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10 Tips on Transitioning to a Professional Gaming Career

March 15, 2016

10 Tips on Transitioning to a Professional Gaming Career

Have you ever wondered what it would take to turn your passion for gaming into a professional career?  Read on for 10 tips on making a successful transition into the professional eSports and gaming circuit.

Creating a career as a pro gamer can become fairly high-earning and exciting if you've got what it takes.  It will also be empowering and liberating for you to pursue what you enjoy.  Becoming a professional is more than just playing games for a living; it's about utilizing your strategic skills and testing both your physical endurance and your mind. Studies have actually found that gamers have more cognitive ability and gray matter than their counterparts.   

In order to pursue this type of career, you must have confidence in your gaming abilities.  But that's not the only thing you need. There are several other factors you will need to consider to become a successful pro gamer.  

 1. Have confidence in your individual talent.

Unfortunately, not every good gamer can elevate their gaming to professional status.  Sometimes it seems like eSports professionals are like super-humans.  Their mental acumen and physical dexterity is nothing short of remarkable.  Do you, objectively speaking, feel as though you can go head to head with the pros?  If yes, it might be time to embark on this journey.  If you doubt your ability, even just a little bit, it might be better to hone your skills or be just a recreational player.

 2. Practice like an Olympian.

When heading to big competitions, whether they are gaming tournaments or the Olympics, competitors train and practice in their spare time.  If professional gaming is what you are looking to succeed in, you need the passion and rigor to practice for six or seven hours a day.  This is meant to help build your skill by teaching you more about the game, studying how the pros play, and giving you the chance to play against those at your skill level or even at a higher skill level.

 3. Maintain a supportive social circle.

While it is essential to put in practice hours in order to become more skilled and confident, make sure to spend some time with others.  Socialization, whether with friends, family, or other gamers, keeps you happy and healthy.  Even professional gamers who started in the industry as teenagers find time to spend with their families.  It is this stability that will promote mental well-being and keep you in an optimal mindset for matches.

 4. Don't quit your day job - yet.

We know that the chance to play in the professional circuit is really exciting.  But until you start consistently receiving sponsorships, advertisements, or tournament wins, it is important to make sure you have a backup plan.  After all, all of the snacks and gear you need to succeed cost money!

 5. Be open to learning from others.

It's important to acknowledge that you might not know everything about the industry - and that's okay.  As much as the pro gamers know, they still practice and learn from their performances.  Learn from your mistakes but also gain insight from other gamers, particularly the professionals.  Watch professional replays, identify tactics and strategies, and practice until you've perfected them.

 6. Do your homework.

Innate ability is not everything.  It is imperative to gain and work on skills and reflexes that can demonstrate your A-game when you head to tournaments. MarineKingPrime, one of the most celebrated professionals in the StarCraft II scene, is said to practice splitting marines – a complex task dependent on actions-per-minute (APM), hand-eye coordination, and quick thinking – for a number of hours a day.

 7. Don't give up.

Some days it might seem hard to continue but you must remember that everybody has their off days.  When you're feeling down, rely on others to help lift you up.  Make a list of the reasons why you want to pursue this career.  Practice and don't let it slip.  Even a month's break can adversely affect performance.  So even when you're feeling like things aren't going your way, stick with it.  You'll most likely be happy about how things turn out.

8. Learn how to manage your emotions.

Psychological skills are particularly important for pro gamers. If you cannot control your temperament, it will hurt both your performance and your career. Of course, maintaining a player mindset throughout and across all your games is extremely important. You need to accept that you cannot win every game and must learn to take losses in your stride. Although it's no fun losing, it happens to everyone - even the best players - at some time or another.  Rather than see your losses as failure, recognize that the loss is just an opportunity to learn, grow, and improve.

 9. Be part of a community of casual and pro gamers.

The gaming community is very strong.  Around professional gaming, the community is helpful for gamers who are already professional to learn more but also gives insight for people trying to break into the professional circuit.  Interactions with other players via forum discussions or social media can open you up to new knowledge, insights, and strategies.  When you proactively engage, you can make connections and perhaps even form a team of compatible players.

 10. Develop a consistent practice schedule.

    Practice makes perfect.  We know you've heard that numerous times in your own life and probably a few times in this post.  But a dedicated practice regimen is so important to professional gaming.  Whether it is off-season or tournament time, practice helps.  By developing a schedule for practicing, you can make it so that you know you're dedicating enough hours towards your career ambition but also giving some time for your personal life.

    Although it might seem difficult, if this is the career you want to pursue, you should go for it!  Put your talent, emotions, and passion to good use.  Soon, you will be carving your own niche in the gaming circuit.  From all of us at Rantopad, good luck!