Should psychologists be required for LCS teams?

With the tweets of top laner Jeon “Ray” Ji-won coming to light recently, the discussion of the mental health of professional players returns. Many fans on social media can be harsh to their favorite players when they perform poorly. The criticism pro players can face added with the stress of performing well on stage can take a toll on these young minds.

You also have to factor in that many of the players are experiencing their first times being away from home in a brand new team environment. Not to mention a brand new country/culture for imported players. If players don’t perform up to their own standards, their own mental health can take a toll.

History of Mental Health Issues in LCS

Psychologists

Photo by Riot Games

It’s no secret that some players have seen the need to retire due to the stress of being a pro player. Legendary players such as Dyrus and Voyboy noted the mental stress during their time in LCS. Sport psychologists have slowly been making their way onto professional teams, but not all.

The most well known psychologist in pro League of Legends would have to be Weldon Green who made a name for himself on TSM last year, and now G2. Both teams saw significant upgrades to their team’s play after bringing Weldon in. Most of the teams have bought into hiring sports psychologists for their teams. The early days of LCS of eating whatever and only playing the games are gone.

Teams are training players to be physically and mentally fit in all aspects of life. CLG opted to train in a top sports facility during the offseason as opposed to bootcamping in Korea like some teams. The result has been a first place spot so far after five and a half weeks of LCS.

Should Psychologists be Required for LCS teams?

Not too long ago, Riot made coaches a requirement for LCS teams. Should psychologists become the next thing to join that list of required staff? It definitely could be if more players were to speak out about some of their mental issues. It’s almost certain that Ray isn’t the only player facing these types of mental hurdles.

Even a few sessions a week could help players with managing their stress. Every team could use the benefit of a psychologist. Not only for struggling players, but for team life in general. Many teams that have taken on Psychologists can see the effect it has had on team environments. Roccat last Spring struggled before a late surge almost netted them a playoff spot. They credited this to bringing on a sports psychologist to help with the team atmosphere.

What we can do as fans

As fans, it’s easy to criticize our favorite pros when they fail to meet our expectations. We also need to remember that they’re people just like us who are performing on some of the world’s biggest stages of professional LoL. Most of them haven’t been groomed to receive the hate that some of the community is bound to expel when they have a poor game.

We must not be quick to make remarks based off emotions. Everyone isn’t going to play perfectly, but flaming them over social media most certainly won’t help them play any better. Pro players for the most part, know when they’ve messed up. They know if they cost their team a match. There’s no need for fans to tag them in tweets raging or making angry posts on Reddit. Let them learn from their mistakes and prove themselves next time.

 

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Cover photo by Riot Games

Player Shuffle and Dota Mentality

(art by gtande10.deviantart.com)

Teams changing their rosters after important events has been a thing since forever, and even more in Dota 2. People would argue, quite correctly, that this isn’t the best way to build a good and solid team. Success doesn’t come easily, and there’s no sure-win recipe. Even the best of the best will lose a few matches eventually.

On the other hand, I can understand that finding 5 people that are willing, both individually and as team, to work towards the same goal for a good amount of time, is anything but easy. So, some would argue that it can be better to simply remove the parts of the machine that don’t want to cooperate and replace them quickly before they do any more harm.

We could keep discussing forever which side is closer to the truth. Personally, I believe it all comes down to circumstance. However, both views prove a very simple point, which is a very clear attribute of the Dota player mentality.

And that is, people give up too easily.

It’s plainly obvious even in pub matches. For the simple goal of gaining +25 MMR, a large percentage of players prefer to AFK in their fountain at the first sign of adversity rather than try to fight till the bitter end. And all they MIGHT gain out of it is 10 more minutes to play a similar match.

I believe this very mindset is the same reason we see rosters changing at the drop of a hat. As outsiders, we can’t be sure each time whose fault it is, whether a player simply stopped caring and got removed, or perhaps the sponsors wanted better results and wanted them now, so they fired everyone in a fit of rage, but what’s almost for sure is that someone in this equation gave up.

I can certainly understand that this game can create tension and (un)healthy competition, which can get people a bit more fired up than they should be. Getting fired up may or may not work in one’s favour; surrendering however, is a one-way ticket to failure. And for a pub game, with or without ranking, there isn’t much of a price to pay really. But those who actually want to make a career out of this game should really reconsider.