Amateur Coach Diaries: Practice Habits Part 1
Batting practice will prepare a baseball player for a 90 mph fastball no different in the first inning or the sixth. A penalty kick is the same distance from the goal at 25 minutes compared to a shoot-out. A practiced running play is the same play if ran in the first and third quarters of a football game. Unlike these sports, League of Legends evolves during the game as it’s played. A team fight at 1 minute is not the same as a team fight at 60 minutes. And because of this, LoL is a hard sport to practice some elements of, mainly because the game is always changing. Knowing how to coach a practice in this sport is a very rare thing in the amateur scene. And that’s something that needs to be changed.
While I sit here during my short break from coaching Game Haus, I thought I would write about the biggest issue I see within the LoL amateur scene. Practice habits within amateur teams are absolutely inefficient and almost makes me cringe to a point. Throughout my time as the coach for Game Haus, I have come across some of the worst practice habits I have ever seen in any sport. So, I’ve decided to write a series about how high elo teams can improve their practice. This will not include vod reviews or scouting. Each article in this series is going to highlight the issues in most teams’ practice habits and hopefully teach coaches how to run a more efficient practice for their team. We’ll start with the number one issue in my mind and it’s the most cringe worthy; scheduling a best-of series.
Scheduling a best-of series for a scrim is the worst idea you could possibly have as a coach or manager. If you have all your players on for 3 hours for a best-of-3 series, you are going to lose valuable practice time that every team needs. If one of the two teams 2-0’s the other, that’s going to be the end of the scrim and you’ll lose all of that excess time. This also goes for setting up scrims by a number of games. Remember, almost every team will FF right when they know they can’t come back. This cuts game times even shorter, which will have you practicing less. If the games are going too fast because you’re stomping the other team, then whoever set up your scrim didn’t do a good job in finding the right scrim partner. Because of this you probably deserve the bad practice you’re getting out of that scrim. Every scrim needs to be scheduled with a time block. Whether it’s a 3 hour or 5 hour time block, you need to make sure both teams play for that whole scrim block. Will your games that you play fit perfectly into that block? Not at all. This brings me to my second point of this article.
You need to have a plan with the other team on how you both want to fill that scrim block. How much time do you want to leave for in between games, early games, mid game talks etc.? The more filled out your practice is, the more you will have accomplished. Also, have a backup plan for if the other team has to leave. Do you want to dynamic? Have a team talk about the games? Vod review? There are too many teams that play their games in a scrim, then they do the vod review on another day. If they’ve played 2 games in a scrim, that team has played 2 early games, 2 mid games, and maybe 2 late games. They’ve also played only 1 or 2 comps. If you properly filled out your time block, maybe you have played 2 really productive full games, 6 early games, 2-4 different comps. Also maybe you’re able to sneak in a vod review of an old game. The latter is definitely the more effective practice, but it isn’t happening that much in the amateur scene.
From now on, schedule all of your practices as scrim blocks with set start and end times. You need to fill up your practice time the best you can and it will pay off for your team, your scrim partner, and the entire amateur lol scene. If you enjoy just scheduling the best-of series and playing only x amount of games, when your two sub 20-minute games end and your team calls it a night, remember, when you’re not practicing, someone else is. The next article for the series will be about a way to improve late-game decision making. See you then!