The culture of team houses was always going to make its way to our fine shores at some point, but with Australia being somewhat behind the 8-ball in terms of esports infrastructure it's only inevitable that it took a while before major associations, like the opening of last week's ASUS ROG Gaming House, came to fruition.
The support structure around esports and team houses in Australia is a little behind as well. But Legacy Esports, whose members are renting out the ASUS house in Lidcombe, are catching up fast -- and the state government is helping them out.
In a chat with Michael Carmody, the Legacy Esports manager told me that he'd been talking and negotiating with the NSW Institute of Sport. The idea was to incorporate sports psychology into the training regimes for his League of Legends team, which should -- as it does with professional athletes -- optimise and refine their training and mental focus.
The idea didn't come from overseas or even within Australian esports, however. Instead, it came from a journalist.
"Djuro Sen, used to be the media manager for the Waratahs [NSW rugby union], now the Channel 7 technology reporter," Carmody explained. So he’s a sports, technology sort of guy. Chatting with him via a network meet-up, again meeting new friends and new people, and I was talking to him about it and saying, 'We’re in this house now, but you can’t just chuck the kids in the house and let them think. You have to [have] framework and professional things.'"
Sen's advice to Carmody: get a sports psychologist. According to the former Waratah, it was the most impactful link in the union team's support network. The Legacy Esports leader went to Riot for help -- understandably -- but the only person they had locally was in their HR department, and having moved from the United Kingdom he wasn't able to refer Legacy to anyone.
Carmody turned to the next obvious step -- the Australian Institute of Sport -- but they turned out to be spectacularly unhelpful. "Completely useless," Carmody said of the AIS. "Email bounces, phones unanswered, no-one rang me back, whatever." So he continued to search on his own until he eventually came across someone in the NSW Institute of Sport who'd written a few papers on performance psychology on sports and teams.
The team has had a couple of meetings and they've implemented some simple changes that has improved their routine already, such as walking away from the computers after every match regardless of the result. "I think it will really be great for the boys and a great thing for the organisation. How exactly the engagement of that is going to work? We’ll see as we go," Carmody added.
He finished off by saying that, even though they're not required to perform to the same physical standards, his League of Legends team are professionals "that need to perform in a high pressure setting". And considering the recent resignation of Maria "Remi" Creveling from Renegades was partially due to the issues of dealing with pressure, Carmody's view is difficult to disagree with.