Sometimes having real conversations with family can be difficult. For young aspiring esports athletes, those conversations typically involve telling their parents they want to play video games for a living. This particular blog post is more personal than others because it relates directly to our sister, Mae (14).
How do you tell your parents you want to play video games for a career? Start by doing research and be prepared for the conversation. Try to have useful facts about the esports industry, tell them your realistic goals and expectations, and most importantly listen to their questions and concerns.
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Your number one job when having this conversation with parents is to calm their fears. Hopefully, this will be a very positive conversation, and you’ll walk away having their full support. Be prepared to work hard. This will help prove to them that you can actually turn competitive gaming into a professional career.
Do Your Homework
We put a lot of work into this particular blog in order to help our sister as she continues to have conversations with our parents. They are very supportive of her, but they have a lot of concerns.
There’s definitely not “one way” to have this conversation. Every family is different, and every parent will respond differently.
These are merely suggestions so you’ll be ready for what could be a long and challenging conversation.
Before jumping into the conversation having a little prep work done is absolutely beneficial. If you want your parents to take your dreams seriously, you have to take it seriously by putting in the effort and do a little research.
Break the Stereotype
The first thing your parents are automatically going to assume is that you just want to sit around all day and play video games.
Esports and professional gaming is such a new concept older generations don’t know how to respond to people who want to pursue this type of career.
It doesn’t make sense to them. They can’t imagine how someone could make money playing games.
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You need to realize that your parents are probably not going to understand what you’re talking about.
Even though you know professional gaming can be very lucrative and that there are lots of opportunities to support yourself financially they may not know that.
Sometimes parents can get frustrated when talking about video games and esports because they have no prior knowledge of about it.
It’s easy for your parents to talk to you about a career in basketball or baseball. It’s something they understand!
They’ve seen other people go through the process and they have a knowledge of what it would look like.
You need to respect that they may have no knowledge of the esports industry.
Now you can begin your prep work.
Do Some Research
Study the esports industry so you can answer any questions they may ask. Understand the process to break into the industry, how much money you can potentially earn, and show them some of the other careers in esports beyond just competing.
You need to be very serious when having this conversation with your parents about the esports industry.
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There’s a chance your parents might think it’s a joke. This is when you need to show them you’re taking your hobby and turning it into a career.
The top esports athletes genuinely see themselves as professionals. They don’t take professional gaming lightly and hold themselves very accountable.
If you are not taking this seriously, then don’t count on your parents taking it seriously either.
Kim Price is the mother of professional Call of Duty esports player Dillion ‘Attach’ Price. She had this to say about the esports industry, and it’s athletes.
“I would tell parents that the professional gaming scene is filled with young people who are smart, responsible, and respectful. These are very talented young people who have worked very hard to achieve their goals. It takes forethought, a quick mind, fast reaction time to become a successful gamer. I would say to keep an open mind to the pro video game world. It is a very exciting and growing scene with very good and dedicated young people.”
– DOT Esports
I thought it was absolutely necessary to include her quote in this blog to show a mom’s perspective about the esports industry.
WATCH this video of Mrs. “Attach” Price and show it to your parents.
This is what you need to show your parents! Esports isn’t filled with a bunch of slackers that don’t take the industry seriously.
They are dedicated, competitive, and determined to prove they’re the best.
It’s vital that you never use the phrase “I just want to sit around and play video games.”
The minute you say anything like this you’ll immediately lose their support.
They might already think negatively about you competing in the first place, and you don’t want to make it worse by saying something unprofessional.
Now that you have all of the facts and information you might need to answer their questions it’s time actually to sit down and have the conversation with them.
The Actual Talk
We weren’t there when our sister told her parents that she was actually interested in playing video games professionally.
I do know our parents were supportive but had many concerns and questions.
Before just jumping into the conversation you will need to figure out the proper time and setting to talk about esports.
Read Their Moods
It can be a sensitive topic so you’ll want to make sure your parents are in a good mood and they have the time for what might be a long conversation.
You want to come into the meeting with very positive and happy energy.
This is your dream and something you want to do with your life. Show them it brings you joy and that you genuinely want to pursue esports.
Once you’ve gone through all the research you’ve gathered about esports, it’s essential to talk about your own personal journey.
Every gamer’s path to professional gaming and esports can look differently.
The first thing you’ll want to let them know is that you are good at playing video games. It all sounds great that you want to play video games for a living, but you have to be good enough to support yourself.
If you can’t win against top competition, then it’ll be a long and painful journey for you and your family.
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Use websites like Gosugamers to see where you rank against the competitoin.
Show them your ranking on leaderboards, your total points or skills, and if you happen to enter any online tournaments make sure they are aware of how you performed.
Competing in esports is not a cheap career!
To get your parents fully on board to support you financially you’ll need to show them you’ve already seen success playing video games.
