July 29, 2022

Healthy Gaming: Social Emotional Learning in Academic Esports

SEL and Academic Esports are the perfect pair for developing practical soft skills in young students.

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Gaming gets a bad rap for being toxic. From news stories of rude players to personal experiences of frustrating matches, it’s difficult to not develop a bias toward the culture. But, gaming doesn’t inherently foster this culture of anger and frustration. In fact, with the right lessons and attitude, it can be an incredibly positive and productive experience!

With a bit of effort, we can improve the gaming scene for everyone. If we help teach our students to game healthily, we can radically improve gaming culture for the better. With just a bit of hard work, we can change the field so that it accepts all sorts of people and leaves everyone feeling accepted and celebrated. 

Discover why mastering the CASEL 5 is tremendously beneficial to esports players - and also how participating in academic esports can help students develop these essential skills. 


To succeed as an esports player, gamers must understand their mental and physical states. When a player is tilted, the first step to improving their mental state is to identify when it is occurring. Only when students can identify the symptoms can they act to take care of them. 

With a bit of education on identifying and soothing these negative emotions, players can prevent themselves from adding toxicity to the games that they play. They can learn to pause and reflect if they’re feeling angry, instead of taking it out on their teammates or the people that they’re competing with. 

Esports, when supported by the right academic content, can help students identify their frustrations in activities outside of esports too. When they become frustrated with projects or work, they’ll be better able to understand when they should take a break, take care of themselves, and act to improve their situation. 


Along with being self-aware, esports players must take care of themselves on and off the video game field. Though esports isn’t as physically demanding as other more traditional sports, it still requires physical fitness! The mind performs best when the body is taken care of.

Professional esports players spend time getting enough sleep, drinking enough water, stretching, and exercising to ensure that they’re in top shape for their games. Only when someone is healthy are they able to best play video games; the mind requires nutrients, physical effort, and plenty of rest to perform at its peak capacity!

Students that learn these skills will better be able to take care of themselves as they grow up. They’ll be healthier, happier individuals, more capable of managing their minds and bodies. Instead of feeling ill or uncomfortable, their education will allow them to take action and improve their symptoms. 

Responsible Decision-Making

Esports games require a wide range of split-second decisions that have lasting consequences. Players that wish to go pro have to practice at this constantly. Even the most professional of players lose games because of the decisions they make. Because of this trend, learning how to make the right decisions can make or break a player’s career. 

Participating in an esports team, especially one that focuses on holding regular practice, can help build this skill in players. Players that play games that require strategic teamwork, actions, or choices will help naturally build this ability. 

Once students have become adept at this skill, they may even be able to apply it to actions outside of gaming! In situations where split-second decisions are required, for example when driving, students familiar with quick video games will have a better reaction time. Also, they’ll be more practiced at making decisions with consequences and outcomes in mind. If students build these skills long before they reach adulthood, they’ll be far ahead of even college students!

Relationship Skills

Except for just a couple of video games, most competitive esports require incredible communication between a small team of players. This fact means that the best teams know not just how to be kind, but also how to efficiently convey information in high-stress situations. 

Healthy team dynamics can make the difference between an amateur and a professional team. A successful team ensures that all players function well as a unit. 

It’s easy to imagine how these skills will transfer into the professional world. Students that learn to work together in academic esports groups will have an easier time working in teams and on group projects in higher education and, eventually, in their careers. 

Social Awareness

Esports as a whole has a particularly long way to go when it comes to social awareness. Unfortunately, the field isn’t always accepting of all types of gamers. 

For this reason, it is of the utmost importance that we train future esports players to be more aware of the social state of the career they strive to be in. Once they understand the inequities, they’ll be able to combat them by lifting up those most affected by them, thus making the field a better place for everyone to participate in. 

Students who are properly educated in social awareness will be able to better understand the world they’re growing up in. As they age and mature, they’ll be able to identify inequities and unfair treatments so that they can mitigate their effects. With the right academic esports education, we can show our students how to make the world a better place. 

Learn more about how we add SEL to esports!

Ensure your academic esports students build social-emotional skills with Mastery Esports. To discover more about our curricula, see SEL: Esports Competencies. To learn more about our Mastery Esports courses, see Mastery Esports.

Ready to bring academic esports to your school?

Contact us to learn more about Pathway Esports and the Mastery Esports League. Our specialists look forward to chatting with you about the benefits we can bring to your school!

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Olivia has background in behavioral ecology and data analysis. She develops and implements SEO, CRO, social media strategy, and authors multi-disciplinary content for our blog, & our social media sites. She's contributed to many of the STEM tie-ins within our curriculum, authored our SEL course, and is a specialist in neurodiverse learning strategies.

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