Who am I?
My name is Daisyx and I’m an experienced Hearthstone, World of Warcraft and League of Legends coach. I have a lot of experience coaching players 1-on-1 in Hearthstone, and am the former coach of team Manalight. I’ve also previously given private coaching sessions in World of Warcraft, while also leading one of the top 5 RBG teams in the world. In League of Legends, I am currently the coach for TFG, one of the better European challenger teams. These experiences have given me a good background in coaching across different styles of games. In this blog, I’m going to discuss—using analogies from my League of Legends coaching experiences—the five most important roles of a coach for a competitive team.
Understanding each other and each other’s roles
In League of Legends, players often have a very good grasp of basic strategy, especially when it comes to their own lane and role. Even in the world’s very best League of Legends teams, the coach relies on the players’ knowledge on different lane match-ups. However, for most individual players, their knowledge—or at least the depth of their knowledge—ends in their own respective role. These players often have very little clue as to how other lanes and roles play. As a coach, it is your job to keep a birds-eye view of the entire team in order to better help them understand each other and their team’s respective roles in the future.
Seeing the bigger picture
Many players in a team are often unable to see the bigger picture. To resolve this, it is often the responsibility of the coach to create drafts. If you let players pick for themselves, they will often pick champions that are good in their lane or good against their opponent’s lane, but that don’t necessarily synergize very well with each other or against their opponents’ team comp. A good coach teaches their team to see the bigger picture and make team decisions, rather than concerning themselves with their own performance as an individual.
Setting up a communication structure
As a coach, the first thing you need to do is set up a system of communications. You need to teach your players what the productive way of communicating is, and what isn’t. After that, you’ll need to create a communication structure that works for everyone. Some teams have a ‘shotcalling’ system, where only a single player talks and the others occasionally feed information to him. Other teams perform better with input from each player. These teams require a more ‘democratic’ shotcalling process. This is usually done by everyone offering a suggestion and whichever suggestion gets called out the most gets executed. Obviously both of these systems (and many more variations thereof) have their advantages and disadvantages; however, as a coach it is your job to identify which system works best for your players and help them implement it into their game.
Keeping the team together
As a coach, it is your job to keep the team together through stressful times. It is your responsibility to quickly resolve any conflicts, either between yourself and the rest of the players, or between individual players on the team. It is important as a coach that you always work from a point of authority. Having a voice of pre-chosen authority allows you to resolve issues quickly.
All players sometimes get tilted or upset. As a coach you need to work with both the individual player and the team to help them get out of that mindset as soon as possible. For some players, being upset manifests itself as yelling at teammates or being frustrated; however, for others it manifests itself as not talking at all. As a coach you need to learn to identify what the symptoms of tilt are for individual players and know how to quickly rectify them.
A crucial role of a coach for a competitive team is to analyze replays and identify the team’s mistakes. While players themselves only have a very limited amount of time to make important decisions during a game, the coach has an endless amount of time to watch and review the replay. This might sound like an easy task for the coach, but in practice it can actually be quite hard to effectively communicate a player’s mistakes made during a game. Most often, scenarios that occur during a match are rarely repeated in the same way. This makes it hard to say “when X occurs, you need to do Y.” A good coach should be able to imagine multiple scenarios that can occur within any one single event and give possible responses to all of them; this is extremely time consuming, yet integral to success.