Fabian Broich is Head of Performance at Excel Esports, a UK-based professional esports organization that competes in the League of Legends. Broich said the understanding of how to improve player performance has only recently expanded beyond the technical aspects of video games and explored how to help athletes become happier and healthier so they can play better.
Born in Germany, Broich, who played college soccer in the USA, began to analyze what was going on in the minds and bodies of the players during a post-college stay at the German sports organization Schalke 04. The Gelsenkirchen club, which is based in the West German city, operates professional men’s and women’s soccer teams, team handball and other sports, including an esports team.
Diet was an afterthought
Broich said what he learned at Schalke and what he has now experienced with Excel, where he has been for a few years, is that team management has focused heavily on whether the players had the on-screen chops and less on it were interested in supporting the overall victory human being. This is especially true in the area of nutrition.
“There is still no awareness of the effects of diet. As the Head of Performance, it’s my job to lead by example and demonstrate a healthy lifestyle while educating the players about why food is important. We talk about the energy level, about the importance of glucose and complex carbohydrates as well as dietary supplements, ”Broich told NutraIngredients-USA.
Broich said aspiring esports athletes still rely heavily on caffeine and sugar to fuel their long breaks from gaming, which can typically stretch to 12 hours or more per day. Improving skills in actual gameplay was seen as the most important way to get better, and having a healthier body as a way to a more powerful mind was an afterthought at best.
“Eating is not yet associated with performance in sports. We do know, however, that poor diet or general malnutrition can lead to poor focus, more emotional imbalances, or cognitive delays, ”he said.
Support the whole person
Broich said Excel has started doing things differently. The typical player will have little focus beyond the actual game. Players build skills quickly this way, but they burn out just as quickly, he said. Excel has hired a professional chef with a nutritional background who offers two balanced meals a day and limits screen time.
“We have a completely different approach. Yes, you have to gamble a lot to be the best, but we incorporate physical activity, sleep tracking, and player counting. We want to play hard but smart. We want the players to have time for a relationship, time for sports and other important hobbies instead of just being in front of the screen day after day, ”he said.
According to Broich, Excel does blood tests on its players to get an idea of their nutritional status. The unconventional diet and lifestyle of the players can lead to surprising and potentially serious shortcomings.
“As you can imagine, esports players spend most of their days indoors, so they lack vitamin D. We also provide multivitamins because many players don’t eat too many vegetables and we also specifically get magnesium, zinc and omega-3s -Fatty acids supplement as well as caffeine before the competition. While we have a chef on site, nutritional supplements are essential to bridge the gap between their current monotonous lifestyle and a more diverse understanding of their nutritional needs, ”he said.
Broich said Excel has adopted a four pillar approach to support its players. In addition to working on the actual on-screen skills, this also includes focusing on proper sleep, proper nutrition, and physical activity. In this way, the organization hopes for a stable squad who can look forward to longer careers.
“A break from the screen and time without hands and wrists is really important for her in her career to prevent injuries,” said Broich.
“We believe that a stronger mindset and body causes less pain, makes time more comfortable, and leads to better performance. That is why we are creating a performance manual and giving presentations to train players in the non-game areas that we believe are vital for us to compete at high levels over the long term, ”he added .
Sports nutrition event
Broich will attend the NutraIngredients USA Summit on Exercise and Active Nutrition 2021. A segment scheduled for tomorrow will focus on recreation, while the final installment of the event, scheduled for February 25, will focus on the athlete and sport. To register for this FREE event, click in the box below.