The Support Staff of a Winning LCS Team
There has been a lot of talk about support staff on a league team, but what does that actually entail? One problem is that many team owners don’t know what support staff is needed, or if they do it’s simply too expensive for them to invest. This is a list of possible support staff a team could and should have.
The Support Staff:
- Coach: This figure has to be the goto person for the players on any issues or for direction. Coach would set practice and stream times, would direct the focus of what each practice was, and would give prep talks when needed. On top of this the Coach is also in charge of all other support staff. It is very important that the coach delegates so he doesn’t slip on other duties by being busy when he has an entire team to help him/her out. It is also important that the Coach is seen as the business coach first and friend second.
- Life Coach: This isn’t the typical kind of person who labels themselves as a ‘life coach’. The job of a teams LC is to focus on player health, with diet and exercise on a daily basis. The rest of the time he or she is making sure that these players (most of who haven’t had any other jobs or live outside of home) are adjusting to their new life. Players need to know how to be adults in the fact that they can buy a pair of jeans etc. Ideally this person would a dietician or nutritionist who has some real life experience. That way they have strong academic knowledge of health, but can also help the players do non-gaming things. In a recent Reddit thread Diego 'Quas' Ruiz mentioned how many players (himself included) gain weight and become unhealthy once they join a pro-team.
- Brand Manager: During Choi ‘Locodoco’ Yoon-sub’s fall from grace and depression in Korea Brandon ‘Saintvicious’ DiMarco said some of the best advice for any pro player. “Build your brand; and stay loyal to your fans”. It’s a two step process which players don’t seem to grasp. There is a lot of drama in a lot of other pro-esports (such as CoD and CS:GO) where players can’t use social media responsibly and blow up or say extremely homophobic thing which leads to witch hunts and fans turning against them. Not to be forgotten, if the players brand grows so does the team brand. Who roots for a team because they just love that organization? No one. People root for teams that they love the players of. I personally will no longer be an EG fan now that Snoopeh and Krepo have left.
- Team Analyst: Many teams have analysts, but they will need to be more specialized to really succeed. The team analyst would focus purely on team play, team strategies, and team fights. From rotations to pick-and-ban phase, everything needs to be rotated and perfected. A team analyst knows team dynamics and doesn’t get attached to one thing. By understanding the play style of the team they can suggest cheese or new meta shifts.
- Player/Lane Analyst: Having an analyst that focusses more on individual players or lanes would allow for each player to really improve on their mechanics and champion pool. They can really break down what was good and bad during each step of the game, that way the player can focus on it during that week of practice. No reason to make a player practice CSing when they’ve mastered that but need to work on trading in lane or transitioning to the mid game.
- Team Psychologist: A team psychologist is there to focus only on mental heath of the players and to improve the team dynamic. This is important with the entire team living under one roof. If there is any strife between any players on the team for any reason it can hurt their play. The psychologist needs to fix any disputes between players no matter how small. On the game side of things a psychologist can focus on improving team communication in and out of the game. In the direction of a sports psychologist, an esports psychologist can make daily warm-up and practice routine for players.
This comes down to a large staff with an even larger pay check from the team. League is growing in size, but it is likely that the money invested in the game and teams hasn't yet reached this level.
*Since writing this article SK gaming got slapped with a fine after breaking an LCS rule. Because of this I I believe that someone on the team (most likely the Coach) needs to be fully knowledgeable in the rules in order to protect from this. Most logically each organization would simply have council which watches out for every team in the organization.
Josh C is a gameplay analyst and founder of the leagueofteamsblog.com, where he writes about team play from behind the scenes to on the rift. He is a diamond 5 support player, and when he isn’t playing League he is out rock climbing. Follow Josh on twitter @Josh_LoT.