Mental fitness for gaming

Ben Wisbey
3 min readJan 30, 2022

Playing League of Legends when fatigued results in winning 12% fewer games. Mental fatigue is not a good thing when it comes to gaming performance.

We coined the term ‘mental fitness’ to describe the number of games you can play in a session before you start to see a substantial increase in fatigue. For some players, this is only a couple of games, while for others, it is many hours worth.

How many games should you play?

Mental fitness provides an indication of the number of games you can play before fatigue is likely to have a negative impact. When considering your mental fitness, not every day is the same. Some days you will comfortably get through more games than other days. Your mental fitness averages all this out for an ‘average’ day.

We looked at how League of Legend players performed from one game to the next by analysing their game grade, win rate, mental fatigue and how they recovered between games. We found that the best indication of their mental fitness was their ability to recover between games.

Early in a gaming session, players will generally recover a little during the short break between games, but as the duration of the session extends, this doesn’t occur and there is limited, or no, recovery in the breaks. This is the point where performance often deteriorates and we would mark it as their mental fitness limit. For example, in the graph below, we see that recovery decreases substantially after game 7, so we could say this player’s mental fitness is 7 games. This is quite an extreme example but I chose this player as they play a large number of long sessions so it makes for a more interesting graph. The reality is that the mental fitness for most players is probably closer to 3 or 4 games.

A League of Legend player’s average recovery between each successive game in a gaming session. We define their mental fitness as the game before their recovery decreases substantially.

Improving your mental fitness

If you are focused on ranking up at home, you can easily stop playing when you become fatigued, but this isn’t the case in a competitive tournament. In these scenarios, a player isn’t in control of their game schedule. Having adequate mental fitness to get through the appropriate number of games for these players is key to their success.

Athlete’s need fitness to ensure they can sustain high performance over a suitable duration. For a marathon runner, that is enough endurance to sustain a certain pace for 42km. While for an NFL player that would be the ability to undertake repeated maximal intensity efforts with a short break. This same concept applies to gaming, and serious gamers need to prepare accordingly.

The challenge is how do you improve your mental fitness? Let’s think back to the marathon runner. If they stopped training every time they get tired, then they would not improve their fitness. They need to push through so they adapt and improve their fitness.

The same applies to gaming. If you want to perform at your best, don’t play for too long. But if you want to boost your mental fitness, sometimes you need to play when you are fatigued. This involves long sessions to push yourself to continue to perform when fatigued. In these situations, it is recommended you play unranked for obvious reasons.