Incentive, coach, big sibling: eSports coaches come to fore
Not long ago it was “weird” for an eSports team to have a coach, however that is changing quick in a highly competitive environment where milliseconds matter and benefits are in the countless dollars, experts say.
Professional gaming is still in its infancy however it is proliferating and at its peak teams compete for prize handbags of as much as $35 million.
Players, overwhelmingly in their 20s and even teens, can attract a global following to competing stars in mainstream sport. But when it comes to coaching, eSports is playing catch-up.
Josh “Jatt” Leesman is head coach of Team Liquid’s League of Legends team and oversees a coaching staff of five or six that consists of an analyst and strategy specialist.
As a previous gamer and broadcaster, Leesman has seen how the coaching side of eSports has ended up being more advanced in a brief space of time.
” If I take us back eight years, having a coach was a little bit weird,” Leesman, who is based with his team in California, stated by video call.
” Since it was like– it’s the five players in the game and they’re the ones that understand the video game best so they do not require somebody like us telling them what to do.”
That has actually changed in large part because there is a growing pool of previous players with the experience and proficiency to become coaches.
Previously, the young sport did not have so numerous ex-players who could command the regard of active players.
” I can see, in the next 10 or 15 years, it just mimicking a great deal of the professional sports training personnel in regards to who fills the job,” said Leesman, who at 33 believes he is probably the oldest coach in his field in The United States and Canada.
” It’s going to be way more former players. Age is important and maturity is very important.
” There actually haven’t been numerous adults to coach teams. For the most part it’s been kids coaching kids.”
Leesman stated that being an eSports coach is “not that various from being a coach in traditional sports”.
Training, techniques and motivating players are all on a coach’s to-do list.
” I think from a big-picture point of view you have the greatest input in practice,” he stated, describing how they stop briefly throughout training to read “all the things that you think went right and wrong”.
– ‘Strong mentor’ –
Arnold Hur is chief running officer at Gen.G, which also has a group in League of Legends, a multiplayer online battle arena game that is at the forefront of eSports patterns.
Hur said a particular obstacle for coaches, young as they are themselves, is the age of their gamers.
” I think everybody remember when we were 18, 19, twenty years old, how tough would it have been to manage us?” asked Hur.
” So part of the guideline (for a coach) is to likewise be a strong leader, a strong coach and in some cases even a huge brother figure to the gamers.”
In expert video gaming, unlike lots of other team sports, coaches can not have any input throughout play, however they can intervene and provide guidance throughout breaks.
“For every single match there’s no voice comms (communication) from the coaches, however before and after every kind of ‘set’ you can make modifications, doing a fast check-in and after that talk through method,” stated Hur.
Leesman stated not having the ability to communicate with his gamers throughout the thick of the action “is more demanding than anything” due to the fact that he can just watch on like everyone else.
In the future Hur expects coaching teams to expand and take on more experts– anything to eke out the tiniest benefit as the stakes get ever higher.
But he has a caveat when it comes to retired star gamers ending up being coaches.
“I do have to say– often you see this in standard sports too– the outright top gamers do not always make the outright top coaches,” he said.