This is the second part in a series on eSports coaching, created with the cooperation of Gamer Sensei.
Checking out coaching for Hearthstone was never really something I considered. After all, I’ve been watching and playing for years, what could I possibly look to gain? As Ragachak last week learned about mobas, and I as well, there is always much more to these competitive genres than meets the eye.
Aside from generally preferring to learn on my own, coaching for video games is a uniquely weird thing in my mind. I’ve had coaching -in traditional sports- and that seems natural, so what’s different about making the crossover to digital? I hardly thought about it before my first lesson, but I think it’s because there are so many resources available for learning on your own, seeking out a mentor seems like a waste. I can watch a streamer like TrumpSC for dozens of hours a week, read the thousands of guides across many websites, or seek opinions from the forum community/pros, so, what’s missing?
For starters, unique approaches to understanding the game on a deeper level. In fact, my Gamer Sensei coach (“FKIShadow”), happened to be a mathematician with a keen interest in statistics. I’ve known about win/play rates and the like, but not to the extreme level of depth the resources available to me were. So for the first half of our session we poured over the numbers expressing how beneficial they can be for understanding the game as a whole, not just on a competitive level. It was incredible how much information was at my fingertips and I never even knew they existed before I was introduced to them. Right off the bat, I learned something that would change the way I play and understand Hearthstone forever.
This was followed by the more straightforward laddering, albeit due to my relatively high level of experience with the game as it is, there weren’t any mind-blowing moments, rather, my biggest takeaway was the confidence boost. Being able to talk out what I’m doing and having someone much more skilled confirming my initial thoughts made me feel a level of conviction not often experienced. Like, “I can do this! If I really tried, I could make it to Legend.” Of course, areas that could be improved were touched upon, but with a positive attitude. It’s such a huge difference from something like a random match of League of Legends where every mistake is scrutinized and ridiculed. At the end, I felt like I could improve and climb because I had a good mindset.
Coaching isn’t just about rapping the student on the knuckles with a ruler when they mess up, or casually grading an assignment like the entirety of my public schooling experience. It can be so much more. With even something as simple as being introduced to a new resource to a core playstyle overhaul, one-on-one guidance not only improves you as a gamer, but also as a person.