IFoEC Ltd, the training partner of the International Federation of Esports Coaches, has partnered with the University of Portsmouth (UoP) to establish the first degree course in esports coaching and performance.
The BSc (Hons) Esports Coaching and Performance programme will be delivered online from September 2021.
In response to calls for more focused degree programmes, organisers say this degree course ‘has been carefully constructed to provide students with in-depth and first-hand knowledge of the performance side of the esports industry, and equip them with tangible skills to fulfil a variety of leadership and support roles in esports as well as other health and performance domains’.
The partnership will aim to facilitate the transfer from theory to practice and offer graduates ‘a meaningful chance’ to network and find employment opportunities in esports.
The teaching staff comprises personnel from both UoP and IFoEC, some of whom currently work with professional esports teams.
Organisers say the course integrates aspects of research and innovation ‘to allow students to evaluate and inform current practices, pursue postgraduate research and establish new roles for themselves’, and that it was developed over the last year with a team of established academics, practicing esports coaches and sport performance professionals.
IFoEC also wants to highlight the need to ensure the safety and wellbeing of those involved in esports, especially young people.
Karl ‘Reclamation’ Dixon, League of Legends head coach for 404 Multigaming, said: “I believe that the courses are beneficial for safeguarding those who we coach as we have a responsibility to look after those around us, alongside helping them with their personal lives – something that is rarely seen.
“If these qualifications help professional players learn to cope when they retire, then they are worth every penny. The qualification will not make you understand the game better, but it will make you understand the commitment and responsibility while not forgetting how to effectively communicate/articulate your points.”
League of Legends player and coach, Neyas ‘Raizins’ Guruswamy, who’s also a streamer partnered with London Esports, commented: “Having proper guidance from a structured course would help a lot of people I know in the industry save years of their lives not having to find their own way and figure everything out for themselves.
“Hopefully one day we can see a new generation of kids who fill out their applications to university esports degrees knowing that they will receive a top-tier education and have real prospects of a career in this world. I know I wanted that!”
Dom is an award-winning writer who graduated from Bournemouth University with a 2:1 degree in Multi-Media Journalism in 2007.
As a long-time gamer having first picked up the NES controller in the late ’80s, he has written for a range of publications including GamesTM, Nintendo Official Magazine, industry publication MCV as well as Riot Games and others. He worked as head of content for the British Esports Association up until February 2021, when he stepped back to work full-time on Esports News UK and as an esports consultant helping brands and businesses better understand the industry.