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The first thing Coach Ssong wanted to tell TSM after their 3rd place finish: "The most important thing is to know both the emotions."

By Sharon Coone
Mar 23, 2018
We talk to TSM head coach Ssong about the team's difficult split, what they've learned from the process, and how they're feeling going into playoffs.

Q: What player has grown the most over the course of the split?

I am proud of all players, but if I had to pick one I’m most proud of MikeYeung. It’s because even though he’s a rookie, receiving a lot of pressure playing alongside these veterans and playing in the best team — TSM, he was able to overcome the pressure and achieve good results. I’m really proud of him.

Q: How did you help Mike deal with pressure?

I tried to pinpoint why things didn’t work in the game, which areas he’s lacking, and which areas he should improve on. He has a good spirit as well so he tried to overcome his own. We also tried to create good atmosphere making jokes, and help him relax. Most importantly, we cared a lot about giving him more confidence — trying to find him the champions he likes and is confident in.

Q: Was there ever a point you were afraid TSM wouldn’t make playoffs?

Of course, I had a lot of pressure, but I never thought that we wouldn’t make it to playoffs. But, we thought it would be hard for us to make it to playoffs as 3rd or 4th place.

Q: You mentioned pressure — who do you look to for support when you feel that?

I just focus on something I can get my mind off, and that’s usually trying to find good food, getting good sleep, or meeting people.

Q: What is your focus going to the playoffs?

I think going to playoffs as 1st or 2nd and waiting for the challengers can be good, but personally going up from the bottom (quarterfinals) is not bad either. t’s because as we go through the quarterfinals, I believe the process will give lots of confidence for MikeYeung, since “momentum” is something very important for League of Legends pro scene. My role is to keep the momentum up to go all the way from quarterfinals to the LCS finals, and onto the MSI.

Q: What do you hope that your players learned from this split?

That we are one team: the team, the players, the staff. I think it was good that we went through the process of building the trust within the team. In the end, this is a team game, and we learned since we stuck together as a team, we ended up in a good place even though we started poorly. We felt, and learned, that whenever or wherever we get a slump, we can get over it as a team together.

Q: How do you as the coach help the team become closer?

It’s my duty to help players understand each other’s mistakes, shortcomings, or any discomfort that each player might feel towards each other — that everyone is trying to change and show each part of the change and progress players make. Perhaps by showing here’s how we are improving, or here’s something we can learn from this player. By solving each problem one by one, players are getting closer — doing activities, talking more, etc. — and that’s how we are making improvements.

Q: What’s the first thing that you are going to tell the team when you see them after the games today?

They played very well. The most important thing is to know both the emotions — the emotion that we felt when we were underperforming earlier in the split, and the emotion that we are feeling now — and continue to improve based on that. We played very well, and I will tell the players how much I am proud of them. We will not stop here — we will go to the finals, MSI, and let’s continue to try to improve.

Q: Anything else you want to talk about?

Fans had great expectation for the team, and we started the split with high expectations, but we underperformed earlier in the split. I bet the fans must have worried a lot, disappointed a lot, but I want to really thank the true TSM fans who believed in us and supported us thus far. I am just happy to reward the fans at least a bit today, and I hope to not stop here and continue to show proud performances as TSM in the finals and the MSI. Thank you for supporting us, and that’s what makes me feel happy, and blessed.

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Disclosure: Riot Games, the publisher of League of Legends, is an investor in Blitz Esports

Sharon Coone profile
Sharon Coone
Sharon spent three years as a video game encyclopedia (Editor in Chief) at Twinfinite. Now she just brags about the time she got to Gold in League of Legends using a trackpad.
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