Urzula Klimczak speaks about her role at NAVI – one of the participating teams that are in action at this week’s BLAST Premier World Final in Abu Dhabi and believes there’s no better time than now for females to enter the esports industry.

As the BLAST Premier World Final kicks off in Abu Dhabi, Urszula Klimczak, a Performance Coach for one of the participating teams, has described why she loves working in the esports industry and how she is supporting professional players to reach their full potential.

Hailing from Poland, Urszula is the Performance Coach for NAVI, one of the eight-best Counter-Strike 2 teams competing in the prestigious global season-ending tournament at Yas Island’s Etihad Arena, in partnership with ADGaming.

In her full-time role, she works with the players providing mental support and guidance to ensure the players perform at the best of their abilities both individually and as a team. A Performance Coach may not be the most recognisable job, but it’s a role that is key for a team to succeed at the highest level.

Urszula explains: “I’ve been involved in gaming and esports sector for around 10 years, starting with League of Legends and it was from that moment that I found it fascinating.

“From working as a business manager to coaching teams, I now work as a Performance Coach where my focus is on how to improve people, so they become the best versions of themselves. I see my role as a bridge between the player, his or her wellbeing and the esports organisation, while getting to really know to the person.

“I don’t deal with the strategies, macro-game and in-game decisions but instead I focus on helping players to deal with pressure, or to increase their productivity or motivation. For example, if I see athletes being sad, frustrated or stressed before the game, I am the one to unlock them to go back on stage fearless, confident and hungry to win and it doesn’t matter if it is football, tennis or Counter Strike.

“For me, it’s super important that people have the freedom of being themselves and there’s a good team vibe. Negative environment and lack of bond or trust inside the team disables its ability to develop and as a result to succeed in the long-term run.

“My responsibility is handling conflicts and building the atmosphere or creating bonds. It is also helping the athletes to find their own routines and equipping them with tools they will be able to use in moments of frustration or doubts. Focusing the players on things like proper sleeping schedule, visualisation, emotions control or breathing techniques are the game-changers especially in the long and exhausting tournaments. Moreover, it is important to remember that every player is different and the individual approach, in finding the balance on how they warm up, perform during matches and how they cool down, is a critical part of their ability to perform. “

Despite the fact that esports is a male-dominated industry Urszula notices that more and more females are now taking a greater interest in gaming.

She said: “Seeing more women passionately working in the gaming or esports environment at a professional level is very promising. You can compare it to traditional sport, where now the female competition is growing quickly around the whole world and in esports it will be no different with time. The female competitive scene is moving the right direction nowadays. We already see many female teams participating in tournaments and lifting trophies. The more visibility female esports will have through different tournaments and media platforms, the more girls will get inspired to follow their dreams and pursue a career in esports.”

She added: “There’s no best moment to join esports industry. The advancements of technology and the investments made has opened many opportunities for people to thrive in different roles. However, gaming or esports is still not something that is well understood by many parents. We are afraid of things we do not know very well. Therefore, parents look at this industry as a block of their kids’ career instead of an opportunity to grow. It is now every visible that it’s a lot more than just being a hobby for them – the industry where it is today tells you everything how big gaming and esports is.

Tickets to the BLAST Premier World Final can be bought on Ticketmaster and Etihad Arena with prices starting at just AED 160.  Discounts of up to 20 per cent for those who wish to book four or more tickets and hospitality tickets are also available.

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