If your teen has an affinity for video games, a school in Edmonton wants to help them hone their craft.
This autumn, Vimy Ridge Academy plans to open a new program to prepare students for future potential jobs in the video game industry.
Vimy Sports will be offered this September for students in grades 7 through 9.
Esports are video games played in an organized competitive environment.
Those who enroll in the program will not sit on their couch playing games all day, the school stressed. The curriculum will be structured to provide student-athletes with professional skills that are in high demand in the video game industry, as well as across the technology sector.
“These teams have nutritionists, psychologists. There are many careers in esports,” said Travis Bouchard, director of the program.
“Maybe the esports dream won’t come true, so we’re hoping to show them some career skills in the IT world.”
Bouchard said the multi-billion dollar industry also offers millions in scholarships for schools and there is potential for pro players to win millions.
“One of my favorites [Esports] games paid out $45 million in tournament winnings last year,” he said. “It’s a very robust professional league.”
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Alberta Esports Association’s Andrew Tran said the program will also instill the same values as any other competitive sport.
“The core value of collaboration is how to deal with win or lose,” he said.
“You get the same competitive atmosphere. I think it’s a great opportunity for young kids to make friends and find people with similar interests.”
Tran said the program is an option he wished he had as a kid.
“Being able to go to school and meet other kids with the same interests? Honestly, I’m jealous,” he laughed.
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The program consists of practice time, game breaks and coaching to ensure player development. Students are also required to attend fitness sessions that focus on general fitness and injury prevention.
Mental health will also be a key focus, with students exploring how teamwork and communication skills go hand-in-hand with discussions of toxicity and burnout in the eSports world.
“There are skills that need to be developed, just like running backwards in hockey, and targeted training can take you to a higher level,” Bouchard said.
Programming, computer engineering, level design, audiovisual design and broadcasting are also part of the eSports curriculum.
To enroll your child in the program, click here.
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