What Esports Coaching Can Provide For You
What Esports Coaching Can Provide For You
Esports coaching is one of the best ways of speeding up the process of learning and mastering a game. As a novice, you’ll have a hard time discovering why you can’t beat players of a higher tier. These players know things you don’t. And learning those things on your own can take hundreds or even thousands of games. A good coach simply offers them to you by pointing out every mistake you’ve made and every inefficiency. He will also give you a clear idea of what you should be doing to win your games and why.
Technique Versus Game Knowledge
Perfecting your technique is relatively easy. All you need to do is work on it, study what other people do, and learn the best practices. But perfecting your understanding of the game is hard. And to a large extent, that understanding is what makes the difference between good competitors and great competitors.
In esports, winning relies on good decisions. And those decisions rely on your understanding of the game. In practice, you don’t decide based on what is happening in your game, you decide based on what you think is happening in it. The IGL of a top 10 CS:GO team will have a very different mental model than the IGL of an amateur team.
The players who climb the ladder faster are those who achieve at a faster pace a deeper understanding of the game and start seeing with clarity how matches can be won. When you gain such insights, you no longer look at the game with novice eyes. Instead, you discern patterns, weaknesses, dangers, and so on, and then make every move count. You play like a grandmaster would in a game of chess, and eliminate all the mistakes and inefficiencies from your strategy.
At each tier, people tend to make certain errors and have certain types of inefficiencies in their game. When they figure out what these errors and inefficiencies are, they can correct them and then immediately improve their win rate. Many of these imperfections are subtle, at least to them. But a highly skilled coach will spot them with ease.
The Advantage Of Having A Great Coach
What coaching helps you do is to develop a deep understanding of how the game works and how you should play it in order to win. And instead of having to figure everything out on your own, you’re being offered the keys to efficiency and good decision-making. In other words, you will no longer need to travel by foot and reach your destination after a long time. The coach will give you a ride, drastically reducing your effort and time investment.
Esports coaching accelerates your progress in the same way in which speaking a foreign language with a native will accelerate your knowledge of it. That person can help you notice your mistakes simply by communicating with you and making observations. As soon as you’ve said something, they will know if you expressed yourself properly or not. The same applies to esports coaching.
You will find good coaches all around the world. If you’re not a high-rank player, anyone who is at least a few skill-division above you can be your guide. You should search people from North America and Western Europe if you aim for maximum quality, or Eastern Europe and Southeast Asia if you aim for a good mix of quality and price.
Some of the best coaches in every esport are those who have been creating content and analysing matches for years. For example, in Dota 2 you have people like Brian “BSJ” Canavan and Niklas “Wagamama” Hogstrom. In CS:GO you have people like “TheWarOwl”.
Expect an hourly rate of anywhere between $20 and $50.
Before you start searching for a coach, make sure you take advantage of any available classes that exist on the web. Your first stop should be YouTube. After that, check if there are any companies that offer tutorials about your game of interest. In Dota 2, CS:GO, and LoL, for instance, you will find that gameleap.com and gamerzclass.com provide exceptional content for very low prices. You can access all of their resources for just $10 a month.
Advice From One of New Zealand’s Pro Players
Esports coaching is particularly relevant when you’re an aspiring pro player. And to get a deeper understanding of the subject, we spoke to Ari Greene-Young, better known as “Shok”, who is currently playing in Oceania’s League of Legends circuit (LCO). Here’s what he had to say when we asked him if he ever used a coach before becoming a pro player:
“I did buy some coaching sessions a couple of times. I think they can be useful for helping to speed up the process. Coaching is more important when you’re higher rank. If you are lower ranked, all the information you would get out of a coaching session could be found online anyway. But in terms of time investment, coaching can be much more efficient than learning on your own.”
Perspectives on Esports Coaching From one of New Zealand’s Pros
We also spoke to Patrick “WarTurtle” Gleeson, who was kind enough to accept an interview about what it means to be a professional esports coach. He’s currently coaching Chiefs Esports Club’s Rainbow Six Siege team. Here are some of the questions from that interview, along with his answers:
When did you start playing Rainbow Six Siege?
