Expand the section navigation mobile menu

E-Learning and Instructional Support.

Kresge Library, Room 430
100 Library Drive
Rochester , MI 48309-4479
(location map)
Office and Virtual Help: (248) 805-1625

4 tips from a gamer for remote class and work

Fri Aug 21, 2020 at 10:46 AM

If anyone knows what it’s like to sit for hours and hours staring at a computer screen, it’s gamers, according to Oakland University’s Esports head coach Carl Leone. As a gamer and now a coach of gamers, Leone has tips and tricks for being in front of a screen all day, whether it’s to compete in a video game or take online classes. 

In December 2019, Oakland University announced Esports would join the varsity athletics line up--the first Division 1 Esports team in Michigan. The team is headed by Leone, who has his own gaming history. 

“In 2014, I was recruited to be one of the first collegiate Esports athletes,” said Leone. He competed in the League of Legends at Robert Morris University. After he graduated, he coached the Aquinas College League of Legends team. When Oakland University began researching an Esports team, their search for a coach led them to Leone. He heads up a team that plays Rocket League, Smash Brothers Ultimate and League of Legends. 

Leone said he has been preparing for this role for decades, and that means plenty of time sitting in front of a screen playing games. Now, he’s offering four tips on how to tolerate spending hours at a time sitting in front of a screen for online classes or even work. It all starts with a lifestyle. 

“It’s just so important to live a lifestyle that is healthy and balanced,” said Leone. 

1. Positioning

“The position of everything around you really matters,” said Leone. He said the top of the computer monitor should be at eye level. If it’s anywhere else, whether higher or lower, it’s going to cause neck strain. “If you’re going to use two monitors, you want both monitors offset to your left and your right. You don’t want to have to turn your neck a lot to see the edge of either monitor.” 

Leone said in his last position, he spent more than 10 hours a day with two monitors and it just wasn’t working for him. He took one monitor and turned it upright so that it wasn’t as wide of a view area, which really helped improve his posture. 

He said a good chair is also important, especially one with good lumbar support. 

“You need to have something touching your back. When you sit back, deep into your chair, you need something that supports your back,” said Leone. “From that position, your arms should form a right angle at the elbow. 

2. Focus on diet and exercise habits

Leone said it’s important for those who are sitting for long periods of time to drink a lot of water and eat healthy food. When playing a video game or focusing on class work, Leone said that it’s easy to lose track of time and sit for far too long. 

“I recommend breaks every two to three hours. At the very minimum, stand up. If you are just sitting, it can be easy to play six to seven hours without getting out of your chair. When you are sitting that long, you aren’t moving around or stretching enough,” said Leone. He recommends his Esports players stand up and stretch to avoid lower back issues. 

“What I find the most helpful is to reach for the sky and go up on my toes. For me and many gamers, many issues start right at the lower back from sitting all day. There are also specific yoga-type poses that can help stretch out the back,” said Leone. 

3. Protect your eyes

Leone said blue light blockers help to reduce the harmful blue rays that come from computer screens and cell phones, which can cause eye fatigue, strain and even retina damage. Leone recommends apps like f.lux or Swanwick brand blue light blocking glasses for eye protection. 

“It makes it a lot easier on your eyes when you block the blue light. Otherwise, you might be restless,” said Leone. 

4. Stay focused

“I find it really helpful to have a daily list of things that I’m trying to get done. It’s really easy to get distracted and that’s what I found as the easiest way to counteract that. I write out all of the things that I need to get done. Checking it off is kind of satisfying,” said Leone. 

He said working from home or taking remote classes can be isolating, so mental health is also important. 

“Make sure you are talking to someone every once in a while,” said Leone. 

Leone will also share these tips with his newest Esports team. This summer, he saw 250 students reach out to him to apply for try-outs in the three titles that Oakland University’s team will compete in. 

“The players are ranging in talent and geographic regions. There are seven international students that applied and more are inquiring. They are all pretty talented in their regions,” said Leone. 

One of the titles played by the Golden Grizzlies Esports team is League of Legends. This world-renowned game draws an international viewership of more than the National Hockey League and Major League Baseball finals combined for its annual world championships. Leone said that’s tens of millions of people.

For those who are interested in getting to know Esports, Leone said the easiest Esport to watch is Rocket League, as it’s a soccer format and rules. 

“In pre-COVID days, we would practice three days a week, together, like a traditional sport,” said Leone, adding that the team plays at GameTime, the largest Esports facility in Michigan, located in Auburn Hills. “Without COVID restrictions, we could go there in person and sit in a row of computers right next to each other. This allowed us to get non-verbal reactions as a team. With COVID going on, we can continue to compete but it’s all online.”

Leone said Esports isn’t widely known or recognized, but it’s important to offer a sport like this to the campus community. 

“Students at OU, or any university, who are involved in a club or organization have a better GPA because they are more involved in school,” said Leone. “This is a team sport for nerds with tons of scholarships and professional opportunities. Not only that, they grow as leaders and teammates.”

For more information on OU’s team, visit the Oakland University Esports website.