Hello François, can you introduce yourself and describe your career ?
My name is “The Coach”, I am 28 years old and I am a mental coach for team Oserv Esport. On an other hand I followed a formation to be a policeman. This is how I learned strong values : team spirit, determination and push back your limits.
After that, I turned to personal assistance and therapy to fight against addictions, overcome phobias and help manage stress. In search of a stronger impact on people, I moved on Mental Coaching for athletes. In sports like Krav Maga or Crossfit, you have to work hard to surpass ourselves.
There are already many mental trainers in traditional sports so I started in eSport… I then joined OSERV ESPORT as a Mental Coach.
What led you to become a mental coach?
Mainly out of curiosity but also by luck. I just sent a CV to OSERV ESPORT. They studied my application at length and took me as a coach for their R6 team.
But originally, I’m not a gamer! In fact, I offered myself as a Mental Coach. We did a test with the R6 team, which allowed me to familiarize myself with the environment and above all to make one observation: a large majority of semi-pro players – and even some professional players – do not know how to optimize their efficiency. They do not know how to manage emotions, defeats, stress, the hazards of competition. We worked together on stress management, how to be better focused, but also how to manage conflicts and communicate better internally. Even warm-ups, which are obvious in more “traditional” sports, are rarely used to their full potential in the video game industry!
Mental coach for eSporters, what does it mean?
Esport as a sport is a big debate (laughs). But in any case there is a clear difference in relation to the needs of athletes: In more “traditional” high-level sports, this requires a very strong physical capacity. And to reach this level, we necessarily have a strong mind, one does not exist without the other.
On the other hand, there is always a thin line between a good player and a “normal” player. It’s a bit like poker, you realize in the long term that a player is really above it. Through actions, consistency in performance. It’s extremely mental based, I would say it’s a mix between poker and chess: in the heads of eSports players, it’s always tricky! It’s a crucial aspect of mind, it’s what controls their hands, their head… their game!
Sports Coaches who are starting to get into eSport don’t necessarily know that the mental part is very strong, and they are not necessarily trained in that. I would say that’s the main difference. Working the mind is not optional when you do eSport: it’s a priority!
Can you tell me more about mental preparation in eSport?
I would start by saying that Mental Preparation is only one part of mental coaching. Preparation is before the competition. Outside my work, I also encompass the mentalities you may have about your game in general, regardless of whether the player is in competition or not, and this throughout the year. I try to give the right mentalities to achieve the players’ objectives.
In a way, it’s psychological support, but it’s mostly about helping them understand how they can’t play at their best level. Mental Coaching is also the afterthought: analyzing what happened and why it happened, among other things. And then, to avoid them taking the big head too (laughs)
We regularly see Asian teams making impressive “comebacks”. Is it a matter of culture, or is there a training behind it ?
It depends on the games, they’re not excellent on all games! But where they excel is also because there is this eSport culture that has been very present for a long time. The players are hyper-mediatized, they are like marketing showcases like football players in Europe.
In Korea, Mental Coaching has been known for a long time, the players are very well supervised. I think if our players had the same training and follow-up, we would have a higher level overall. That’s why I do this job, for the professionalization of eSport. Whether the players have a real coaching (whether mental coach or other), it can only be beneficial and it can only increase the competitive level.
What would you say to young people who want to become Mental Coache?
They need to develop their thinking and intellect. And really, I insist on it: reading a lot, learning in all possible and unimaginable fields. You can’t have a correct mentality and face all situations if you don’t learn in all areas. For example, you can learn to play the piano and realize that it helps you to better manage your movements and accuracy. You can read the “art of war” and learn about different mental strategies. You have to try to learn everywhere and all the time.
More generally, it is necessary to know how to accompany, and to listen more than just talk. Also, never give too much advice: All people have the mental capacity to understand for themselves the situations in which they are and the problems they face. More than just advising, it is necessary to encourage them to think in the right direction so that they can find the answers themselves. I am only here to help people realize their dreams and achieve their goals.
What would you say to a team that thinks it doesn’t need it?
I’ve seen a lot of them! In fact, we need it from a certain point: At the beginning you manage your game. Then you manage your game as a team. Then your communication. And then you’re going to reach a threshold, or like in weight training, you need an outside helping hand to keep moving forward.
Teams that reach this level have two choices: either they realize their need, and that’s how they move forward, or they disband.
There are often internal communication problems – also due to the youth of eSporters – and this is also one of the points on which I am speaking. Often players think of conflicts as a sum of “action reaction”. My goal is also to make them see that it is more like “action reflection reaction. »
I start a game in 10 minutes and I’m a little stressed. What can you do for me?
Think of the point of playing as training. The more you compete, the more you understand your mistakes, how people work and the different mechanics of the game… If you stress before a mach, it’s because you’re not in the right focus: It’s because you project yourself into the future. Stress is caused by a projection, you say to yourself “if it turns out it’s not going to go well”. So that’s because you’re not in the moment. To play well, you have to be focused on the present moment.
On top of that, you’re in something hypothetical, so you’re hurting yourself for nothing. You have to live in the present moment and stay focused, nothing has happened yet anyway! Think performance, and stress can’t come if you’re focused on what you’re doing right now.
Can you tell me more about your future plans?
Ah! A lot of projects! First of all, to develop the players’ minds on a larger scale, I offer my services on www.thecoach.gg .
Then, with my partner, we created www.Galibelum.fr, a platform for connecting brands wishing to sponsor eSport with the players in it (structures, streamers, event creators and even game publishers). Finally, a mobile Mental Coaching application is in development.
Thank you !