Becoming a pro gamer, whether in CS:GO or any other esport, requires a lot of time, motivation, and a healthy lifestyle, at a minimum. It also requires intense effort, and that every day. It is not enough to play or train for just two or three hours a day. To outmatch the competition, you’ll need to put in at least eight hours of daily play, and often even more.
Even if you are a reactive and tactical genius at your chosen esport, if you don’t practice for at least eight hours every day, you’ll easily be overcome by less talented pros who put in the requisite hours of practice, and so have faster reaction times and better hand-eye co-ordination. Training counts in Esports, as with any sport.
Also, becoming a pro gamer is a path full of pitfalls. The main problem is that there isn’t yet a definite framework for esports in most countries. At the very least, esports rarely garner the support that professional sports get in most countries, and though attitudes are slowly changing, you should be prepared for setbacks in your chosen field unless you are fortunate enough to be picked up early by a top professional team.
Develop a strategic mind
The difference between the professional and the amateur can often be in depth of tactics and strategy. You must understand, research, analyze, test and be attentive to the strategies being actively used today. You must also develop your own original tactics and strategies as well. This is necessary in order to find the offensive tactics, and even more importantly, the defensive tactics that ensure victory. All this requires a lot of ingenuity, imagination and a certain degree of self control.
Getting to be known
The most difficult part for a budding pro gamer with talent who wants to be known, is precisely that – getting to be known. When he thinks he has attained a level high enough to compete with famous players, he must then start to use the tools that will allow him to be seen.
It is essential to not only have the skills, but be seen to have the skills
To this end, you must actively use social media. You must have your own YouTube Channel, post on a Facebook page, use Twitter, and aggressively engage in LANs and other competitions. This is the best way to meet people, to learn, and to make yourself known. All this takes time, but if you cannot devote that time to your professional career, it will never get off the ground. Develop your own blog, and if possible, update it with something new once or twice a week. Become a member of top pro forums, and enter discussions regularly – but respectfully. It’s only if you’re known that you’ll come to the attention of a professional squad that might recognize your talent.
Continue to work at social media, even when you’re not doing too well
You have to work at your social media feeds, even during a slow phase or when your morale is low, because these tools continuously work on your behalf in return, even at times when you’re not actively engaged in using them. We also urge you to go to the sites of the different esports teams that interest you, and whose playing style you particularly admire, and especially sites and media feeds managed by the team you want to join. Learn their playing style, and become familiar with their strategies and tactics. This ranks as proof of your investment in them, and your willingness to join the team in question.
The financial question
A true pro gamer must be backed by sponsors. Indeed, a pro gamer who can only play during his free time or after work will often have to start his career by financing his travel, registration fees and equipment. All of this is often very expensive, and the equipment especially has to be of the best if you are to remain competitive. You need to reach out to companies or individuals and find those willing to invest in your career as a professional player.
Ideally, you need to aim at becoming a part of a professional esports team
This is the best option, because you have the opportunity to earn a salary. Don’t expect anything incredible at the lower levels of pro play, but everyone has to climb the ladder. However, it is a secure income, and governed by labour laws, so you can be guaranteed a reasonable income.
Social media and blogging as a source of income
Additional income could come in from social media streams and from blogging – included in this are Twitch, DailyMotion, YouTube, and of course advertisements on your blog, as well as Amazon affiliate links in your articles. Reach out for every potential source of income, because every bit of additional income brings you closer to your goals.
Sponsors may not pay you a salary, but can offer you other support
They can upgrade your computer to a gaming machine, and provide you with a gaming mouse and keyboard, as well as other accessories. All of these are crucial. A gaming mouse tracks properly – in a game that depends on accuracy, like CS:GO, this can be the difference between victory and defeat. A good pair of professional headphones, in CS:GO, will allow you to hear your opponents, and to accurately track their motion.
If you win a series of events, even if they’re national level, sponsors can fund a trip abroad, allowing you to go international.
Another source of funding, once you are reasonably experienced, is to become a writer or an editor on a gaming website. This allows you to fund your competitive play while giving you the opportunity to talk about your passion, and the game you have chosen. A good many of the writers here on Esportsranks are either esports professionals, or have been connected with professional esports at one point.
Representing a top esports website might also allow you to stream games live or comment on competitions on the sites of your chosen esports team, and thus become significantly more than just a pro gamer by bringing information and rich content to the esports world – and that’s something that all esports organizations and teams respect.
How to find sponsors
Finding a sponsor depends on where you are, of course. In the United States, for example, finding organizations and individuals willing to sponsor esports is easier. If you’ve worked hard to get yourself recognized, it’ll be easier to sell that image to your sponsors, who in all probability will be interested in selling their brand or product to your admirers. So collecting a dedicated circle of viewers and fans is the key to finding a sponsor – and making that circle of admirers as large as possible. Don’t hesitate to contact companies and individuals who might be interested in sponsoring you. Go to them, don’t wait for them to come to you.
Once you contact a sponsor, they will ask for links to your feeds, streams and blogs to analyze what “ROI” ( Return on Investment) you represent. They’ll study your active fan following and try to see if it will be interested in their products. If your fans are likely to be so, you’ll probably have funding in the immediate future.
So you’re now a pro gamer – well, your journey is just beginning
Once you’ve found your first sponsor, the next step is to register for as many competitions as you can – and go on to find bigger and better sponsors. Money really is the name of the game, even if you think you’re playing CS:GO. You must also meet the expectations of your present sponsors. This include highlighting their brands and products, giving interviews and mandatory attendance at competitions.
You have to keep updating your blogs, YouTube channels and streams to continue to earn additional revenue through ads and other partnerships because, as I said before, these communication tools will work for you throughout your career.
Prepare for life after esports
Even if you make it to the major teams and circuits, you still need to think and plan ahead for a life after your active playing career is over. Hardly any professional esports player lasts beyond thirty. Some of the esports related careers available to good players who can also use social media, or speak well, are as esports analysts or writers. If you’re good, you’ll certainly be in demand, either as an official commentator at events, or as a writer or editor on premier esports websites.
Another job open to a pro gamer who can think strategically and tactically is that of team coach, so if this is where your talents lie, this is the direction to move in once your active playing career is over. If your strategic and tactical skills have been obvious during your years of active play, you won’t have much difficulty getting a job with a good team that needs a tactical man ‘behind the scenes’.
As you can see, an esports career is just about as difficult as any other
It takes years of dedication, training and networking to get to the top. As well as a fair amount of luck. But foremost of all, it takes talent. Play against the best players you can find, and convince yourself you have what it takes to be one of the best in the world. If you do, and if you defeat the best players who come up against you fairly easily, then a career in esports is certainly for you. If you don’t, think about other careers. Professional esports like CS:GO are only for those who can be better and faster than almost everyone else in the world, or so strategically proficient that they can think circles around the opposition. Possessing real talent is still the best way to the top in this industry.
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