This doesn’t mean beating your friends and your family, I’m talking about winning real tournaments and competing against the competitors online and in person.
It takes a lot of money to get started because you have to either buy a PC or gaming console, travel to tournaments, and pay tournament fees.
Hopefully, you’ll be able to get their full support!
Goals and Expectations
Remember when I said you need to take this seriously and act like a professional?
Part of acting like a professional means setting realistic and honest expectations for your career.
Work with your parents to come up with goals and a timeline for yourself. It’s vital they know the plan so they can keep you accountable and help you achieve your dream.
By realistic goals, I’m not talking about winning the League of Legends Championship Series. That is a huge accomplishment only a select few gamers ever achieve.
Also, being famous is not a realistic goal.
Tell them the first step would be winning local tournaments, starting a high-end streaming channel, and potentially finding local sponsors.
The most important goal you need them to understand is that you are trying to support yourself financially.
Most likely they still won’t believe it’s possible to support yourself through video games financially. Show them it is possible and these are the steps you’re going to take to make it happen.
It’s not only good for them to see you have a plan but also for you to have an idea in place.
Having your career theoretically mapped out can be beneficial when you have slow or hard days trying to pursue your dream. It helps remind you what the end goal is!
A couple of ways you can make your conversation flow smoothly is by using a PowerPoint. Again, another very mature and professional step.
Or show them an example of a gamer that’s done what you’re trying to do. Pick your favorite esports athlete and show your parents how they got to be where they are.
Like we said before, your parents may not understand your goals. Spend time showing how each goal will make you more successful.
Another crucial thing you never want to tell your parents is that you are quitting school (or college) to pursue a career in esports.
You’ll routinely see varying opinions about whether to quit school and solely focus on esports or to continue to focus on your education.
Your parents would prefer that you continue to get an education.
Have part of your plan be to continue getting your education, but in your spare time continue to focus on building your esports career.
One of the ways you might be able to earn even more of their support is to tell them about all the college scholarships available to esports athletes.
There are a lot of great colleges around the country offering scholarships to students who can play.
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Hopefully, if they see you can continue your education with some help from esports, they will give you even more support.
Your Physical Health
Unfortunately, you’ll still need to overcome the stereotype that esports players will sit in their parent’s basement and do nothing but eat Cheetos.
That’s the vision your parents will most likely have in their mind and will do everything to convince you not to pursue this lifestyle.
Thankfully, there’s been a lot of great information and studies about how to play video games and stay physically healthy.
You need to emphasize the word ‘athlete’ when talking about being a competitive gamer.
By using the word ‘athlete’, you are showing them you are not going to let your health deteriorate while playing video games.
Come up with a healthy eating plan that includes plenty of chicken, protein, rice, fruits, and vegetables.
Not only are these foods good for your body but they also help you compete better. Playing video games relies heavily on having strong mental skills.
These types of food will help you focus and be mentally stronger as you compete in bigger and better tournaments.
We all know playing video games and training for esports means there is going to be a lot of sitting. You’ll either be sitting at a computer or sitting in a gaming chair as you play on your PlayStation or Xbox.
While there has been a lot of significant technological advancements in gaming chairs to fix your posture and help with blood flow, you’ll still need to exercise consistently.
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Show them that while you are training, you’ll be taking active rest breaks. Where you will be stretching, walking, or even lifting weights.
You’re honestly not doing these things for your parents but for your career. The top esports teams highly encourage their athletes to be physically fit.
The esports industry has realized that gamers need to train like professional athletes to stay competitive.
It’s not only helping gamers be healthy but also improving their skill set as they compete.
You’ll be improving your reflexes and endurance. Plus you’ll get an ego boost from looking toned. It sounds funny, but sometimes confidence really does make all the difference at tournaments.
In addition to having a healthy eating plan make sure to include plenty of rest time in your training schedule. Your parents need to know that you won’t be playing video games all night and then sleeping all day.
Come up with a way to get 8 hours of sleep, so your body feels rested as you train. Not getting enough sleep can cause you to be easily agitated and not perform at the level you would like.
By this point, it can be helpful to go through some of the additional positives that can come from playing video games professionally.
The one I recommend you focus on is the fact that video games actually encourage social skills.
Going back to that old stereotype that video game players sit in their parent’s basement and have no friends.
In today’s world, esports athletes must have social skills and be able to communicate with other people.
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Not only can you make lifelong friends through playing video games, but you learn to communicate with business professionals when talking about corporate deals.
Competing professionally gives you the opportunity to meet many people at tournaments and hopefully join an esports team. Friends that support you and have the same ambitions as you.
To succeed at multiplayer games like League of Legends and Dota 2 the top esports players need to have exceptional communication skills.
During a match, teams are always changing their strategies and having to adjust. This is where being able to communicate well with your teammates is a necessity.
