Team Endpoint have established themselves as a top esports organisation within the UK over the past two years, with their CSGO team winning Insomnia63 the other week.
But what have they been doing at their recent boot camp, and how has access to a dietitian and performance coach benefitted them? We ask CEO/founder Adam Jessop and CSGO player Joe ‘Luzuh’ Loose in this in-depth interview.
Esports News UK: Congrats on the i63 win! How does it feel to have won? Please reflect on the tournament.
Adam Jessop, Team Endpoint CEO: The tournament was a great win for us. The guys behind UK Masters have been working hard to improve the level of competition at the event as well as the prize pot, and i63 was the first iteration of that. It’s the first Insomnia event for a while where we have seen European teams come and compete and we knew it would be a completely different challenge.
The previous week we had won the ESL Premiership, establishing our position at the top of the domestic scene, but we had to go one further to defend that and beat European/CIS challengers.
The tournament was ran extremely well and we are over the moon to have taken the win against some tough teams and a solid well-rounded mix in Business 5, including two times major winner, Kioshima.
Joe "Luzuh" Loose, Endpoint CSGO player: Winning Insomnia 63 is a great feeling as it's something most UK aspiring players aim to do. My first event was i57 and at that time purely getting out of groups was an achievement for myself. Winning the tournament only five events later is something I could never have imagined!
You’re a fairly new organisation having recently turned two, how has the team developed in that time to achieve your recent success?
Adam: We have had a pretty turbulent two years, the organisation has evolved in a number of ways and had to adapt to various circumstances. One of the biggest positives for me has been working with the right people and the right partners.
Around a year ago I made the decision to bring in a COO in Pete Thompson and I don’t think I could have gotten anybody else who shares my passion and vision as well. We were obviously part of Gfinity Elite Series which helped us grow initially, but we took the incentives to scout strong players and implement a number of things to help us throughout that competition.
Once we were told we were no longer going to be a part of that, we decided to focus on what we knew best: Counter-Strike. I have always been a firm believer in focusing on doing fewer things right and to the best of your ability rather than trying to spread yourself too thin and getting mediocre results.
"I think in the future, as the support and infrastructure comes into the scene, maybe we will move away from the gaming house model and have more of a ‘typical work’ approach with offices and off site accomodation, but this is a big leap in costs for organisations in the UK."
Tell us about your gaming house(s) and boot camps you’ve done over the years, including the recent one. How has this benefitted Endpoint?
Adam: I think the gaming houses and bootcamps over the years have been hugely beneficial when utilised correctly. Back in Gfinity Elite Series season 1, we made the decision to have the first European Rocket League team house and despite going into the competition as underdogs, we took the title. That for me was the biggest indication that we had done the right thing.
However, as beneficial as gaming houses and bootcamps can be, a lot of it is down to the players' applications whilst in the house. We have had situations in the past where teams haven’t utilised them correctly, but on the whole I think they have been extremely useful.
The CS team bootcamped in the house for a month in August and during that month we went from being ranked 106th to 54th on HLTV, so again the results show.
The other benefit is that the space and access to players allows us to work on a number of activations with our partners. The bootcamp house was a big part of our recent activation with Soylent, the Silicon Valley based meal replacement which has supported us by providing nutritional, premixed, drinkable meals for the team to consume whilst in the house.
This was supported by our partnership with ASUS where we will be looking to do a range of media and branded content with.
Joe: The bootcamp for this event lasted around three weeks and allowed us to improve on key fundamentals that a new team lacks. It was a great opportunity to make sure everyone was on the same page on all maps and that everyone was happy with their roles.
A bootcamp is great as it allows for nothing to go unnoticed and for your sole attention to be on the game and your team.
This experience was nothing like I have ever done and I think it really showed in my performance. From spending that much time with one team in a focused environment, to the help and support we had on hand from Adam and the team and our healthy meal replacement partner Soylent, the experience was invaluable.
On that note, please tell us about your team’s schedule and diet, as you’ve been using Soylent meal replacements. Some remain dubious of products like this, please tell us about your experience with it.
Adam: Well one of the things we have noticed with gaming houses and bootcamps is that the players often struggle to find time to eat well while gaming, and this often results in unhealthy diets and calorie-rich consumptions.
Not many players know how to cook or are willing to put in the time to do so and this leads to the consumption of a scary amount of takeaways and junk food.
As a result of this experience, we partnered with Soylent to run a trial which would allow our players to quell their hunger with a quick yet healthy option in the form of their premix meal replacement drinks, instead of consuming say a chocolate bar or ordering a pizza when they’re peckish.
Over the course of the trial we have looked to address the team's schedules and ensure that the bootcamp was carried out with a reasonable routine. We worked with two nutritional and productivity experts from Soylent in order to perfect this and ensure the team could perform at the very best rate possible, due to having the right nutrients and the right amount of sleep, at the right time.
