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Esports have grown in recent years to become a well-known and recognised competitive discipline in its own right – we took a look at the history of esports and their place in the world in another recent blog post.
But as the awarding organisation with 40 years’ experience in helping young people realise their potential by developing essential leadership skills, how do esports align with more traditional activities, such as sport and dance, where these skills have long been needed? And how does our latest qualification, Esports Leadership, help students develop these skills?
In this blog we consider each of the five skills that make up our Skills Framework – Communication, Teamwork, Problem Solving, Self-Belief and Self-Management – and look at the role they play in esports.
Working in tandem with teamwork, communication is key in moving from playing video games to taking part in competitive esports. When you only have yourself to think about, there’s no need to consider the roles of others or what’s expected for the team to succeed.
But this doesn’t mean purely telling your team-mates what you’re doing or where you are – good communication skills are probably more important in listening to others than speaking yourself. Communication is a two-way process and doing this effectively gives you a much greater chance of making better and more consistent decisions about your own role in a team.
In this way, communication is also key if you’re facilitating others’ play, either as a coach or an event organiser – making sure that participants understand the rules and what’s expected of them or providing effective feedback to help players improve.
Competing as functioning team in esports is no different to any other team. Each member can be assigned specific roles and tasks, while a designated captain has overall responsibility for leading the team, setting strategy and providing motivation when needed.
Being reliable, offering honesty and empathy, helping others to feel included and providing inspiration to teammates: these are just some of the key behaviours of positive teamwork.
These behaviours apply in any setting where a team needs to function, so just because esports exists in a virtual world where players may be competing remotely, they are still equally important. If anything, the remote nature of esports may make these behaviours even more important, as they are more difficult to implement without the natural physical cues and body language that exist in traditional activities!
This is possibly the most creative of the essential skills, but often the solutions that we find in this area seem to happen automatically, such as evaluating a given situation and making a series of decisions to ultimately arrive at a workable solution.
However, much of that process only becomes automatic through experience and repetition, which applies as significantly to esports as other disciplines. By taking part in training and going through practice situations, combined with some post-event analysis, players learn how to deal with whatever comes their way, allowing them to discover solutions to their challenges and how to implement future strategies successfully.
Self-belief is one of the most key skills in being a successful leader. Being able to confidently express the ideas, strategies and tactics to be competitive are essential in being able to bring team-mates along with you and for them, in turn, to have confidence in you as a leader.
In the same way that Teamwork and Communication are closely aligned, the same can be said for Self-Belief and Problem Solving. By gaining an in-depth understanding of tactics and solutions to challenges, it becomes natural for players to develop confidence in their abilities and resilience to any potential setbacks as they arise.
This area is also a good opportunity for learners to demonstrate positive attributes for their peers to look up to, taking a positive attitude into different tasks and activities or a heightened sense of self-awareness to become a positive role model.
It could be argued that self-management is even more important in esports than other activities due to players often taking part remotely. Remaining motivated and committed while also demonstrating self-control and responsibility are essential here, with players needing to have a clear understanding of their safe boundaries and when to put the controller down without letting the team down.
And as with any other team, players need to understand how and when to take responsibility for their actions and how to reflect on their participation in order to identify opportunities for improvement.
Where the Esports Leadership programmes comes into its own is alongside broader education programmes, such as BTEC Level 3 programmes. In these courses, learners are provided with a wide range of study areas through a series of mandatory and optional units, covering subjects including Esports strategy and skills, Psychology for Esports Performance and some of the more business-focused topics, such as building a brand or launching an enterprise.
Esports Leadership supports this kind of learning by helping students build the skills to bring more theoretical study to life. It helps young people to develop an understanding of how to use their knowledge when working with others and ow to deliver their ideas with confidence and integrity.
Leadership skills provide learners with the tools to become more employable, not just in Esports but in a variety of potential careers as they are highly transferable and in-demand. With leadership skills, we truly can create the leaders of tomorrow, today.
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Categories for this post: Esports
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