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Thinkcard on how he became the Head Coach of C9 Challenger/FlyQuest and how he trains the team

By Mark Register
Mar 13th, 2017
37
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Thinkcard on how he became the Head Coach of C9 Challenger/FlyQuest and how he trains the team

By Mark Register
Mar 13th, 2017
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Q: What’s the transition been like, going from being a pro player to a coach?

So I was like... I still call myself a semi-pro. I wasn't like "I started for a team." But I went to IEM Cologne with CLG. But I always thought about the game a lot. I loved thinking about the game analytically when I was in living with CLG. Me and Zikz--the coach--me and Tony, we'd always talk about the game. And then, the way I ended up being the coach of C9C was we did tryouts for jungle, and I was actually jungling, and I won the tryout because they weren't sure if they're going to use Rush. And so they were using me for a bit, and then they decided that they're going to use Rush. Then I was like "Can I try out as analyst or coach? I think I'm really good at it." And then after a day or two, they were like "OK we want you as analyst," and they got rid of the other analyst that they were using. And then I just like kept carrying on. And since I was only helping them, it kind of turned into being the coach, and I had to like kind of figure out what I was doing. But then when I got to go to Worlds with C9, I was able to work really closely with Reapered, and I learned a lot from him. And I was able to like refine what a coach needs to provide for the team, so I think I'm doing a lot better at the job as a coach this split than I did with C9C, and I'm going to like constantly get better, so I think I'm pretty good at it. I like it.

Q: You’ve said that you refined what a coach needs to give to a team. So what does a coach need to give to a team?

OK so that's like a really vague question. I get that all the time obviously. So, the most important thing that a coach needs is to make practice productive. We have a lot of smart minds on the team. Hai, Lemon, Balls. Altec and Moon are also really smart at the game. So we have a lot of minds--we just have to make sure that we're always being productive and talking about the right things. Because you can be stuck on analyzing things in games that just aren't important, and they're very specific. They only apply to that game. And if you spend all your time analyzing that, and you go on to next game, you don't really have any takeaways. You need something you can take away from a game that can be applied to the next game because it's like... It's a broad enough thing that can be applied to many different situations, whereas the more specific you get with analyzing, the less likely you're going to be able to use it in like the next games that you have. So to make sure you're always being productive, not getting mad at each other, eating well. We started going outside like you have to be healthy, and we do that now. And it has really helped our scrims. So we were... Lately, we were not doing that well in scrims. Then this past week we started like eating well or going outside, like the results completely swapped, and we started doing well in scrims. So a coach has to do a lot. You have to help analyzing, you have to help do a lot of other stuff.

Q: Should all coaches be former players?

It definitely helps to be a player because if... So the advantage of being a coach that was a player is that you have a much better understanding of the game, and you get more respect from your players. So that they're like "Oh he played at a high level. He obviously was like pretty good at the game. He's able to analyze like the mechanics of why a fight might have gone well or not gone well." And so like you get more respect that way and more trust. So it definitely helps. It's not necessary. Like Zikz at CLG wasn't a player, and he's one of the best coaches so it's not necessary but it definitely helps.

Q: You have both veterans and new blood on FlyQuest. How does that dynamic work?

I think the dynamic of the team works really well because Moon, coming into it, the only thing that we were slightly worried about was his performance on stage. Because he was always really good in scrims and amazing in solo queue. And we decided that he would just be really good fit because we have Hai. We have direction, and we have a lot of experience between Hai, Balls, me, and lemon. And so we can direct him, and he can grow as a player. Like now he's like very talkative. He always had like one of the best work ethics and he's meshed super well with the team. And Johnny, I don't really count Johnny as new blood. Like Altec is--he was with EG. He was with Gravity, and he was with us. I forget... Oh he did NRG for a split. He's always been playing, and he is smart about the game. I wouldn't count Johnny as new fresh blood. That guy is good.

Q: What advice would you give to young adults thinking of dropping out of school to pursue League like you did?

I was actually in college for a year and a half before I dropped out. And it's risky. I probably wouldn't recommend it. It's incredibly risky. The reason I wouldn't recommend it is because education is so important. And if you want to be like an analyst or a coach like you could like finish school and then be an analyst or a coach. If you want to be a player, you don't really have that time. So you have to make sure you're good. Like Dardoch dropped out. Matt dropped out. Darshan didn't go to college. There are so many players that didn't go to college. But for all of those that you see, there are also a lot that are still like playing in Challenger, playing in Master, playing in D1, who aren't going to college because they had this dream. And you have to make sure you're good enough. And sometimes it's hard to tell. Like I didn't really play that much solo queue. So I kind of hoped that I'd do well. Turns out when I dropped out, I started playing a lot of solo queue and I got to like rank 1 in the beginning of the year. And then like people were noticing me. But you have to be able to climb solo queue. And you have to be confident that you can do that. If you're dropping out, and you're stuck in D1 and stuck in Master. That's risky. You should stay in college. 

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