Niels 'Super1Fly' Peetermans
Qallo x Sector One bootcamp
"The guys at Qallo are geniuses. Everything at the bootcamp was perfect. We progressed so much and everyone was feeling fresh. They were as invested as anyone in the team."
Vladlen 'Saviour' Dvoretsky - League of Legends player
About Qallo and High Performance in Esports
According to scientific research, it takes approximately two to three months to change behavior. So while we knew it was impossible for players to form new habits within a week, we decided to focus instead on creating a structured, supportive environment. We shared insight and techniques that players could experiment with at their own pace. We demonstrated how a clear and structured schedule that minimized unwanted distractions could also have a marked impact.
We launched our kick-off presentation at the beginning of the week. Everybody shared how they were feeling and discussed their current state-of-mind and expectations. We laid out a schedule and modeled a relaxed mindset with the credo to be open and have fun—the rest will follow.
Proper training requires the right environment. We equipped our performance center with powerful hardware, ergonomic chairs, controlled lighting and heating, plus a blazing fast fiber internet connection. Many teams underestimate the importance of using sound and light to train stage awareness.
Training requires a frequent review of your and your teammates’ gameplay. We built a small auditorium with a massive screen to VOD review own games or analyze the games of competitors. Doing this away from individual computer screens created an open environment to discuss certain decisions and tactics made in past games.
Qallo did not get involved with the in-game training in the ramp up to the Country Finals. We did, however, discuss training objectives with the team coach and analyst as they planned the necessary drills and scrims to prepare. With only a few days' time, we could not focus on building mechanical skills, so rather kept the focus centered on macro-tactics and team collaboration.
2. Sleep And Recovery
A good night's rest is crucial for cognitive performance and overall health. The body replenishes its energy stores during sleep. Due to the nature of Esports, it's harder to maintain a regular sleep schedule. Competition and training often go on well into the night leading to exposure to blue light in the early evening which makes it harder to fall asleep later. We found a few workarounds that can help players get a high-quality sleep schedule.
We invited Siebe Hannosset, a holistic lifestyle and peak performance coach. He shared several useful tips that could immediately be implemented to make falling asleep easier and ensure deeper sleep.
The two tips that resonated the most were 1) taking a hot shower 60 - 90 minutes before going to bed and 2) using glasses in the evening made to block out blue light.
The team also had the opportunity to test QSleep for a week, a plant-based food supplement that restores the biological clock, promotes falling asleep and sleep consistency, and delivers rest and relaxation.
Case: Increased Sleep Quality
Saviour, the team's support player, is an ex-professional full-contact karate athlete. Conscious about his physical and mental health, he uses an Oura ring to track sleep quality.
Although he had no major issues with sleep, Saviour did wake up numerous times throughout the night which affected deep sleep.
After using QSleep and trying the recommendations he received, he improved the quality of his sleep as evidenced by the Oura Ring.
3. Physical Exercise And Mobility
Sitting behind a computer screen for hours on end while only doing micro-movements is surprisingly taxing on the body. Being in good physical shape has an array of proven benefits and helps players maintain a longer focus and prevent injuries. We highlighted physical health throughout the week with a core stability workshop, a mobility & stretching workshop, and incorporating daily walks or quick exercise breaks (like a round of jumping jacks).
Case: Practise's Shoulder
"We've realized amazing results with the team's ADC, Practice.
He had a blockage in his shoulder, preventing him from moving his arm above his shoulder, and a painful wrist, which kept him from playing for longer periods of time. By removing the shoulder blockage, Practice was able to resume normal movement.
He got a clear training schedule & should be able to completely recover from his injury."
Toon Hens – accredited Physiotherapist
Core Stability Workshop
In the morning, we incorporated regular walks outside, and in the afternoon we stretched outside for some fresh air and blood flow.
If the weather was bad, we stayed inside for some jumping jacks or push-ups. The team analyst signalled his commitment by also joining in the sessions and the players reminded one another to stay on top of the exercises.
