Ninjas in Pyjamas and Jens the ‘Mental Coach’

The days of esports where players would sleep on the floor in a weekend long bring your own computer competition to win a new keyboard are now a thing of the past for top tier professionals.

The best in the world now compete in front of thousands in packed stadiums, with even more eyes on them at home. There’s no doubt that when players are competing for hundreds of thousands of dollars there’s huge pressure on the line and there’s been several examples in esports of teams choking under the sheer weight of expectation.

Not so long ago teams would rarely have more personnel than the five that would take the stage. Now, Dota 2, Counter-Strike and League of Legends teams have managers, coaches, data analysts, nutritionists and even coaches to work on the mental side of the game. The backroom staff is ever growing as esports continues to grow and the competition becomes ever fiercer.

Competition is so high at the top in each respective esport that teams seek even the smallest percentages to gain an advantage over opposition. For anyone that has played one of the big esports titles, they’ll surely understand the importance of mental stability when playing. Everyone’s been in a situation where they miss a shot in the most inconsequential and it puts them on tilt and they can’t perform well for the remainder. The difference is, if a professional does that, that can be the difference between $125,000 and $10,000.

“Jens has definitely helped me with my anger issues, and with letting things go”

The story of Ninjas in Pyjamas is an interesting one. Flashes of brilliance all too often intertwined with mediocrity summed up the Ninjas for far too long. The replacement of legend Adam “friberg” Friberg with youngster Fredrik “REZ” Sterner has given them the youthful spark needed to reinvigorate the talents of Christopher “GeT_RiGhT” Alesund and Patrik “f0rest” Lindberg. Crushing disappointment in failing to qualify for even the major qualifiers was followed up by the most unlikely of wins at IEM Oakland.

IEM Oakland saw NiP overcome both the world number one and the world number two on the way to a surprising victory. They looked fantastic, too, with youngster REZ taking tournament MVP with a sensational turnout in California.

“What helps is when you can pinpoint exactly in game, this is when you need to work on that”

There may be a fairly unique reason behind NiP’s recent success, however. Meet Jens Hofer, the latest addition to the Ninjas squad. Jens is a mental coach who has journeyed through basketball and football, who now finds himself in esports. Each player has individual sessions whilst the teams communication in scrims and practice will be monitored overall so Jens can give helpful pointers on what to work on. The players seem happy – and it’s fairly evident that Jens is having an impact.

See the initial post, and more from Betway Insider’s blog, here.

Disclaimer: This is a sponsored post