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Everyone knows how important coaches are in football, tennis, or basketball. They decide on the match strategy, the team line-up and monitor the player performances. But how about the rising discipline of esports?  Are coaches just as important as in other sports? Or do they play a different role within the team structures?

Tapping into our connections within the esports universe, we spoke to three established and well-respected esports coaches: Dennis "Sycrone" Nielsen, head coach of MOUZ's CS:GO roster, Mathis "Jabbz" Friesel, assistant coach & analyst of Team Liquid's Dota2 roster, and James "Mac" MacCormack, head coach of Mad Lions' League of Legends roster. The result of these conversations is the newly released SAP documentary A New Perspective II, exploring the multifaceted role of coaches and the growing importance of data science in esports.

The documentary follows the first SAP esports documentary A New Perspective I from 2019, which focused on the observers of esports broadcasts. It is the second documentary produced in partnership with SAP’s lead esports agency BUILD A ROCKET.

(James "Mac" MacCormack, head coach of Mad Lions' League of Legends roster. Picture: BUILD A ROCKET)

Exploring the multi-faceted role of a modern esports coach

A New Perspective II shows that being an esports coach means a lot more than just helping players improve their moves and strategies. A coach must be able to connect with each player on an emotional level and act as a link between the human and the analytical components, in addition to having a strong fundamental understanding of the game. In traditional sports, team chemistry is critical to success.  In professional esports, the most important skill is to understand the players mental fortitude in conjunction with supportive solutions from an analysis and data perspective.

(Mathis "Jabbz" Friesel, assistant coach & analyst of Team Liquid's Dota2 roster. Picture: BUILD A ROCKET)

The relevance of data science for esports coaches

The utilization of data science in esports has become increasingly significant and plays a pivotal role for coaches. While esports competition is often driven by intuition and game sense, the use of statistics and analytical science becomes crucial when it comes to the decision margin that truly makes a difference—the distinction between victory and defeat. In these critical moments, statistics have the power to tip the scales or even fundamentally impact the way the game is played. By leveraging data, coaches can blend the realms of science and skill, harnessing the power of statistical insights to gain the ultimate competitive edge.

Data science is now used in all areas of professional esports - and that includes the search for young talent. Within the highly competitive esports landscape, where only the top 0.01% of players are regarded as professionals, the margin for success is incredibly slim. In this context, data science supports teams in identifying promising talents and potential areas of improvement.

(Dennis "Sycrone" Nielsen, head coach of MOUZ's CS:GO roster. Picture: BUILD A ROCKET)

A New Perspective II provides unique insights into the world of esports coaches, in which data has become an indispensable asset. It enables teams to uncover hidden patterns, identify talents, set precise goals, and ultimately elevate their teams' performance. As the Esports industry continues to evolve, the importance of data will only grow, ensuring that coaches remain at the forefront of strategic decision-making and player development for years to come.

Check out the full documentary here:

If you’re interested to learn more about SAP’s engagement in esports, please reach out to myself

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