What it takes to be a professional gamer in South Africa
Hours of practice every day, focusing on individual skill, and teamwork – this is how Bravado Gaming ensures its Counter-Strike: Global Offensive side remains one of the top teams in the country. Bravado is one of the best multi-gaming organisations in South Africa, and its CS:GO and DOTA 2 teams have remained largely undefeated in major tournaments. Ruan “Elusive” van Wyk, the in-game leader for Bravado’s CS:GO squad, told MyBroadband that their structured training schedule ensures they remain at the top.
As in-game leader, van Wyk is instrumental in coordinating strategy and team communication. Van Wyk said the Counter-Strike players practice at least six hours per day to stay in top form. “Our daily training consists of individual and team-related practice.
Individually, we’ll practice roughly two hours a day,” he said. “As a team, we play four to six hours a day, depending on matches and leagues. So we play an average of six to eight hours a day, five days a week.” They don’t play on Fridays or Saturdays, said van Wyk.
Unlike dedicated gaming houses set up by large international teams, Bravado’s players mostly play online from their own houses. “Most of our practice takes place at home, playing online. We occasionally have boot camps before a tournament, where we all meet up and practice together in a house or hotel.”
Van Wyk stressed the importance of a balance between individual and team practice, saying that players should complement their teamwork with an ability to made good individual decisions and excel with individual skill.
Skills and training
Important skills in CS:GO include aiming, movement, tactics, map knowledge, and knowledge of how equipment can be used on each map. “Individually, we’ll practice our aim, movement, equipment knowledge, and watch demos or videos to improve ourselves in certain areas,” said van Wyk. “Our team-related practice consists of preparation and adaptation.
We prepare strategies that we can use in the game, but a large part of the game consists of players having to make good individual decisions in difficult scenarios.” “We review old footage of ourselves, as well as other players, to aid each other in ensuring that we make the best possible decision in those situations. This is what we call adaption and reactive play.”
Van Wyk said the team does not have a gym routine or eating plan, adding that it would be easier to implement this if the team lived together in a gaming house. “Some of the players do exercise and eat healthy, but it’s not a priority for everyone,” he said.
Work and Play
Van Wyk said the most difficult part of being a professional gamer is the sacrifices players make. “We’re all doing this full-time, apart from our youngest member, who’s currently in matric,” he said.
“We’re not at the stage where we can earn salaries as a team, so we rely on our prize winnings for the moment.” While Bravado’s CS:GO team practices for up to eight hours a day, they also find time to play other games casually as a way of relaxing. “We all have our own games that we play to break away from the competitiveness, including playing Counter-Strike casually,” said van Wyk.
“I occasionally play World of Warcraft, PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds, Battlefield, or Assassins Creed.”
Many high-level CS:GO players in South Africa are either studying or working part-time, making it difficult to balance gaming with their other commitments.
Van Wyk studied industrial engineering before gaming full-time, and said it is difficult to complete the practical side of his studies while sticking to his gaming schedule.