The eSports industry is growing at a rapid pace as more and more gamers tune in to watch eSports events and get involved in the capacity of a professional player. Similarly, the industry has increased its authenticity as a number of major sponsors and corporate partners sign up to support various eSports leagues.
According to analyst firm Statista, the eSports industry is growing at such a rate that, by 2021, eSports market revenue will have reached $1.65 billion. This is up from what seems like a measly in comparison $130 million of revenue for 2012.
But the growth of eSports hasn’t just seen the industry’s revenues increase. As the money involved grows, so too does the need for different job roles and positions, which can further facilitate the industry’s growth and support its players. And one of the most important new eSports careers is the eSports coach; but what exactly does an eSports coach do?
Training is Important for Esports Players, Too
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The average professional athlete trains for between five and six hours a day for six days a week. This amounts to around 36 hours of training each week, including going over various drills, time spent working out in the gym and the time spent putting together strategies with coaches.
Although eSports is a far less physically demanding form of sports than, say, playing in the NFL or the Premier League, it still requires just as much training as these traditional sports. In a 2017 article for Forbes, eSports legal counsel Darren Heitner detailed some of these strenuous eSports training activities, describing an eSports academy where players receive specific training regimes. Training courses include helping players develop “a strong core, perfect posture, hand-eye coordination, and strong forearms, hands, wrists, and fingers,” writes Heitner.
Coaches will also be on hand to help players work on this, crafting these strategies and training regimes. An article by Red Bull notes that team coaches including Evil Geniuses’ Mr. X and (now dissolved team) TCM’s Swizz have excelled by learning their team’s style of play, including advanced knowledge of tactics and the ability to suggest new tactics during mid-game callouts.
Professional Player Management
In addition to knowledge of strategies, being a coach is also about player management, including figuring out how to get a team gelling well together, making decisions about a team’s roster and working with sponsors too.
When the NA LCS finals took place in 2017, new team Immortals were in a position to make history and this would have put a huge amount of pressure on the team’s roster. It would have been up to then-head coach Sang-Soo Kim to help relieve that stress and encourage them to perform on such a big stage. Likewise, when the Betway sponsored Ninjas in Pyjamas CS:GO team took to the stage in Katowice to participate in the Intel Extreme Masters World Championship 2018, it would have been up to coach Faruk Pita to help the team forget about the $500,000 prize fund and just focus on the game at hand.
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Overwatch League coaches will have also been feeling the heat recently, given that the main competition has not been up and running for very long. The teams in the Overwatch League are compiled of players from all over the world and there are language barriers, chemistry issues, strategies and more to be worked out, and coaches must ease their teams through all of that.
On top of this, many eSports initiatives, including the Overwatch League and CS: GO, have transfer windows where players may be dropped from a starting line-up and demoted to a sub due to poor performance. New players may also come in and compete for those spots and it will be up to a coach to identify areas of improvement and to work with management to make those suggestions and, perhaps, even suggest what the teams should be paying those new players for their talents.
Being a coach or a professional analysis is not an easy job at all and, as highlighted, there are so many aspects to this role. But it is also a career path that provides a huge amount of opportunities because more and more eSports organizations are realizing that coaches are a necessity as a result of eSports’ growth.