Being able to communicate clearly and effectively is a trait that any future employer would appreciate.
You need to be able to talk quickly and confidently to make sure everyone is on the same page.
Communicating During Streaming
To financially support yourself through streaming you’ll need exceptional communication skills. One of the common traits all top streamers all have is the ability to be entertaining and communicate during their feeds.
I know I don’t want to watch a very dull and boring person play video games. Even if they are really skilled, there’s always going to be someone more entertaining.
You need to be able to communicate with your audience and your fans. This is how you build a dedicated following that’ll hopefully turn into more significant financial gains.
People who own esports teams and organizations want athletes that can properly speak and communicate.
I’ve seen a lot of commercials and ads where esports athletes are selling a sponsors product. You need to be semi-engaging for sponsors to want you.
Most likely you’ll also have to sell yourself to esports teams. Tell them why they should sign you beyond just your wins and your accomplishments.
You will also learn how to be a good team player.
Most professional careers will have you work within a group of people on projects. Meaning you need to work well with others.
No employer wants someone that can’t work with other people. Being part of an esports team will help you learn how to deal with different personalities and work towards a common goal.
These communication and teamwork skills will benefit you even after you hang up your controller and retire.
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Your parents will hopefully respect your competitive nature that drives your desire to be an esports athlete.
I’ve been told I’m an incredibly competitive person and have been banned from certain family card games because I take them too seriously.
Having a competitive drive can be a good thing. It’s good when pursuing an esports career or just in life.
The competition also helps you learn how to deal with loss. Life isn’t easy and your parents know that as well.
Pursuing a career in esports means you’re going to lose some tournaments and matches.
Knowing how to deal with those losses properly is a great character builder. You need to know how to channel that feeling and be able to recover.
This is what parents love to hear!
That your video game time can actually help you in the future become a better person in society. All your parents want is for you to succeed. And your responsibility is to show them how video games can help you do that.
Multiple Career Paths
After going through all of these conversation points to prove competitive gaming is a legitimate career path. Remember you still have one final trick up your sleeve.
As we’ve already said, most likely your parents will have very little knowledge about the esports industry. That’s where you can tell them about the vast number of career opportunities outside of competitive gaming.
Yes, the point of this blog post and your conversation with your parents is to be a competitive gamer. But it is so incredibly challenging to get to that point. So, it’s always good to have a backup plan.
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At the end of the day, as long as you get to be a part of the esports industry that may be enough.
Esports will be a billion dollar industry by next year and the industry needs to create career opportunities for a vast number of professionals.
Tell your parents about all the opportunities within the esports industry. You could be involved in marketing, operations, be a shoutcaster, a lawyer, or best of all be an actual game developer.
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There are so many different avenues you can take and they’re all respectable careers that can support you financially.
We really focused on that point with our sister and our parents.
Showing them there are so many opportunities and that the industry is only getting bigger.
I really hope these conversation points make it easy for you to have “the talk” with your parents. I’m sure in the next couple of years this blog will no longer be relevant.
As the esports industry becomes more accepted, there will be less need for a whole blog about how to have these conversations.
Listen to what your parents say, show them why you love video games, and do everything you can to get them on your side.
For You, Parents
Some of you reading this blog might not be gamers but parents of players.
I’m sure many of you are probably nervous and unsure about your child pursuing a career as a competitive gamer.
Our responsibility is not to completely erase all your insecurities but to provide information about esports.
Esports is a growing industry that is on track to be a billion-dollar sports league by 2020. Gamers are competing all over the world for millions in prize money.
I have two kids of my own, and I get nervous about encouraging a career in esports. It’s okay to be nervous as long as you’re helping them to the best in whatever career they choose.
At the end of the day though I would encourage you to support your child in their dream of being an esports athlete.
I hope your child has set reasonable goals and expectations. This is not an easy career to achieve, and there will be a lot of tough days ahead.
In the end, though the biggest obstacle for these young esports athletes is the lack of support from their families.
We need to be there too guide them and push them to achieve their dreams.
Some aspects of the esports industry will require your assistance.
These young gamers are being signed to large contracts at very young ages. They may not know what they’re doing and need someone to guide them.
Unfortunately, some esports teams have taken advantage of gamers naive nature which has caused them to quit the industry.
Help them make the right decisions and keep them from getting taken advantage of.
Sit Down and Learn
There really are a lot of positive traits that young people can learn from competitive gaming.
One of the best things you can do for your child is actually to sit down and play video games with them.
Let them teach you about the game they love and show you how good they are. This way you have a better appreciation of what they are doing.
Then during tournaments treat it like any other sports event. Show up with your giant banners cheering on your child to victory.
We really do wish you and your family all the best of luck as you dive into the crazy world of esports.
Can my parents compete with me in esports? Absolutely! There’s nothing in any rule book about parents not being able to compete with you. It’s a great way to get them excited about the industry.