Anyone for an esports bootcamp in Finland?

The Nordic Esports Academy is a new Finnish summer school and tournament set up by the Kajaani University of Applied Sciences in collaboration with Vuokatti Ruka Sports Academy. This is where the national Olympic teams and a number of international winter sports teams train, and registration has opened today for those interested in upping their CS:GO game.

The firm is running a series of lectures, workshops and coaching sessions on a full time basis in Kajaani for 80 to 100 students from the 12th June to the 6th July. There will also be a three day CS:GO tournament in the nearby town of Vuokatti following this to bring it to a close.  You can apply either individually or in groups of up to five. the coaching element will be focused on CS:GO but the general training is aimed at helping esports players and teams across the board. 

“The bootcamp itself will be broken down into 5 modules: business coaching, physical coaching, mental coaching, gameplay coaching and testing”

The total prize pool for the tournament is €10,000 (£8,539) and it’ll involve eight of the best of the bootcamp teams together with eight selected guest teams. The Nordic Esports Academy is also hoping to bring some international teams in addition to the top Finnish teams to ‘create something special’. 

The bootcamp itself will be broken down into 5 modules: business coaching, physical coaching, mental coaching, gameplay coaching and testing. 

The testing feature is a new system of software and physiological measuring devices developed by KAMK that measures a range of performance indicators for each gamer while playing in a team.  The end result will be a radar chart, much the same as other athletes in traditional sports have to monitor ongoing performance changes.  

This testing system will soon be developed and exported with the idea that it will become an industry standard so this is an opportunity for bootcamp teams to be involved right at the start.  

Nordic Academy’s COO Noel McAvennie told Esports Insider: ”We expect to see significant national interest in what we’re doing as we launch the first bootcamp and tournament this summer.  In December last year Finland declared esports to be an officially recognised sporting discipline so nationally we expect to see a lot of attention in esports during 2017.  This being Finland’s 100 year anniversary of independence it seems like a good time to be making a fuss about something that’s been lurking in the shadows of “real” sports for some time.”

“Mia Stellberg, a sports psychologist who has worked with the likes of Astralis, will be involved in some coaching capacity”

He continued: “The various lectures, workshops and hands-on coaching classes will be undertaken by a mix of local and national experts and international “gurus”, who we will be flying in for a few days at a time. Details of the guest coaches will be appearing on our website and Facebook pages within approximately a week, and we’ll keep updating the content there over the next few weeks. 

“This is only the beginning of a new surge in local support for esports, with major plans afoot to develop esports as an official sporting discipline that will be coached at the Vuokatti Ruka Sports Academy.”

As to who will be involved, McAvennie was coy but confirmed that Mia Stellberg, a sports psychologist who has worked with the likes of Astralis, will be involved in a coaching capacity. 

Discussing the bootcamp costs, and who it’s primarily aimed at, Noel stated: “Those that are aged 16 and upwards are the aim, although realistically we expect those aged 16 to 30.  We’re aiming at the younger end of the spectrum because these are the players who are just starting out and could benefit most from esports-specific education and coaching.“

The bootcamp only costs €150 (£128) per entrant (plus accommodation) and they will have the chance of also paying €100 to enter the tournament pre-qualifier during the bootcamp.  Everyone who pays gets free transport back and forward to the venue and free food for the whole of the tournament. “

“This is only the beginning of a new surge in local support for esports, with major plans afoot to develop esports as an official sporting discipline that will be coached at the Vuokatti Ruka Sports Academy.”

This is the very first Nordic Esports Academy bootcamp but the company has big plans when it comes to expanding it in the future.

McAvennie noted: “We don’t have any mechanisms in place for scholarships this year but hopefully we can arrange this in the future.  We’re discussing cooperation with several teams with the view that we may be able to have some top players join us for a few days at a time as coaches.  We don’t have plans to work with any major tournament organisers at this point but if we can grow significantly in the coming years that would be a definite logical step.”

As to the future and branching out into other titles beyond CS:GO, McAvennie stated that undoubtedly it’s something they’ll look to after this first bootcamp is done and dusted, though it will ‘depend on demand’. He said: “The first bootcamp is open to all players because the lectures and workshops will be relevant to everyone.  The hands-on coaching will be mostly focused on CS:GO this year, as will the end tournament, purely because we have limited resources.”

This bootcamp seems a great and well backed initiative, and it’ll be interesting to see which coaches and teams get involved. One hope is that an organisation in the UK steps up and offers an equivalent to this to help develop the scene here. As for the next Nordic Esports Academy bootcamp, we’ve no clues as to which titles will be included but Team ESI are officially throwing our hats into the ring as Rocket League coaches.

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