Southampton’s expert staff have taken the innovative training methods used to develop Premier League footballers and applied them to their esports player, Owen Venn, as he prepares for the 2020 ePremier League finals.
Venn, who plays under the gamer tag SaintsVenny, will once again represent Saints in this year’s event, which begins next week, in what he hopes will the culmination of an emotional journey to recover from the heartbreak of 2019, when he made it all the way to the semi-finals before suffering a dramatic defeat.
In a bid to help him realise his dream of going all the way this year, Southampton invited Venny to their elite training campus so that he could benefit from the same expertise and coaching techniques that the club uses to both develop talent in its world-renowned Academy and maximise the potential of its first-team stars.
SaintsVennyI'm so grateful to the club's staff and players for sharing their expertise. i can't wait to proudly represent the club once again.
on his visit to staplewood ahead of the epremier league finals
Venny was introduced to Southampton’s Head of Psychology, Malcolm Frame, who carried out a psychometric assessment to evaluate how his cognitive ability and personality traits can positively impact his gaming ability.
First-Team Sports Psychologists Ana Soares and Amy Spencer gave Venny advice on mindfulness exercises and breathing techniques to help optimise his performance in a tournament situation.
To aid his approach to conditioning, Venny was then taken through a cryotherapy session delivered by Performance Science PHD student Luke Edinborough, with a focus on improving his sleep and managing the unsocial hours of a professional gamer.
The visit to Staplewood was topped off with a game of FIFA20 in which Venny teamed up with Danny Ings to take on fellow stars Stuart Armstrong and Nathan Redmond, with the trio providing him with some valuable insight into performing under pressure.
Southampton Football Club’s Brand and Content Director, Luke Nicholson, commented: “At Southampton we have strong tradition of developing talent and our team at the Academy work every day at finding ways to help improve performance.
“When Venny signed as our official esports player he told us that he wanted to improve as a player, so allowing him to work with experts at our club was an exciting prospect and one we hope helps Owen reach the goals he has set himself.”
Owen Venn said: “This was an incredible opportunity for me to learn from the staff at a club which has such a great reputation for developing talent and which has produced some of the world’s most famous footballers over the years.
“It has helped me a lot with my mindset and my understanding of what is required to maximise my potential, as well as how to give myself the best chance of performing under pressure.
“I am so grateful to the club’s staff and players for devoting their time to me and sharing their expertise. It’s up to me now to put what I have learned into practice, and I can’t wait to proudly represent the club once again in this year’s finals.”
After reaching the final four of the PlayStation category in last year’s ePremier League Grand Finals, Venny again came through the club’s play-off in February to return to the showpiece event this year. He will be joined by Reece ‘FUTWIZ Rusher’ Rusher who last year reached the quarter-finals with Saints in the Xbox category.
Venny will also be supported at the tournament by Southampton’s Official Energy Drinks Partner Monster Energy.
The ePremier League finals start on Thursday 13th August, with coverage of the Saints representatives’ progress on southamptonfc.com and the club’s social channels.