How to Be a League of Legends Coach For Tournaments

Everyone has thought about competing in the biggest stage of League of Legends esports. However, not everyone has the same dream of being the person playing on the stage. Instead, we need to appreciate some of the greatest coaches who drove their teams to success behind the scenes. It’s time to talk about how you can be a League of Legends coach and the role and responsibilities that will come with this position.

Responsibilities of a League of Legends Coach

If you think being a League of Legends coach is simply telling people how to play the game and choosing which champions they need to use, you’re severely wrong. Most coaches, especially in major esports tournaments, don’t actually have the final say in what players will be using the game and they especially don’t have any contribution to how the players will move once the game begins. You’re a coach, not a dictator. Let the players play the game in a way that they will feel confident.

Coaching in esports is completely different from coaching in physical sports. In esports, you won’t be able to communicate with your team once the game begins so you won’t have the liberty to change strategies and lineups. League of Legends coaches need to prepare their players before the match begins and provide them with the information they’ll need to win their upcoming match. Here are some responsibilities that you’ll need to follow.

Player Management, Recognition, and Usage

Understanding your players is the first and most important part of being a coach. Knowing their individual playstyles and champion pool will give you a better idea of designing team compositions and counter-strategies that cater to their strengths. You need to recognize the abilities of your players and other players from other teams or those who are rising up the ranks. Once you do this, you can make use of them in a way that fits your strategy.

FNC bonding as a team - League of Legends coach responsibilities
Know their strengths and weaknesses.

You should develop a professional relationship with your players that is built on trust and respect so that they’ll be more welcoming in listening to your opinions. A lot of players, especially those who have high ranks generally don’t listen to their coaches because they generally trust their abilities more than the coach’s opinions. Your job is to make sure that the players see you as a person who contributes to the team.

Meta Analysis & Drafting Trends

Meta analysis doesn’t just mean opening and looking at the most used champions. It’s more important and relevant to study the meta of the tournament you’re going to join. For example, if you’re playing a collegiate-level tournament, you want to see which champions the top teams are using so that you can formulate a plan that involves preparing contingencies to prevent them from being able to play comfortably.

League of Legends match history - League of Legends coach responsibilities
What are your opponents playing?

You also need to make your players list down their champion pool and rank them according to their level of mastery and comfort over them. If you have a lot of time before a tournament, you can instruct your players to learn how to play one or two champions so that they’ll have more options that will give you better drafting options. Make sure to ban out the opposing players’ best champions and any potential picks that will completely ruin your team composition.

Assigning Tasks & Roles

The most important thing to do as a League of Legends coach is to observe your players when playing games together. Determine which player gives the best orders when playing the game and assign them as the shot-caller. Keep in mind that the best player in the game isn’t always the best shot-caller and ideally, you want them to focus more on their own lane than trying to micromanage their teammates since you always want them to secure an early lead.

Kaiwing shot-calling for his team - League of Legends coach responsibilities
Make sure to let someone lead the team!

You always want players to be paired up and coordinate with other players during certain stages of the game. For example, you want to tell your Jungler and Mid Laner that they need to play aggressively towards roaming bot together to nullify another player from securing a lead. You can also tell which lane will be playing weakside or strong side according to the draft and matchup. Understand these concepts and assign tasks and roles before the match begins.

Training Scheduling & Arranging Scrims

The coach also needs to do some administrative duties (unless your team belongs to a large organization) such as scheduling group training and scrims. A good way to practice together is to play flex but this method only really helps players work on their team coordination, communication, and general strategies. Other than those, it doesn’t really help them prepare against specific teams that have their own unique playstyles and champion pools.

Team Liquid playing scrims - League of Legends coach responsibilities
Coordinate with other teams

If you are competing in a more organized competition, you may want to offer to play scrims against other teams. It’s recommended that you don’t showcase your entire strategy when scrimming against other teams so that they don’t counter you. However, it’s also not a good idea to hold back too much, or else you won’t get any real experience from the scrim, and the other team might not feel like playing against you again. It’s probably a good idea to give about 80% of your strategies and potential to a scrim.

VOD Reviews & Coaching (finally)

VOD reviews are a crucial part of growing as a team. Every time you finish a match (regardless of whether you win or lose), you should take an hour or two to sit down with your team to review the game. The goal of this is to give your players an idea of what they are missing as a team and how they can better coordinate next time. Never shame your players for how they play the game because they might play more passively in their next match due to a lack of confidence and trust.

Fnatic reviewing their post-game VOD - League of Legends coach responsibilities
Make sure to review your games!

It’s a good idea to give feedback to every player equally on their performance after every match. Give a detailed list of what they need to work on for their next match and make sure to explain how they can achieve what you want them to do and explain why it’s necessary. Always adjust your strategies according to the result of every match and don’t stick to a single strategy throughout a competition. This will ensure your success as a great League of Legends coach.

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