So you’re trying to get good at your game of choice. You play for hours every day, you watch the pros and try to emulate them, and you’re constantly pushing yourself to improve. But you still feel stuck.
And this is frustrating. Despite tons of effort to get better, you’re not really making any progress.
So is this a sign that you’ve reached your maximum ability? That your genetics are holding you back? Or does this just mean you need a little extra help to push through to the next level of skill?
Why Pro Teams Have Coaches
Have you reached peak performance in your game? If not, you might be considering coaching. In fact, a coach might be exactly what you need to start making progress again.
In fact, almost all of the top teams in Esports have coaches; even the world’s best players are being told what to do and how to improve. But if these players are already good enough to be pros, why do they need a coach?
One reason is that a coach can speak from a perspective without bias; anyone who has ever played a team game knows how quickly most teams will devolve into a blame game after a loss. The coach can look past this and identify where the actual weak points are without judgement. Then they can then help the players translate this into new strategies or drills to improve.
So isn’t coaching just for the professionals, then?
Well, while most esports coaching occurs at a higher level of play, it doesn’t mean it’s not useful for lower-skilled players. According to Peak, a book on how high-performers are created, anyone looking to reach the highest performance levels in any field will need coaching. This is due to the constantly growing hurdle that is the top tier of competition. The constant innovation by teams of professionals makes it very difficult for new talent to emerge independently.
In other words, without a coach, you’re fighting an uphill battle against those who are constantly developing advanced strategies and methods for improvement.
The Value of a Coach – Breaking Limits
But, coaching isn’t a substitute for flat experience. To get good at any game, you need to invest a lot of time into actually grinding.
What a coach IS ideal for is breaking limits when that grind is giving you diminishing returns. Think of it like getting a limit break or a power-up; it’s a stage of improvement beyond someone’s current level. The coach’s job is to break down where you need to improve from a neutral standpoint and then help you pull it off.
The coach is essential because they can give you proper, actionable advice. And if this advice is used to build a consistent schedule, improvement is essentially guaranteed.
And this is even more valuable for players as their skill level increases. As you gain more experience, improvement will become harder. For example, a new player might benefit from straightforward advice on how to improve their general aim since they’re still working on the game’s fundamentals.
But a highly skilled esports athlete doesn’t get much from this, and needs a more specialized routine to improve. For example, a coach can create advanced drills to target the core weaknesses of their aiming, like speed training or micro-tracking.
But what about self-improvement? Is a coach even necessary if you can improve on your own?
Everyone automatically gets a little better over time, just with experience. After hundreds or even thousands of hours, your game sense and mechanics will naturally improve.
Another way to improve is with YouTube content. Tony Robbins is widely considered one of the greatest performance coaches in the world, and he talks about the value of a figure to copy. Learning to copy someone more experienced than you saves a vast amount of time since you aren’t reinventing the wheel (Awaken the Giant Within, 2001). The author Robert Greene refers to using public figures and knowledge like having “second-rate mentors”. So whether you use guides or just watch the pros, there is a lot you can learn from copying others and having such second-rate mentors. But you need to be careful.
You need to be cautious of the “self-help” trap or overlearning, where you become obsessed with learning for the sake of gaining knowledge without actually applying that knowledge in the game. On the surface, learning is easy and rewarding, but then turning it into game sense takes time and energy. But if you want to get better, that second step is necessary.
Down-Fall of Self Learning
Unfortunately, with all self-teaching, you eventually reach a plateau where your progress will slow down. You’ll start to feel like all the videos on mastering mechanics and on matchup secrets are no longer as enlightening as they once were.
At this point, you’ll have the fundamentals down, and it becomes more about finding the following layers of knowledge and filling in subtle weaknesses. For you, this might require a further understanding of the macro game, higher-level mechanics and new team strategies. The problem is that these advanced ideas are often hard to find, especially on popular YouTube channels that cater to new players. And even when you learn some of these ideas, they’ll be hard to implement. You’ll need guidance to make sure you can apply them correctly.
Fortunately, a coach can help teach you advanced strategies directly and then use critical analysis to identify issues you’d never see in your performance. Suddenly you’ll be building new decision-making patterns and cutting-edge perspectives on the game, helping you see all the moving parts of the macro game in ways you’d never seen before.
Motivation & Accountability
- It’s essential to start each chunk with something that catches attention.
But, beyond helping you improve your game sense, strategies and mechanics, a coach can provide a few extra things that are often far more valuable: motivation & accountability.
Motivation separates those who train 2-3 hours a day and then quit to go watch Netflix vs those who train every moment they have available. It’s also what separates those who just play the game passively for hours on end from those who take the time and effort to take notes, watch their own VODs and actively learn.
But passion without accountability doesn’t usually work. Most people fail in esports because they get lazy and lose the discipline to stick to an effective routine.
Coaching can solve both aspects, helping you solidify your passion AND staying on track. Together, with a coach, you can create a goal to aim for; a vision for what success looks like and exactly how to achieve it. The coach can then help you remain consistent throughout your climb. If you deviate from the improvement plan, the coach will be aware and begin to challenge you with deeper questions: Are you putting in the time you said you would? Why or why not? Are you getting distracted? If so, why? A high level of discipline is how the best players are made, and coaches can help you build it.
When to Hire a Coach
With an increasing number of gaming coaches becoming available through complete coaching programs like on our website (link in the description), or for one-off sessions on fiverr, gamersensi and similar websites, the question is no longer how to get a coach, but when.
So when exactly should you hire a coach? Here’s how to decide.
The times to look for a coach are when:
: You’ve hit a solid wall that you can’t improve around, particularly if you’re stuck in ELO hell.
: You’re looking to take it more seriously and expect to reach the highest levels of play.
: There’s a skill or knowledge that for some reason you aren’t able to teach yourself.
So ask yourself if it’s time for you to get a coach. Do you feel stuck in ELO hell? Are you serious about your improvement? And are you lacking skills and knowledge that you think a coach can help with?
If you’re a medium-skilled player, a coach can help you master the fundamentals and build a better foundation of skill. Or if you’re already at a high rank, they can help you identify unnoticed weaknesses and bad habits holding you back from the next level.
The critical task of a coach is to take you to the next rank, and they’ll do it through accountability, proper strategy and specialized advice. If you’re going to climb, it’s on you to put in the work and on the coach to guide that effort. Instead of watching YouTube videos in bed, they’ll have you sharpening your skills with a proper schedule, the same as any athlete.
So should you hire a coach? It depends on how serious you are and whether or not you’re bothered by your current rank. If you’re stuck in ELO hell or at a skill plateau, recognize that you might need some extra help. Nothing prevents players from reaching their potential more than a lone-wolf mentality, so consider taking the next steps to seek guidance, improve your weaknesses, and push yourself towards a higher level of skill.