Battlefy, Toornament, and WorldGaming.com offer thousands of online tournaments daily for almost any game you can think of. And when it comes to participating in tournaments and ladders, your mentality should be the more, the merrier. The more you compete in, the better you and your team become. You’ll start to see your skills improve once you start playing competitively.
But merely playing competitively in tournaments and ladders is not enough to become a pro eSports gamer. You must win in order to earn respect in the eSports community. As your team improves and as you win together, you’ll climb up the rankings in various leagues and regions. And as you progress and move up the rankings, you’ll no doubt catch the eye of top players and teams who will soon be asking you to train and play with them online. This is huge as playing against higher levels of competition will make your team better and will make you a better individual player.
But don’t forget, winning online tournaments and climbing ladders and competition isn’t the ceiling in eSports. You still are not considered a professional until you win at live events.
Step 8: Join a pro team
As you gain more and more experience in competitive play with your team, you’ll start to gain some notoriety. However, regardless of how many tournaments you win, your status as a pro gamer will only get solidified when you win at the pro circuit level, which is a series of live pro events. At the pro circuit level, professional gaming hopefuls have to test their skills against thousands of competitors. And this must be done in front of hundreds or thousands of passionate fans.
The pressure is higher than ever at live eSports gaming events. At the pro circuit level, you’ll truly get the opportunity to not only to earn respect and popularity in the gaming community but also can snag top prize earnings. Competing in live gaming events is the most critical step in the quest to become a pro eSports gamer.
So as great as live gaming events sound, it’s first imperative to note that it is not easy to get there. To play at the pro circuit level, you’ll have to earn your way to the top. This can only be done through hours upon hours of training and playing competitively at tournaments. Most professional teams will not post recruitment or application info for spots on their squad. They typically proactively recruit and reach out to top players who they think could be a good fit. This is why networking is also crucial. The more people who know you that can vouch for your playing ability, the better off you will be when the time to join a pro.
Like most eSports teams, professional teams will also make you do an official tryout to earn a spot on the team. And this is where all of your practice, competitive tournament play, and experience with former teams will come in handy. The higher you are ranked on your regional ladder, the higher your chance is for earning a tryout. You must have plenty of scrim and tournament experience with other teams even to be considered a legitimate professional candidate. As you gain more experience and move up the rankings with your team, you will establish yourself as a serious contender and will be much more desirable to pro eSports teams who are looking to pick up a new player.
Any professional gamer will tell you that practice, preparation, and persistent tournament attendance are vital if you plan to become a pro eSports gamer. Just like any other sport, true champions are made in the trenches of elite competition.
So does becoming a pro gamer still sound like something you want?
We hope this list has set proper expectations for you in your quest to become a pro gamer. eSports is definitely an achievable career, but it’s important to understand how difficult the process can be. Just because you enjoy playing video games, it doesn’t mean that you are going to shoot up the rankings to become a pro eSports gamer. Becoming a pro will take a lot of time, practice, competition, and training. If you want to go pro, you have to set a routine and be consistent with it. However, if you are diligent about following all the advice and recommendations and the steps above, we’re confident that finding success in eSports will be possible for you.
So the final question is: are you ready to take your first step towards your professional eSports career journey?
If you want to learn more about how much pro gamers make then check out our popular article!