Smash is trending towards the influx of personal coaches for top players. The recent signing of Daniel “Tafokints” Lee to Cloud 9 to coach one of the most experienced players in Melee, Joseph “Mango” Marquez, was the second significant player to sign on a coach.
I talked to the first player to ever sign with a team as a Melee coach, not as a player. Luis “Crunch” Rosias was signed by Team Liquid back in July, 2016, to be a coach to one of the world’s best players in Juan “Hungrybox” Debiedma. Crunch spoke to the effectiveness of Melee coaches and the impact it could have on a player’s success.
“Yeah, I think coaching is really effective. Juan never dreamed of winning Evo a few years ago when I started coaching him,” said Crunch, “It’s good to have a second set of eyes and to help boot camp before events.”
The results since Crunch signed on as a coach are undeniable. Hungrybox is having his best year as a professional, and it’s safe to say Crunch has had a serious impact on maintaining his level of play. Crunch’s main focus is analysis prior to events.
“Juan’s not great at analysis,” said Crunch, “I try to focus specifically on analysis. He needs someone to look over everything in more detail. It’s different for every player.”
Crunch talked about working through a players weaknesses inside and outside of tournaments. He pointed out Hungrybox’s match and player analysis needed some work, but that he excelled in other areas and didn’t have to work as hard on the mental approach. Each player has different needs that a coach has to work through.
“Mango talked about having someone to help him get to sleep on time,” Crunch continued, “M2k (Jason “Mew2King” Zimmerman) needs a player he’ll listen to. He can play for hours with random players but could be getting better practice.”
Crunch went deeper into his approach to coaching in Melee. He spoke about the three main aspects he tries to focus on: “It comes down to three different types of roles as a coach. Sports psychology, as in keeping him warm and prepared mentally during a tournament. The second is analysis, and the third is having a practice partner near the same level who can help practice any situation,” said Crunch.
Coaches are the future of Smash. It might seem farfetched from an outsider’s perspective, but having a reliable person to help with all the aspects of being a professional Smash player can’t go understated. The Crunch and Tafokints’ signings are just the start.
“CLG was looking” said Crunch, “there’s definitely interest from some of the other larger teams.”
As a result, more Smash players will get signed on as coaches, as this niche role will soon turn into a necessity. Teams clearly see the value in coaching. This might make them more inclined to bring in coaches, to help keep players motivated and work through the struggles of being a professional Smash player. With two of the larger organizations in esports already signing Smash coaches, expect more top players to seek out a personal coach.
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