The team shared their struggles with setting up a proper nutrition schedule. Although already aware of the importance and benefits of a good diet, the players had irregular eating habits with a lot of unhealthy snacks, sugary drinks and fast food. Though we did not hold a session specific to good nutrition, Qallo did offer plenty of healthy options throughout the week.
Case: Dibu's Diet
Dibu, the team's jungler, was an interesting case. When he served in the military, he ate healthily and got into top physical shape.But once his enlistment was over, he got into a pizza-based eating routine.
Dibu was so happy with the healthy food during boot camp that he decided to overhaul his diet for the long term.
5. Mental Resilience And Well-Being
Many Esports players feel heavy pressure before, during and after games from their teammates, management and sponsors. A lot is at stake so consistent, impressive outcomes are expected, however, most players are relatively young and lack experience in coping with sudden demands for top-level performance. We hosted a breathing & yoga workshop and led a positive visualization exercise.
The breathing workshop was hosted by sleep expert Siebe Hannosset. Siebe is a strong advocate and practitioner of Intermittent Living, where you regularly stimulate controlled stressors, so the body and mind gets used to coping in high stress environments.
Siebe explained how the sympathetic and parasympathetic nervous system worked, which fascinated the team. He then guided the team through hypoxia (to get an energy & focus boost) and induced hypercapnia (to calm down after a spike of stress) breathing exercise.
The players embraced this concept and practiced regularly throughout the week. They even incorporated some of the exercises at the Belgian League Country Finals.
The team also had the opportunity to test QFocus during the week, a plant-based food supplement that enhances focus and concentration, supports mental endurance and boosts your energy.
"So far I've been taking some of the QFocus supplements. So far as I can tell, I'm able to keep my focus in-game. I've played multiple games and I noticed even though the 'grind' was kinda long, I could just keep on going."
Jeroen 'Night' Segers - League of Legends player
6. Team dynamics
In order for the team to perform well together, unspoken frustrations between some members of the team had to be addressed. We opted not to hold a specific session on individual awareness and team dynamics, but rather create an open environment with a lot of positive external conversational sparks for dialogue between team members. A ping-pong table might sound gimmicky, but it was probably one of the best facility investments Qallo made for the boot camp.
The team played ping pong a lot, which boosted physical activity but also ended up fostering open conversations about what was happening in their lives and how it impacted player relationships and in-game performance.
The last dinner before the Country Finals also took place on the ping pong table. Key takeaways were not to take everything too seriously and even the simple, ordinary things can cause the most impact.
"The bootcamp helped us in getting the edge we needed to win the country finals, all of our players could use a change of pace and the Qallo guys did an amazing job accommodating us."
Tibo 'Nissa' Nijs, League of Legends analyst/assistant coach
Join The Movement
Thing To Focus More On In Future Bootcamps
Coaching the coach
The coach is a team’s pillar and provides the structure for evaluation and improvement. We would definitely spend more time on coaching principles in general and game-specific coaching in future iterations.
Although we focused on stretching throughout the week, ergonomics and seating behavior deserves its own track. A personalized approach is required, but would be valuable to each player.
Personality & mental awareness
Even though we were the boot camp hosts, we, too, benefitted from taking a personality test and uncovering our individual motivators, ways of communication, energy drains, etc. Uncovering more insight about unique character traits is definitely an area we want to tackle more of in the future.
Based on the different personality types, we should elaborate more on distinct forms of communication in various environments. This could definitely positively impact team performance, because as it has been demonstrated in numerous other sports, high-communicating teams outperform teams with strong individual players who do not communicate well.
Frequent rapid eye movements take place during gaming, and the object of your focus (i.e. your screen) is in close proximity. Several nutritional products can support your eyes and there are several exercises available that can allow your eyes to rest between games.
A lot can be done to bolster mental skills outside of gaming. Taking cognitive tests to detect potential areas of improvement and following a prescribed set of exercises could positively impact in-game performance.
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