Tips and coping skills to avoid common pitfalls and to help prevent regression, as well as general information to get you on your way is what we aim to provide primarily. None of the information found in this video is tailored to meet the needs of specific individual situations and factors, and as such should not be applied as a be-all end-all solution. For tailor-made, professional guidance which takes into account all specific factors pertaining to you, the individual, we strongly recommend seeking out a professional who specializes in your problem area (e.g. physio therapist, ergonomics therapist, psychologist). All the information provided in this video is explicitly provided as general guideline or advice based on experience.
What is eSports Ergonomics?
For our purposes, we'll define eSports Ergonomics as: Creating the most efficient, user-friendly and responsible situation of human interaction with tools and systems, and activities performed. Not only adapting the environment and equipment to suit the needs of the individual, but also the adaptation of the individual to maximize the effect of use and minimize the negative side-effects of activity and use.
Posture, Breathing, Tension, Mentality, and getting into shape vs performing an eSport all work as a big chain. Improving one of these things with have synergistic effects on the others. The whole is greater than the sum of it's parts. You are only as strong as your weakest link. Here's some guidlines on how to improve your posture while competing
- Knees at 90 degrees
- Back at 90-135 degrees (best to watch video for example)
- Vary the angle of your back and legs or take micro breaks to reduce pain
- Use posture correcting cushions (check /w professional to determine which one is right for you)
- Screen Height: Sitting up and looking straight ahead should put your eyes level with the top third of your screen.
- Neck: Crown of the head should be directly above spine/sacrum (best to watch video for example)
- Arms, Shoulders, rest on desk or arm rests. Avoid hovering or putting your mouse/keyboard at the edge of the desk unless you have significant musculature from similar activities (like extensive piano practice). Even so, resting the arms on the desk will result in longer sessions with less fatigue, as will all of the guidelines listed above.
- Every 25-30 minutes
- Should last 2-5 minutes
- Move around
- Do not sit or look at a screen of any kind
- Refresh eyes by looking at something in the distance
Stretches & Exercises
- Leave 24-48 hours of rest between stretching/exercise sessions
- Visit an expert to get customized stretches and exercise for you. Each body is different, there is no one-size-fits all regimen.
Relaxation & Meditation
- Be aware of your body and tension
- Take meditation breaks
Pain, Coping Skills & Psychosomatic Ails
- Avoiding the motion or activity that causes pain can sometimes cause more pain. Don't assume you are okay simply because you've adjusted your posture to avoid a particular pain.
- Emotions and stress effect the body. Consider your emotional state before, during, and after playing. Attempt to deal with these emotions before they become overwhelming and intense. It is easier to release a 3 out of 10 level of emotion and get back to 0 multiple times per day than it is to wait until the emotion hits maximum intensity to address it.
When to see a specialist
- If you stop the pain causing activity and the pain is still there a few hours later, see a specialist
- If you decrease, (but not stop) the pain causing activity and the pain decreases or stops all together, slowly build up practice sessions taking breaks when you feel pain.
Deliberate Practice for Ergonomics
- Spend a practice session on a lower MMR, unranked, vs ai, or similar.
- Allow your gameplay to go on autopilot and focus primarily on your Breath, Posture, Tension etc.
- Go through the checklists provided above mentally as you play, checking in with your body and listening to what it is telling you.
- Use a camera to record these sessions from different angles.
- Compare your current session to the first attempt or a recording of your normal playing posture before applying these techniques
- Balance a book on your head after setting up in optimal posture
- See how long you can keep it up. Kappa
Common Misconceptions and Conclusion
There are a lot of people who will answer the question of pain and ergonomics in eSports by saying things like, "watch this video with stretches and do them every time before you play" (neglecting to mention a 24-48 hour rest cycle) or "put your mouse and keyboard to the very edge of your desk and use one of your wrist bones as an anchor" (neglecting to mention the prerequisite musculature for this kind of posture). We hope that through this guide you have come to understand the deficiencies in these statements and in the inaccurate statements and misinformation that are likely to come. Each body is different based not only on genetics, but experience that has shaped the different muscles of the body. You'll have likely noticed by now the #1 thing to do is make an appointment with a specialist. It's probably not a particularly appealing piece of advice. You may have to do some research to find one in your area, check your health insurance, or even pay out of pocket, there may be a stigma in your culture that gives you a negative emotional response when you hear the word "Therapist". But we can't stress it enough, just one visit to a physiotherapist or other appropriate professional will give you the best stretching/exercise routine, chair/cushion recommendation, and help you to understand your particular body so that you can have an optimal, pain-free, competitive gaming experience.