Last week I was contacted by an ex-martial-arts coach who wanted to know if his experience transferred into League of Legends coaching.
Now first off, before I answer, let me clarify that essentially what I am trying to do at MindGames.GG is to make everybody into a coach.
“But I don’t want to be a coach,” you say. “I’m here to become a pro!”
Ahh, but how are you going to do that? You have to coach yourself.
Take a look in the town recreation center advertisements and see how many youth esport teams there are out there with trained, adult coaches supervising their athlete development.
I didn’t think you’d find many. If you do, PLEASE take a picture and email it to me!! weldon at mindgames.gg
Anyway, you have the good fortune of being in a brand new sport where their is no infrastructure, no coaching, no support of any kind usually from family. That means that you have to become your own coach, and seek out people to mentor you in how to be an athlete in a sport they are unfamiliar with.
So everything I talk about in this post will apply to you eventually, if you get serious about improvement.
My short answer was “Yes! But not automatically.”
And my long answer was the following activity, which I recommend for anybody who wants to begin the process of transferring their coaching experience in other sports to apply to esport as well.
It’s called a coaching philosophy.
To start a coaching philosophy, simply write 2–3 paragraphs about your personal beliefs towards coaching people. Include answers to questions such as:
- How and why are athletes motivated to train on a given day?
- How do I, as a coach, enhance that motivation?
- What is the best way to create a productive atmosphere for performance or training?
- What daily actions can I take to do that?
- How do people learn motor movements? How do people learn strategy?
- What is my personal experience about what humans’ require to learn something?
Of course, you can change these questions to be solely about yourself. But it wouldn’t hurt to leave them directed towards a team of athletes. If you can coach somebody else you can probably coach yourself fairly well too.
There’s a whole host of things that come about when you struggle through writing a coaching philosophy. I did this in swimming, but more recently I actually experienced this first-hand a few years ago when I wrote a teaching philosophy (very similar questions) for a job as a teacher at the University of Jyväskylä in Finland, where I currently work.
First of all, it forced me to reflect on my past experiences and extract meaning from them. Instead of simply having memories, now I had tools I could use to inform future decisions. Even if you are a reflective person by nature, and I wasn’t, writing this forces you to think of specific experiences.
Writing this single document had the largest affect on my teaching of anything I’d done in the previous 5 years. Additionally, working on updating it during the last 3 years is my core method for self-improvement. I turn to it any time I need to design a new activity (or improve a random one I pulled off the internet).
Coaching in esport
This week I made a vlog about the state of coaching in esport. It’s very fitting, since 2015 is “The Year of the Coach” in League of Legends. MindGames.GG is pretty much all about coaching.
When I work with professional teams, I try to offer as much knowledge as possible about sport psychology to the coach. Both in an effort to improve the team and to train myself out of a job so I can go on and help the next team.
As I said before, for individual players, it’s all about teaching you to coach yourselves. Unlike in mainstream sport, there IS no youth sport teams for esport athletes. Nobody has the chance to grow up indulging their competitive side under the supervision of progressively better coaches who help them learn how to win, to lose, to stay strong, to communicate with teams, etc.
So everybody is going it on their own. And while that’s totally possible, it’s also completely unnecessary.
All the skills that coaches instil through years of youth sport experience can also be learned elsewhere. And that’s what I’m focusing on a lot at MindGames.GG
Check out my Vlog here. I talk about:
- Nick’s vlog on LoL coaching
- My growth coaching swimming
- Having strategic knowledge versus managing and motivating people!
- 3 tips for improving as a coach
I’ve already started giving in-depth answers to people’s training questions on my Mind Games Q&A. Register a free account and share your own story and struggles!
Comment below with your thoughts about the vlog, and coaching in esport. Also I’d love to read your coaching philosophy! If you are more of a private person, you can send me that to the email address listed earlier or using this contact form.