We all know that an ideal school environment is one where the interests, opportunities, and activities available reflect the needs of the entire student body. The latest way to accomplish this and be inclusive to even more students? The world of esports.
In 2018, a Pew Research study found that an overwhelming majority of teens (97% boys, 83% girls) play videos. While some of these teens are involved in school sports and clubs, many are not. Starting an esports team at your school is not only a way to engage more students, but it's giving these students new opportunities that didn’t used to be available - including more than $16 million in college scholarships.
In this post, we’ll cover what esports are, their benefits for your esports athletes, and how to start an esports team.
What are esports?
Think video games meet sports competitions. Most often, esports are organized, multiplayer video game competitions. While traditionally not present in schools, in 2020 there are 17 states offering formal esports teams in schools.Some of the valuable skills and benefits associated with esports teams in school including:
- Sportsmanship: Similar to the other sports, there’s a big emphasis on teamwork, collaboration, and learning to work well with others.
- Communication: Communication and social skills are key as students learn to communicate with their teammates and coaches.
- Social Environment: Traditionally, many gamer kids have been isolated by having to play in solitude when they go home. Esports opens a new world for these students to have a sense of community.
- Critical Thinking: Students get strategic as they assess competitions and determine their own game plans, again similar to traditional sports teams.
Beyond these skills, esports also promotes STEM learning in a fun way. In fact Riot Games found that nearly 60% of their League of Legends (a major esports game) collegiate players were majoring in STEAM fields.
How To Start Your School’s eSports Team
Step 1: Find your esports coach.
Similar to any other team or club, your esports team will need a teach to sponsor your high school team. While they don’t have to be gamers themselves, having the time to both support the team and understand some of the more technical components involved is helpful.
Step 2: Recruit team members.
While closer to 10 students is ideal, the High School Esports League recommends five team members at a minimum. Although there is no maximum restriction, the technology you use or games played might play a factor.
3. Determine your partner leagues.
Unlike your physical sports teams that play within a geographic region, esports have no strict physical bounds. There are many esports leagues, all of which vary in costs, geographic coverage, training for coaches, and even games played. ByteSpeed has a great post listing all the high school esports league options.
4. Set up your technology.
The team will not only need to discuss what games they’ll play, but how they’ll play. Do you need to buy computers or does the school already have resources? Will the WiFi be stable on its own or should you invest in ethernet connections? You might even need to juice up your schools’ laptop or computers with extra memory cards just for gaming.
5. Get esports jerseys.
Similar to any other sport or club, you’ll want your team dressed for success. And we can help. At SquadLocker, we make it easy for you to design your jerseys and ensure your price doesn’t change depending on the number of shirts - so a smaller team isn’t a deterrent for an awesome uniform!
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