What does a typical coaching day with the talents look like and what qualities does a coach have to bring to the table to develop gamers?
Just like all the gamers we support, sports play an important role in my daily life. I usually get up at 7 a.m. and head straight to the gym.
My actual working day usually starts at around 9 a.m. Before I coach the talents from the Female Player Program, I first take a look at the LCK (League of Legends Champions Korea) or the Chinese LPL (League of Legends Pro League). In many cases, I can use a lot of the recorded video material for my coaching sessions. This material serves primarily as visual aids for the gamers. The first coaching session always starts at 11 a.m. To facilitate it, the gamers always send me recorded sessions ahead of time, which we then analyze together. For the days without coaching sessions, my gamers are always assigned exercises at the end of each unit.
As I mentioned before, I always look around a lot, to stay current on the latest happenings in LoL. A good coach never stops learning. And they have to be able to get peak performance from their gamers at all times. This is the only way for the talents to progress. As I see it, a good coach is also capable of leading their gamers. For me, this means setting a goal for my gamers and supporting them consistently on their way to achieving it. A coach also has to be encouraging and capable of leading gamers away from their lows.
It is well known that talent alone is no longer enough. Does that mean the epf support modules, such as psychological support and fitness training for athletes, are essential for a successful career?
The epf has set new standards when it comes to holistic support. I’m happy that the epf offers these modules, because I think they are essential for a prolonged career. In particular, I’ve noticed that the fitness training and psychological support let gamers make tremendous progress, giving them much more self-confidence.
The basic principle of supporting the gamers outside of the game, so they can benefit in the game, is an approach that will be established among all the teams in the coming years. As I see it, it is a requirement for being a successful team. Teams such as Rogue and MAD Lions have already been very successful with it.
One of the supported gamers (Caltys) just signed her first professional contract in the EBL. Are you convinced that we will see increasing numbers of women in professional leagues in the coming years? Studies have shown that women and men demonstrate the same level of performance in eSports. Can you confirm that?
Maya is the first female gamer who is playing in the ERL. I’m certain that she won’t be the last. We have to get away from stigmatization and prejudices against women, transgender people, and others. But this is a process that will take some time and will also require support from society as a whole. Gender shouldn’t be a consideration at all; only performance should count.
Maya was also affected by this, and it was very difficult to place her, although her gaming abilities are better than those of many male gamers.
During the off season, I spoke with a large number of coaches and managers, to increase her chances of getting tryouts. Unfortunately, when I mentioned that Maya is a woman, many organizations just laughed. As a result, she wasn’t granted many tryouts. As such, I don’t think the problem is with the performance of the female gamers, but simply that the organizations aren’t ready for them yet.
What is the most important thing that you want to impart in your gamers?
First and foremost, I think that I and the epf have to show that we take them and their desire to have a professional career seriously. Otherwise, I try to give them everything a female e-athlete needs to play at the professional level. Outside of LoL, that means having a consistent daily routine and eating well above all. In the game, I try to build confidence, encourage their will to keep improving, and above all make sure that they believe in themselves – especially since they are often made fun of and confronted with sexist comments. “Sometimes you have to be your own biggest cheerleader” - Serena Williams
Unfortunately, failure is also part of eSports. What advice do you give your gamers, as well as young players who don’t play at top levels in general?
The emphasis is on having fun in the game. That’s the main thing. Nonetheless, I’m sure all gamers dream of achieving greatness. As I see it, you have to set goals to achieve your dreams.
Every eSports career has its highs and lows. The lows are especially important, because they let you grow. The gamers who are ultimately successful are those who stay on the ball even during lows and come back even stronger. As such, the key to success is to always believe in yourself and your own capabilities.