Ben Wolfer, better known by his in-game name ‘iBjen,’ is a 21-year-old League of Legends player with nearly a decade of experience. Three years ago, he decided to test his skills competitively and joined the University of Miami collegiate team as their marksman. He agreed to talk with Outsider Gaming about what it means to be a pro player during the offseason.
What was a normal day in the regular season like for you?
I would wake up, go to classes, do some schoolwork, get on League around four to five pm, play ranked for three to four hours, and then go to scrims.
What are you doing now that you are in the offseason?
Right now, I am still playing League every day, definitely taking more time away from the game, but since my life essentially revolved around League, it’s hard to stop that. So work and League is my summer until school and the season starts back up again, with the addition of any other games or shows that I want to add to my time.
What does a typical day look like for a pro player in the off-season?
I think this depends on the player. I have heard a lot of different ways to spend time. Some players separate from the game entirely and take months or several weeks off of the game. For me, I still play the game a lot, since I am in college and play for my college team in the offseason while I am still taking classes.
Do you still play your competitive game during the offseason, and if so, how much?
Yes, I am still very much involved in the League scene. The game changes a lot, every two weeks, so it’s a game where you have to constantly keep up and test things, as well as practice your mechanics. Our team also plays in other non-riot tournaments during the off-season. We just recently competed in the Maryville LAN, which took a lot of prep work and practicing to be in shape for.
What is your main focus during the offseason?
For me, I am always looking to improve for next season. When away from the team activities, I can focus on myself and how I play/think. But school is also a priority, making sure I am on top of my classes and studies.
If you play during the offseason, what are your main goals?
Well, like I was saying, I think the main difference when we aren’t actively practicing as a team is that there aren’t scrims, so it’s just me playing. I can focus on my play and just keeping up with the patches to the game. Also, with whatever offseason tournaments we may play in, my focus shifts to performing for those.
How do you take your mind off your collegiate career during the offseason? How do you reset mentally?
Well, naturally, taking time off resets you mentally. I don’t personally think that I need to take my mind off of the game too much. I typically just focus on work, or get engrossed in another game for a week, or watch some anime.
What are your hobbies outside of gaming?
I really like music, anime, and tabletop games. If I am not on the computer, I am probably watching shows or playing card games.
Do you have other activities outside of gaming?
No. As I am in college, my life is just gaming and school as of right now and preparing for the future.
If you are coming back to competition next season, what are your main goals?
Our team is making a few roster changes, and it will be my last year, so I really just want to set the team up for success and bring up younger players into their roles.
In your opinion, what is the main focus for a player during the off-season?
I think this should depend on the player and what their future looks like, but if they are young and wanting to play at a high level for the foreseeable future, I think they should focus on the game.
How important is the offseason training or reset for a player?
I think it’s not as important as some people might think. It’s really about when the time comes to get back on the grind, the player better be ready to crack down and practice.
How impactful is the offseason on a player’s performance, and why?
It can be very impactful. If a player doesn’t continue practice you can lose a lot of your built-up skills and intuition about the game, so if you aren’t ready to commit a lot of hours when you come back, you can have a slow start for your first few weeks in the season, and this can hurt you in the long run because you could always be considered behind.