Tom Brady winning another Super Bowl ring at the age of 43 shows that even in a sport that relies so heavily on physicality, experience is absolutely key. It’s rare that athletes continue to break records once they hit a certain again, and will certainly inspire those that come after too – it may even make bookmakers take a different look when offering odds too as many of the newer sites particularly those like these that pop up without being registered to initiatives like Gamstop may be placing a lot of more faith on experienced athletes – but it does bring up the question for sports with a much younger average age, is the future in developing young talent, or focusing on the experienced players?
(Image from esports-news.co.uk)
Perhaps the most famous face of the biggest esports title in the world, League of Legends, in Lee “Faker” Sang-hyeok, a 24-year-old player from South Korea who has been competing since he was a teenage, recently stated that he feels the average age of players across the sport will only increase – with the current average age of the game currently suggested to be at just 21.2 years of age, it’s looking to be one of the youngest sports in the world. This number may remain younger too as older talent in some of the bigger regions are starting to retire to make room for the youngsters, but there are some distinctions to be found between the two.
The big argument against bringing younger plays in too soon has been seen time and time again, being exposed to the wider scene too early can certainly have a negative impact on performance, and the extended practice sessions certainly don’t help either and have been a huge cause for burnout in younger players. Whilst there is heavy encouragement on younger players getting started earlier, it may also become a cause for concern for shortening a career.
For older players, the argument has always been that they may not be able to keep up with reaction time or performance compared to the younger guys in the scene – if anything this recent performance by Tom Brady shows that it may not necessarily all be about physical ability, but the experience and game knowledge they bring, particularly as the game evolves and those who have been around longer have seen it through every stage.
It’s a complex question and one that doesn’t only exist in esports, but important for all sporting scenes with a younger professional player base, but certainly something that needs to be explored moving forward as an opportunity present itself in a sporting area that is still very young and still developing – if anything, this past Super Bowl has shown that there are opportunities for older players, and that they certainly shouldn’t be discounted early.