John McCarthy is a contributing author of the research anthology: Esports Research and Its Integration in Education. He wrote chapter 1: Connecting Students to School Culture and Career Opportunities Through Broad Access to Esports and Gaming: So All Can Learn Through Play.
He has published numerous articles about esports, including one often used to build understanding among decision-makers, Engaging Students through Esports in K-12 Education, and he authored many support guides that are used across North America, such as for starting esports clubs and intramural programs and designing esports electives.
All services are provided in a variety of formats after a meeting session to understand what you have accomplished and where the important needs are. We find the approaches that best serves your needs. The work ranges from designing custom artifacts and guides, facilitating planning sessions, to supporting your areas for expansion and growth of a robust and comprehensive esports program. All formats can be (and typically are) personalized to the unique needs of the audience. An important purpose is for participants to feel empowered by the experiences to pursue a sustainable implementation.
Esports has many components that represent opportunities for many students to see themselves as part of the school community. Several studies, especially within the United States, have found that almost half of students who participate in a formal school esports program (for example, DePaul University found that 48% of their 1400 participants in esports intramurals) indicated that this was the FIRST formal school activity that they participate in. In esports camps I’ve run for middle and high school students have received similar responses. A major high school program in Grapevine-Colleyville ISD in Dallas Texas stated that their number at one point was over 70%. These numbers show the value for such programs to reengage and make feel welcomed a large portion of our school populations. Other studies have found benefits with academics, social and emotional learning, and behavior.
To reach large populations of students, esports programs need to include multiple components, including: clubs, teams, intramurals, marketing, content creation, live production, courses, job-shadowing, and internships. While not every school or district will have all of these components, successful programs will include many of these components over years because it’s just good for developing student agency and career opportunities.
We help schools, districts, and organizations do the following:
- Examine goals and craft a clear and concise vision for a quality and successful esports program 3-5 years into the future.
- Communicate clearly and concretely how esports can have a positive impact on supporting the organization’s mission, vision, values, and goals.
- Aids in gaining support by decision-makers and the different stakeholders.
- Co-develop high quality esports plans for implementing desired components, such as clubs, teams, intramurals, courses, marketing, content creation, live production, and college and career experiences and opportunities.
- Co-create artifacts that support the esports program implementation with sustainable growth.
- Empowers staff, students, leadership, and other stakeholders with the professional learning that builds their capacity to blaze their own sustainable pathways for success.
Workshops and Institutes
All workshops are interactive learning and planning sessions. Participants engage in learning through designing of structures and artifacts that help them implement the targeted topic in their school and/or district. Each session includes reflection and practice to ensure confidence for long term implementation.
Esports Program Implementation Planning Institute
2-3 day in-person or 4-6 virtual sessions (2-3 hours per vertual session)
- Build a shared vision for an esports program that is sustainable, welcoming, and available to each student.
- Create messaging for communicating to all stakeholders about the value of esports program to the school/district mission and values.
- Develop SMART Goals for creating a sustainable and successful esports program over 3-5 years.
This planning institute is a crucial step along any organization’s esports journey. Participants will establish a long-term plan where goals are set to achieve in 3-5 years. Such an implementation plan enables organization esports leaders to clearly communicate their needs and the impactful benefit for students and other stakeholder groups. Action steps are paced over the years of the plan, which makes implementation realistic and attainable.
Representing different parts of the organization, the planning group will review data, reflect, and develop an implementation plan that can be accomplished based on their resources and potential networks. We help craft the draft of the plan so that the planning team can review, reflect, and revise to best meet their esports vision.
Esports Planning Workshop for Launching a Club or Team
Two in-person days or four to six virtual sessions (2-3 hours per virtual session)
- Build a shared understanding of the potential and opportunities for a club or team structure for students.
- Review the essential action steps for building a program that supports each student, promotes Global Professional Skills (ie. communication, collaboration, and empathy–among other skills), and promotes a welcoming and supportive culture.
- Develop personalized artifacts that become the blueprint for implementation.
This workshop is intended to empower staff with an action plan for starting an esports club or team within three weeks of end of the final session. Participants will create artifacts based on templates that help them implement a solid and sustainable esports club or team. The focus is on the staff role as facilitator of their program.
Esports Coaches Institute
Two in-person days or four to six virtual sessions (2-3 hours per virtual session)
- Build a shared understanding of core structures, concepts, and routines for supporting esports athletes.
- Examine the concepts and practices for developing a growth mindset culture.
- Explore and create a practice system for player development.
- Explore and create structures and routines for competition days.
This institute focuses on the coaching skills needed to run a successful program that helps esports athletes and student staff to have a positive experience. A coach is reliant on student staff to assist with many of the important tasks while coaching esports athletes. Having a structure and set of routines can help esports athletes focus on development of individual and team skills, while enabling student staff to take on important roles and responsibilities needed by the team. Esports coaches share important skillsets as their traditional sports counterparts. However, many esports coaches may not have traditional coaching experience or struggle with understanding the connections. Through a series of action steps and exploratory experiences, participants will build the understanding they need to lead a competitive esports program that benefits their students and engages their community.
We offer a wide range of esports camps for students in middle grades (5-8) and high school (9-12). Session options include:
2 Days, 5-days, and 2 weeks. Camps vary from full day sessions to half-day sessions. A popular format is to run the esports camp in a club setting. This includes students participating in a variety of esports titles, building a welcoming community, and practicing global professional skills (GPS) such as communication, collaboration, and empathy. Campers explore esports as a potential healthy community, marketing and branding, and content creation. This popular camp structure brings in many students who show an interest for school programs.
We can offer other esports formats as a custom design that suits the needs of your school, district, or organization.
Download Desports Academy Evaluation (pdf)
Shows proven success and impact of our Esports Camp Implementation at DePaul University
These sessions are intended to provide specific and personalized support for individual staff, teams, and departments regarding esports planning and practices based on their unique needs. Sessions focus on up to 6 participants for 60 or 90 minute time slots. Coaching hours may be purchased in packs of hours).
Contact for more details and to find the right fit for your needs.
Because there are many facets of esports program, one size does not fit all. Because of our wide ranging experience in working with schools, districts, and organizations, we design customized artifacts that meet the specific needs of our clients. One example is a body of work done for this Michigan client (Go to “Resources for Esports” at the bottom left of the page).