The relationship between esports organisation and professional player has always been somewhat of an odd one. We often see a hands-off approach, with players being behind team decisions and the entirety of their personal time, their only real obligation to show up on gameday and compete. But with the increasing investment sinking into esports, as well as the ever-improving professionalisation of the industry, is it about time organisations – especially those at the top – ask for more from their players? RFRSH, the parent company of Astralis, Origen and BLAST Pro Series, are setting new standards barely heard of in western esports – of course, in countries like China and South Korea the following is fairly commonplace. In a recent piece by the New York Times, it was outlined how far RFRSH are going to treat their talent like proper, professional athletes. Gym sessions, co-ordinated meal plans, a central office from which all operations occur out of. This is a far-cry from the team houses of old, or the standard organisation which may or may not have an office but is likely operated entirely remotely. It seems, all in all, that RFRSH are treating their players the way any top-level traditional sports team would. But is there a reason other organisations aren't doing this? There's no doubt that plenty have the capital to do so, and there is little reason not to instill this into the culture of an organisation.
Health and exercise
Obviously there aren't direct, comparable links to how fit and healthy a player is to their performance in-game, but this doesn't mean it's unhelpful. It shouldn't be forgotten that these players are earning hundreds of thousands whilst hardly out of their teens, if at all, and having to attend classes and gym sessions as well as maintaining a healthy diet teaches a level of discipline you don't often find in esports. As Origen's Patrik "Patrik" Jírů says in the NY Times piece: “Before, I would go to sleep at 5 a.m. and wake up at 2 p.m. the next day, eat McDonald’s two times, and that’d be it,” detailing the poor place an average esports athlete's lifestyle is at. This isn't uncommon for players at a high level –presumably late nights date back to when players had to maintain 'regular' jobs so were unable to scrim until late at night, but there is simply no necessity for this in top esports anymore. And the food... Ordering in seems to be a favourite pastime for pro players, who you'll see on stream not move from their setup for 12 hours whilst they wait for their Postmates delivery to reach the bedroom door. Of course, this is a sweeping generalisation, but isn't too far from the truth in most cases. Not only does it promote an unhealthy lifestyle to viewers but the drawbacks to consuming in such a way have been common knowledge for decades. Making a healthy lifestyle a basic requirement in a player's life is not only great marketing for the organisation involved but also helps cohesive living