The players found this fascinating as they each have a different routine at home so this kind of tailored schedule really helped bring everyone together and create ‘one team.’
How did this help during Insomnia?
Adam: During the build up to Insomnia, we used Soylent to replace the usual consumption of energy drinks, takeaways and sweets and the meal replacement product gave the team the energy they needed in a time efficient way.
Whilst Soylent formed the core of their diet, we also encouraged them to eat a home-cooked healthy dinner together at night, as this gave them a reason to step away from gaming and discuss the key learnings of the day and regroup before the next.
Soylent was a godsend for the players as it saved time and was healthy. All the players reported feeling more focused, more alert and being more productive.
What are your thoughts on this kind of preparation Joe, from a player's perspective?
Joe: Having the assistance of a dietician and productivity expert through Soylent gave us a real taste of how professional athletes train for competitions. Before having this kind of assistance, we had no idea how important diet can be in terms of productivity and performance in a competitive environment.
The dietician helped me specifically as, previously when I have been in a boot camp environment, my sleeping and eating habits deteriorate, which likely affected my performance. One small conversation with the dietician and the access to Soylent completely fixed that and allowed me to maintain peak performance.
Performance-wise, the expert who helped us look at how much we were gaming vs sleeping really helped me shape my time in the house so that I had a healthier balance of each. This resulted in a better more focused performance from me, with higher levels of productivity.
"I have always been a firm believer in focusing on doing fewer things right and to the best of your ability rather than trying to spread yourself too thin and getting mediocre results."
Adam Jessop, Team Endpoint
Adam: To add to that, access to a dietician and performance coach came hand in hand with doing the trial for Soylent and we jumped at the opportunity to have this high level advice. The feedback from the experts and the tweaks to our schedule were invaluable. I think Lucy Jones, the dietician was rightly concerned with the amount of ‘junk’ food and energy drinks the players were consuming prior to the trial and she was very clear on the need to correct that.
When it came to productivity, Grace Marshall, the coach, noticed that the routines of the players were a little off beat. She helped plan our days allowing time away from gaming, time to relax and listen to music, engage with one and other and get plenty of sleep.
Her planner helped the team reset each and avoid them burning out during what was an intense bootcamp. We also had ‘away’ days such as paintballing with the guys to help the team bond away from the computers and further build moral.
Do you see this becoming the norm in UK esports in time? What are your thoughts on the state of UK esports and what the future holds?
Adam: Well firstly, I think it should become the norm, the more we can do as organisations to improve the performance and wellbeing of our players the better. Having a dedicated dietitian and performance coach is a huge asset for any team, and one that we would love to continue with outside of our trial.
There has been a lot said recently about gaming houses vs offices etc, and my only thoughts are that I agree that there are potentially better models available, but right here in the UK we simply don’t have the same infrastructure or support as teams overseas, who are able to implement a different approach.
Having a bootcamp house allows us to accommodate our players and give them the best facilities to train in, within a single property. We also have a much bigger house than before with better break-out areas such as a snooker/pool room and a dedicated lounge area with Netflix/Xbox etc.
I think in the future, as the support and infrastructure comes into the scene, maybe we will move away from the gaming house model and have more of a ‘typical work’ approach with offices and off site accomodation, but this is a big leap in costs for organisations in the UK.
It would also still be essential that players are able to follow advice and recommendations from support staff such as dieticians and performance coaches. Having brands such as Soylent available could well help with that.
Joe: The CS scene is currently in a weird state where we are in between that classic UKCS roster shuffle, a few months ago there were a few long standing teams which have recently fizzled out, leaving us as probably one of the only standing teams.
It also seems that a huge majority of the top UK teams have begun reaching out to EU for the 4ths and 5ths of teams which is both advantageous and a detriment. There is no hiding that having an EU player in a UK team almost always benefits in some shape or form.
However, it slows down the rate in which the younger talents get chances. Overall, I feel we are currently competing with European teams more so than ever, shown in multiple places but mainly in MDL relegations where there are currently four 'UK' teams.
Is there anything else you’d like to add?
Adam: Obviously there are a lot of people to thank for our success and growth over the past two years, but the most important are our fans, our players and our amazing partners in ASUS ROG, Overclockers, noblechairs, NAU and Raven. Of course a special mention to Soylent for their support over the past month for the CS team bootcamp and who knows if we would have done as well without them.
Thanks to Soylent for helping to arrange this interview. The three ready-to-drink Soylent variants will be available from mid September via Amazon.co.uk at £39.99 for a case of 12 bottles (£3.33 per bottle), with Soylent mixable powder formats coming in the New Year.