REPORT – The GameWard sports club has a gym and a nutritionist for the well-being of its players. Much more than a fad in the competitive world of video games.
A large living room has been planted on the corner of a first corridor with white walls. There is a sofa, a TV screen, a chessboard, a piano and even an American kitchen in dark tones. Lunch is barely over when a chef is already preparing dinner. Welcome to GameWard, an Esports club in Boulogne-Billancourt (Hauts-de-Seine), where video games aren’t the only crossing point. Strolling through the 600 m² complex you will soon come across a weight room full of dumbbells, balls and gym mats. This is just the tip of the iceberg for which Clément Thillier, nutritionist at GameWard since 2019, is responsible. His mission: “improve performance» players through his knowledge of nutrition, physical preparation and neurocognition.
“Everything we get back comes from other sports, like Formula 1 for reactivity, chess for thinking or dual-task activities like piano.”
Clément Thillier, Nutritionist at GameWard
In many disciplines, the athlete’s decline generally does not occur until after the age of 35. In Esport, the professional career is in the shadows from the age of 25. †We can’t say if this is because cognitive performance has declined, or if the teams have less confidence in players of that age. Is it the result of a bad lifestyle between the ages of 16 and 25?asks Clemens. Where soccer players, rugby players and tennis women have training programs adapted to last, athletes struggle. †No research has been done in Esport, sorry Clemens. Everything we get back comes from other sports, like Formula 1 for reactivity, chess for thinking, or even activities that work double, like playing the piano. All of this helps us create protocols.†
Playing high-level video games requires exceptional reflexes and hand-eye coordination. And so exercises adapted when the player releases his controller. †For example, juggling balls and saying the alphabet, suggests Clemens. Or I point in a direction, and the player has to look as fast as possible in the direction I’m pointing and point the other way.» Cohesive to improve on the famous performance. The idea of practicing a physical activity leaves you wondering. But the players defend it. †Being able to resume sports again was the best», Marc Pardaille rejoices, says Marcote. A rugby fan, the 20-year-old feels”much better physically and mentally“since GameWard forces him to do so”to pretend, to free oneself†
Julien Benneteau at the bedside of the players
Healthy mind in a healthy body. †It’s part of a whole, a state of mind and values that we want to establish at GameWard“, Julien Benneteau develops. The former tennis player, who has retired since 2018, was appointed sporting director of the club a year after hanging up the racket. He regularly goes to Boulogne-Billancourt to bring his past.both player and captain of the French team» women’s tennis. The ex-world number 25 knows how physical and mental go hand in hand. Benneteau’s contributionis even a little more about the mental aspect than the physical oneby his own confession. †The idea is also that it gives players motivation by moving them from talented players to professional players.Clement says.
An ecosystem that makes sense for Loïc Dubois, known as Toucouille, who was voted the best player in the French league in the League of Legends game in 2021† †Clément has helped us a lot with stress management, sleeping well and eating well“, tastes the 18-year-old player, who prefers “eat a balanced dish instead of a McDonald’s just before playing“. The recent arrival of a chef is part of this idea, to replace orders through a caterer.”It will create a framework with precise timetables, rejoices Toucouille. One stops eating at 1 p.m., the other at 3 p.m. It is better to eat everything together.The cliché of the player wedged in the left hand and right hand on the mouse is the equivalent of the rugby player in the third half. On a professional level, this is unthinkable. Like neglecting restorative nights.
A quality of sleepdisastrous“in sports
Among athletes,sleep quality is disastrous, notes Clemens. Why ? Because whoever says screen says blue light, so less production of melatonin (the sleep hormone, editor’s note)† We have poor balance, chronic fatigue that builds up and has a disastrous impact on cognitive performance.Finally, a small daily project for gamers is attitude. Have you ever felt pain in your back or arm after sitting in front of a computer for too long? †There are many problems with the wrist“among gamers, Clément points out. In January 2021, Italian Call of Duty star Thomas Paparatto aka ZooMaa retired due to a thumb injury, where he had undergone surgery in the past. He was only 25 years old.
“In Esport, players get damaged quickly because they sit in their seats and do this all day. †
Toucouille, professional player
Toucouille, who wants to avoid the same fate, is not surprised: “in Esport, players get damaged quickly because they sit in their seats and do this all day. Even before they were a professional player, they did. This is also why careers are a bit short in this environment.“In addition to the tricks he distils, Clément Thillier considers”for graduation project to make a kind of bandaged glove, which would calculate the angle of the wrist to know whether we are in a good posture or not†
This is one of his pet peeves, along with the customization of tracking, not just for the individual, but for their game.”In terms of information processing I see differences depending on the video game, notes Clemens. A Fortnite player will have very high reactivity at attention level while memory will be more developed in Starcraft players (strategy game, editor’s note)†But if they want to perform and, why not, shine at the Olympics, where the idea of watching video games is less and less a fantasy, they have to follow a strict path. A sporty path.