How to become a FIFA pro
1. How long should you practise for?
To become a professional FIFA player, it is important to manage your practice time efficiently. According to Demetri, that doesn't mean playing FIFA for 12 hours a day. "To become a pro FIFA player I would say to put in a couple hours of practice every day. If you play too much in one day, your performance levels will drop and you'll become frustrated"
While you don't want to burn yourself out, Shawzi reckons you do need to play every night. "Playing every night for at least a few hours is probably the minimum you can get away with if you don't want to fall behind others," he explains.
While you might be a bit late for FIFA 15, you should ensure that you get the practice sessions in as soon as FIFA 16 comes out. Shawzi said: "The most important time to practise is at the start of the game in order to get the maximum amount of game knowledge from the very start."
Shawzi added that the amount of practice needed can vary depending on when you're playing. "Towards the end of a FIFA season, I would say you only need to practise for about 4-6 hours a week. This completely changes if you are coming up to a big tournament."
2. Play against the best
There is no point in playing on your own or whipping your mates 5-0 every game. Not if you have designs on becoming the next best FIFA player. To improve your game, you need to test yourself and that means playing against the best.
"Practising against better players is important, as you will find out what you need to improve on," says Demetri. "Playing against players worse than you doesn't help; the better your opponent, the more your game progresses. Playing against other pros also means that they could give you tips on how to improve, too."
According to Demetri, the average day of practice sessions should consist of "playing against other pro players for a few hours in best of three matches. This helps you stay fresh and makes sure you are still practising at a high level for future tournaments."
Shawzi added: "A FIFA pro will usually have dedicated practice partners. For example, I would practise with my fellow TCM players, along with a few other pro players from the European scene. You will find little groups within the scene will form and these players will only practise against each other."
3. Have a little patience
FIFA is an individual game so you don't have to worry about team chemistry or finding a good group. That said, you can't just become a pro straight away.
According to Demetri, it takes patience and dedication. "It takes time to become a top FIFA player - it doesn't happen overnight. So being patient and putting the hours in to become a pro player will help you maintain a high level against other pro players."
Shawzi agrees that it takes time to become a top player as the only way you'll play against the best at the start is to enter tournaments. "Most of the top players do not stream and do not post on YouTube. The only way to play against the best is by entering tournaments and taking a few beatings to learn from your losses. There are plenty of players who are now at the top of the scene who spent at least one FIFA cycle learning the game".
4. Where to compete
To grow as a FIFA player, it is important to take part in competitions with other players. So where can you compete? "The number one place to compete is on Gfinity.net," says Shawzi. "I'm on it. They have tournaments for both Normal games and Ultimate Team. There is a tournament nearly every night and you can earn cash if you win!
As well as earning cash prizes, Demetri added that Gfinity is the place to play against the best. "Most of the pro FIFA players from across the world play in these tournaments, so this can show just how good you are and if you're able to mix it with the best in the business."
As Shawzi points out, ESL's competitions are becoming more popular, but "these tournaments don't have quite as many good players in."
5. Handle the pressure
So we're assuming you have the skills already. If you don't, you've come to the wrong place. Here are 5 FIFA 15 tips from a pro. Anyway, as well as skill, you need to be able to handle pressure to be a top FIFA player.
"To play FIFA as a pro I think you have to be really headstrong" says Shawzi. "The game can throw any random thing at you, and you have to be able to deal with that without going on tilt and conceding more goals. Being able to perform under pressure is important. In the first event I went to, I could not deal with the pressure of playing in the competitive environment and it ultimately led to me being knocked out of the tournament."
However, if you are to improve anything about your game, it's playing at pace. That doesn't necessarily mean flying down the right wing with Theo Walcott, but maintaining your speed of thought. According to Shawzi, "the most important thing is to have the ability to make quick decisions - one wrong button push in FIFA and you can concede a goal, miss a chance, give away a corner, or score an own goal! Literally anything can happen."
Buy the best equipment
Although you may have great skills and strategies, having the right gaming equipment can give you the edge. Shawzi believes a good monitor is vital:
"For FIFA, something that can make a big difference is a good monitor with good response time and no delay. The difference I found when switching from a normal TV to my BenQ monitor was incredible and I felt like the game was responding quicker to my controls. Also, make sure that your controller is not broken. There is nothing more frustrating playing FIFA and your sprint button not working properly!"
We have learned that to become a FIFA professional it is important to develop as a player over time, learning from others in competitions, and then fine tuning your skills and strategies in order to compete with the very best.
So if our pro gamers had one final tip to share, what would it be? Over to Shawzi: "Never stop trying to improve and innovate because you could be about to find the next strategy."
Now for Demetri's final word: "Just put the time in and attend offline events. You have to get to know the people within the community to help you progress as once you've proved you're good enough, professional eSports organisations will be interested in supporting you."