JARRYD Hayne has joined an academy training for a sport worth almost $500 million with a global audience of 148 million.

You might not have heard of eSports but with an estimated 1.5 million followers in Australia, about one third the followers of cricket, it is big business with players competing for millions of dollars in prize money.

Gaming giant Activision recently partnered with the NSW Institute of Sport (NSWIS) to develop the Call of Duty: Infinite Warfare Academy.

It's  a dedicated program to help enhance the skills of local eSports professionals.

One of Australia's leading eSports teams, Mindfreak attended the Academy along with NRL player, Jarryd Hayne.

Hayne was there to see what he could learn from Australia's leading eSports Call of Duty gamers, ahead of the launch of Call of Duty: Infinite Warfare on November 4.

Jarryd Hayne joins eSports athletes in trying out the ‘Call of Duty: Infinite Warfare Academy’ training program.
Jarryd Hayne joins eSports athletes in trying out the ‘Call of Duty: Infinite Warfare Academy’ training program.

He and Mindfreak were pushed to the limit through a series of physical and mental challenges at the national high performance centre and Olympic training facility.

The trials included:
• The performance stressor test used a light board to measure the participants' reaction times and hand-eye co-ordination, an exercise that was repeated after a physical drill, to demonstrate the effects of fatigue.
• To combat the negative impact of stress, participants were placed in an extreme stress environment underwater, allowing NSWIS's performance psychologist to teach them stress management strategies to quieten the mind and optimise performance.
• In the Mindroom they were taught them how to improve attentional skills by tracking multiple moving objects in a 3D field. 

Jarryd Hayne joins eSports athletes in trying out the ‘Call of Duty: Infinite Warfare Academy’ training program.
Jarryd Hayne joins eSports athletes in trying out the ‘Call of Duty: Infinite Warfare Academy’ training program.

Hayne said of his experience: "It was unreal to witness the amount of preparation that is needed to go into space at the Spaceflight Academy and to see how my own sports training applies within the esports environment at NSWIS.

"The highlight was definitely hanging out with Australia's best Call of Duty players and picking their brains on the game to improve mine."

Call of Duty: Infinite Warfare introduces an all-new story set beyond Earth's atmosphere.

To further help Hayne with his training, he also visited the Spaceflight Academy, Australia's first astronaut test centre, where he took part in a one-of-a-kind space training simulation.

Jarryd Hayne joins eSports athletes in trying out the ‘Call of Duty: Infinite Warfare Academy’ training program.
Jarryd Hayne joins eSports athletes in trying out the ‘Call of Duty: Infinite Warfare Academy’ training program.

He strapped himself in to the Multi-Axis Trainer (MAT) which simulated the disorientation that you would feel during a tumble spin on reentry into the Earth's atmosphere, as well as scaling a Zero-G Gravity Wall, which emulates the feeling of weightlessness in space.

Activision says that when Black Ops launched it was hailed the biggest entertainment franchise in history, breaking global sales records, even beating Avatar and Star Wars in their opening weekends.

This year's trailer for Infinite Warfare also features Hollywood talent such as actor, Kit Harington, UFC fighter, Connor McGregor and race car driver, Lewis Hamilton.

Activision's Call of Duty franchise is a major player in the esports world.

The Call of Duty World League Championship takes place annually.

Mindfreak's team captain, Mitchell Mader said, "When we compete in the Call of Duty World League Championship, we come head-to-head with fierce international teams who we play for up to twelve hours at a time.

"The skills we learnt at the Call of Duty: Infinite Warfare Academy will be extremely beneficial in these moments of high pressure."

Call of Duty: Infinite Warfare will be available for PlayStation 4 computer entertainment system, Xbox One and PC on Steam starting today, November 4.



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