KC Woods talks with Mark Register about what a Life Coach does in Esports
Mark Register – Can you please explain what a life coach is because I don’t think a lot of people know, what does that entail?
KC Woods – For TSM we had Josh who was a strategic coach, he focused on everything in the game and he worked with the analysts and would come up with game plans, picks and bans, and identifying issues in terms of gameplay.
A life coach focuses on things outside of the game.
When I first started it was more about addressing issues that would arise with players and making sure that there was no friction within the team.
Like if somebody is doing something, or doesn’t seem as committed, or doing something else more than he is focusing on actually playing, then I addressed it.
Also it’s making sure that they’re motivated and that there are no hard feelings between players. Like players feeling like “this guy doesn’t play enough solo queue” or he’s always talking to his girlfriend, or things like that.
It’s making sure that they were all getting along and there are no issues.
It’s making sure that they’re ready for the highest performance possible, making sure that they have a healthy life so they are eating healthy, they’re getting the right supplements, they’re going to the gym, and all the things that have a direct impact on their performance.
Like I told the players it’s basically free performance enhancing things. You can just sleep more and sleep better and you’ll be better and play better especially when you get to best of threes and then fatigue really comes into.
If you’re getting more sleep than the other team you’re going to be better prepared. If you’re going to the gym and you have better fitness you’re going to be better prepared.
You can’t just do that next split, you have to start now.
Weeks are really tiring, you put a lot of time into it if you’re more fit and you eat healthier and all those different things you’re going to be playing at a higher level throughout the whole week.
Same with nutrition and cognition, getting supplements, getting vitamin D, fish oil, and making sure you eat the right nutrients.
All those different things have a direct impact on the game and they’re all outside of the game so those are the type of things I would focus on.
I also focused on working with the players for general structure on different things like communication.
I had a big part in some things that weren’t necessarily a part of the life portion but more general coaching.
Working with the players one on one, coming up with a plan of identifying the issues, breaking them down with the players, then working on a plan on how they can fix it. Identifying and working on it.
I had to learn a lot at first but then once I did we would identify our biggest priority of an issue, break it down, then work on them in bite-size pieces.
But you can’t work on fifty things at once, we would focus on one, identify how to do it, then try to implement that structure with the coaching staff and players.
Also lifestyle stuff.
Also for the performance coaching portion, we had Weldon come in who worked on the psychological state of the players, which I had some background in but just as a player knowing what worked for me and different techniques I used to stay focused and play at a high level.
Just like pitching there’s a lot of that. You’re by yourself throwing a ball and you have to really make sure you’re not in a bad mental state or your control and everything’s gonna go terribly.
So I had some basics but it’s not something I had a huge background with and not something I pretended to know when I got the job.
So a lot of the issues with TSM came with the mental side of things, not necessarily that the players are mentally weak, it’s the communication, the mental game, trusting each other, and those types of things kept coming up so we decided we needed more of sports psychologist.
So that’s why Weldon came in and he had a lot more experience with that and I think that’s really where they need a lot more help and guidance right now. Which is where they are probably going towards but I think that teams like Immortals have done it really well.
They have all three of those covered, they have the strategic coach, they have a performance coach, and they have a life coach.
Because they are separate they all take different skills and it’s tough to find people that have the full skill set of all those things and also the time to be able to implement all those things at the same time.
I could have definitely taken my role even further if I had less responsibilities elsewhere.
If I was just going to be a life coach and improve on those things, I could be a fitness instructor, I could cook all the meals, make sure they’re fully perfect in the macros, I could really monitor everything fully but then I would have no time to do the other parts of coaching in creating a structure, practice, and making sure that they can improve on things like that.
It’s just the bigger the infrastructure, the more you have time to really focus on your strengths and the skill sets you have but I think that’s where the coaching is leading.
Teams like Immortals, NRG, and Ember right now, they just hired Weldon, they have a really good coaching staff and infrastructure that gives the coaches more ability to focus on those specific things.