Esports coaching is still in its early stages, and there isn’t currently a recognized standard definition for what an Esports coach actually does. There are many different types of coaches ranging from psychologists to former professional players, each bringing something unique to the table.
This variety in regards to training methods makes it difficult for potential clients to identify which type of coach matches their needs best. While there is no definitive answer as to what esports coaching is, I believe it is possible to identify 3 different types of coaches that are useful in their own way. Here’s how I’d break them down.
1. The educational coach
This type of coach offers to increase the players’ knowledge about fundamentals or specific aspects of the game so that they can become better at executing certain actions. This type of coaching is beneficial for players who already have a firm grasp of all in-game mechanics and need guidance in regards to “what to do and when to do it.” It targets more experienced players looking to improve upon their weaknesses.
This approach proves itself ideal for mid to high-rank players because it allows them to learn new strategies via replay analysis, which is much cheaper than a typical sports coach. This type of coach also provides a clear definition of what the players will get out of every training session, so it’s easy to optimize time.
2. The mental coach
This type of coach is there to help players overcome limitations that are holding them back from reaching higher levels. I often notice this limitation is confidence or fear towards certain aspects of the game. It usually comes up because the player hasn’t played enough to develop proper muscle memory regarding specific actions.
This type of coaching is most effective when working with newer players because they don’t have as much experience under their belt and can thus benefit more from the guidance provided by others. This approach is also beneficial for highly talented players who struggle to make it on the big stage because they believe their hype and put too much pressure on themselves to succeed.
3. The analyst
This type of coach specializes in helping teams improve their gameplay through more objective means while working with them behind the scenes (outside of the game). Obviously, this type of coaching overlaps with what educational coaches do but typically involves less direct interaction within the games and instead focuses on developing strategies or watching replays together outside of the game itself.
This type of coach often works with Esports organizations rather than individuals because they need access to all team members in order to share knowledge effectively. This type of coaching is the most useful for top teams/players because it offers a more comprehensive and objective view on how to improve than what an educational coach can provide.
Why Hire an Esports Coach?
Now that you have a better idea of what types of Esports coaches are available and what they do, I’ll also quickly list some reasons here to give you an idea of why players/teams should hire an Esports coach.
You can improve much faster when working with a coach since he’s there to guide you through your mistakes. It’s much easier for someone who is not in the game to spot what went wrong than it is for the player who made the mistake.
You will rapidly gain confidence as your ability level increases quickly. Since you have someone to talk to after every game, you don’t have to go over ideas by yourself. That’s quite helpful if you happen to be shy or if you’re the type of person who learns more by learning directly.
You can learn to think about the game in a different way. This is very helpful if you happen to play many different champions (heroes, jobs, characters, etc.)/maps/modes because it’s much easier for someone else to guide you through your actions in-game than for you to figure out everything on your own.
You will increase your ability level when working with an Esports coach. That’s pretty much self-explanatory when you consider all the benefits above, but I’ll make sure to explain this point later when I talk about my experience as an Esports coach.
As you might’ve guessed, I consider myself to be an advanced game analyst, but my expertise lies in working with individuals rather than team improvement. This is because I believe the role of a coach is often dictated by what their clients want, and in order to work in a high-level game rank, you need extensive knowledge about everything in-game.
While my coaching sessions are heavily influenced by my own observations from professional matches, I’ve spent countless hours watching VODs (videos) together with my clients until we identify every mistake they make. The approach I’ve developed is very practical because it allows me to pinpoint what my clients are doing wrong without requiring them to play thousands of games for me.
After working with thousands of players in different titles, I’ve noticed that most of them tend to agree on one simple truth – improvement requires hard work. If you want to stand out from the rest and reach top rank or even become a professional player, then you’ll need to put in an insane amount of effort.
This is true across every field, not just Esports – nothing valuable ever comes fast and easy. However, I believe there’s still room for optimization in terms of how much time players should spend practicing their mechanics and game sense.
Take League of Legends coaching as an example since it’s by far one of the most popular Esports titles and what I have years of experience with. Suppose you’re an aspiring mid laner who wants to achieve higher ranks. In that case, I highly recommend playing other roles as well so you can understand what makes your champion and role unique and how they synchronize in teamwork with other players.
If your goal is to become a professional player, I think the best way to improve is by playing under experienced players or managers. Always ask players with higher ranks or stronger skills if they would mind teaching you some things about your favorite game. The key here is to not only listen but also contribute. You need to make sure that your mentor knows that they are teaching you something rather than the other way around because otherwise, there’s no point in learning from someone who has less experience than you do.
Another option for becoming a professional player is coaching – this allows you to learn more about game sense, team dynamics, etc., while simultaneously strengthening your in-game mechanics.