Grab yourself a coin of some sort. You’re going to flip this coin, but not yet. Let’s put some rules to the flip. First off, if the coin is heads, get up and spin 5 times in a circle to the right, if it’s tails, 5 spins to the left. Second, when you flip the coin, you can’t look at the result of the flip for 3 minutes. Basically, you just played the role of a coach who watches their team’s scrims through spectate. The main response to this would be that it doesn’t matter if you watch it streamed or 3 minutes later, you’ll see basically the same thing. This, my reader, is why a lot of mid-late game decision making is so poor in the amateur scene.
We were scrimming I think a Wild Card team at the time, and I was watching my team’s scrim on a stream. There was a spot where we were getting a little lost, so I messaged the opposing coach if it was okay to pause the game. He messaged me back “why would you need to do that?” I realized that he wasn’t watching on a stream and was seeing things 3 minutes behind from when I was seeing things. I was nice and decided not to have my players pause.
So why is watching a stream and pausing so important? A lot of amateur teams don’t practice in the same room. And so the best way to view the game real time is through streaming. Now, I expressed in the intro how hard it is to work on the late game decision-making since it’s always changing. But, if you use a pause to talk to your players about how they want to go about the current situation, maybe steer them in the right direction, etc. talking about a decision to be made will have a lot more effect on a player than talking about the wrong decision being made after the game has ended or a day later in vod review. This doesn’t mean you don’t talk about it in vod review, you bring it back up so it sets in their mind. Say you’re running some comp that scales a lot heavier than the opposing team into late game, but you know your team is down about 5k and being sieged on their inner mid with all outers down. If you’re team is confused on what to do in this situation, you can ask the other coach if you can pause and you can then talk to your players about how to they should be turtling. At this time, the other team can talk how to close out the game with what’s on the board for them. If your team doesn’t make the right choice (without a discussion), they’re not going to learn as much.
That being said, you don’t go in guns ablazing telling your team where the other teams wards are, or info that they don’t know. You ask them questions to help them figure out their next step. “How are we going to get back into this game?”, “What can we contest?”, “Who should we be funneling our farm onto?”. If you tell them, they won’t think about it. And you won’t (hopefully you won’t) be in comms during an actual competitive game to tell them. By the way, that should be about 3 minutes. SPIN!
If you feel more comfortable, the stream that you use can be a bunch of jumbled up letters and numbers so no one can find your vods. Also, before you pause the game to talk to your team, make sure the other coach knows you are going to do it so they can prepare to talk to their team. If they ask you why, and you realize they are just in spectate, tell one of your players to fake the dc so you can talk to them. Hell, all is fair in love and league, at least in the world of coaching. The next article will be on the most underutilized practice tool. See you then!