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Game Gym coaches and a Game Gym member cast at a competition.

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Game On!

The Game Gym Offers Training for Esports Enthusiasts in a Holistic Approach That’s Good for Mind and Body

Look out for each other. Treat everyone with love and respect. Play honorably. Win humbly. Lose gracefully.

A sign bearing these words greets visitors at The Game Gym in the Randolph Hill Shopping Center in North Bethesda. Immediately, you think this is a gym where athletes train in various traditional sports, and you think there must be great coaches here. The first assumption is wrong.

Instead, founder and CEO Josh Hafkin – along with his staff – provides a community resource for esports – or gaming – enthusiasts.   

“It’s a valid extracurricular activity but there is an issue in the gaming world,” Josh said, “with racism, sexism and bullying. I think it derives from the fact that kids do it (gaming) by themselves with very little guidance.”

The Game Gym changes all that.

Josh, who grew up competing in traditional sports knows the importance of having coaches at the developmental level teaching how to be a teammate and work hard.

“Our job is to introduce kids to esports but it’s mainly about communication, leadership, how to be good a winner, a good loser, and be good at a game then go to a new game and start all over at level one,” he said.   

Parents appreciate what Josh is doing. “They have an ally in the fight now,” he said. “They see value in the lessons we teach. They can ask questions. It’s like knowing there is a lifeguard.”

Approaching its third anniversary, the Game Gym offers private and group training for esports enthusiasts of any skill level, aged 10-18 (and there are programs for those younger or older). Josh is adamant about keeping things casual and also competitive and he describes his approach as healthy and holistic.  Kids spend time in classrooms learning skills of the game and then they come to the common area where they’ll find a ping pong table, musical instruments, drawing materials and people to hang out with. “It’s good for the body and mind,” said Josh.

Game Gym offers camps, watch parties, panel discussions, tournaments, and charitable and other events. With an eye toward playing in college and/or a career in the industry, students are encouraged to learn all aspects of gaming including graphic design, content creation, tournament organization, production, casting (aka play-by-play) and more.

  • Josh Hafkin, founer and CEO of Game Gym
  • Entrance hall at Game Gym
  • Game Gym coaches and a Game Gym member cast at a competition.
  • During camps at the Game Gym, groups compete in team-building activities like this one, where marshmallows and raw spaghetti serve as building materials.
  • At the Game Gym, coaches incorporate movement and physical education in their programming.