I started playing the game at the end of 2015 but I didn’t get involved with the competitive scene till the start of 2017.
How long did it take you to start coaching professional teams? I assume it took a while to get noticed after you had mastered the game.
Roughly 2 1/2 years after I first entered the comp scene I turned 18 and became eligible to compete in Pro League I had spent the previous 2 years on U18 teams competing in leagues such as Cyber Gamer trying to improve. Initially, I tried to make a run to qualify for Pro League as a player but after that did not pan out I received an offer to do coaching for an ANZ Pro League team. It has been about 2 years since then and I’ve found I enjoy coaching a lot more than playing.
What do you find more challenging or fun: working with people or finding great insights about the game and your opponents that you can share with your team to help them succeed?
I honestly like the development and growth you see over the long term. And if I think about where we were as a team a year ago and what we did at the time, it seems crazy how much we have changed, all for the better. I prefer working with people one on one, fixing issues and working to improve in areas of the game. It’s challenging and fun at the same time, as nothing is ever the same.
Have you ever used a coach yourself before becoming one? If yes, how did it help you? If not, looking back at your journey, do you think it would have made things easier?
I have played an assortment of sports over the years but most recently I played Water Polo where I was coached by one of the top coaches & players in the country. I learnt a lot from playing under him. I believe it has helped me shape my coaching style and it made me realize there is more to being a coach than creating game plans or strategies.
Is there a big difference between training on your own, as an aspiring pro player, and training with a professional team?
For some things yes, playing in a competitive team is very different compared to just a ranked stack or solo queue. In a team environment, there is a lot of structure and systems to help with improvement and development. You aren’t just working solo to improve yourself. You are also working to improve with your teammates as a team at the same time. There is still a lot you can work on and practice outside of a team environment, like mechanical skill, communication & developing your game knowledge by watching and reviewing pro matches and VODs.
As a coach, what would you like aspiring pro players to focus more on?
Honestly, just being a good teammate & being able to take feedback without taking it personally. A lot of players today are joining high-level teams without being in any sort of team environment, not just an esports team but something like a job as well. So they haven’t had a chance to learn the skills that are needed to succeed in a team.
If I wanted to join your team as an aspiring pro player, how could I do that? Do you think I should contact your organization or wait for organizations like yours to find and contact me?
Get your name known by people, don’t isolate yourself and have an ego. Most of the time, teams will have a shortlist of people they want to try to get but if you are aware of a team looking for a player a simple message to that team never hurts.
What are the traits of a good R6 Siege player?
Good communication, an understanding of the game and meta in competitive (as it varies from ranked) & the ability to bring ideas to the table.
How important is a player’s attitude when competing at the professional level?
Attitude is one of the most important things when competing at the highest level. Some players can be insanely good but have a poor attitude that not only affects them but their team as well, bringing down their value and overall reason to keep working with them.
What do you find yourself doing more with your players after a painful defeat: therapy sessions or strategy sessions?
After every loss, we discuss where we went wrong and look at how we can improve for the next game. Most of the time a loss motivates us even more to improve and fix our mistakes for the upcoming matches. We rarely have to do anything more than discuss it after the loss, but sometimes players can take a hit to their confidence and we will need to spend some time one on one to slowly bring it back up.
How much did starting your professional career affect your motivation to do other things (like school etc.)?
I joined my first ‘pro team’ while I was in my first year of university and working. It was hard finding a balance at first, with it each of my studies, job and coaching taking up all of my time, leaving me next to no free time. It made it hard to see friends and just relax, so that did demotivate me after a while. But eventually, I started making enough to quit my job and I also started planning more, allowing me that free time, refreshing my enjoyment, and motivating me to continue
Did your family get worried when you started playing Rainbow Six Siege for more than a few hours per day or were they supportive?
At first, when they saw how much time I was putting into it they were a bit worried as they had never heard of esports or realised you can get an income and win money competing for a video game. They were worried but as long as it didn’t affect my studies or that I still could support myself, they didn’t mind. Once I started to make a consistent income from it, that’s when they realised it was a legitimate thing and got a lot more into it. They love watching the games and ask me about what is going on with the team all the time now.