CSGO coaching revolution the only way to save s1mple and FaZe
Teams at the top of the CSGO tree are desperately in need of a lesson from sport on the power of coaching. While organisations in the 5-20 range of the HLTV rankings are shuffling their packs like Derren Brown desperately trying to get one more TV show, the likes of FaZe, Na’Vi and MIBR have been held back by selfish players and a lack of oversight, something the evolution of genuine CSGO coaches could solve almost overnight.
In sport, the coach is to some degree still subject to the whims of the best players, but when you arrive at the top-level of clubs, places like Liverpool and Man City, Barcelona or Juventus, then the man with the plan is the most valuable asset. There are some teams at that level that treat even the best coaches with disdain, but most are intelligent enough to realise that you can always find more world class player, while world class minds are far more rare.
History is full of coaches who had amazing teams full of talent, but couldn’t get over the line
That is why people like Pep Guardiola, Jurgen Klopp, or previously Jose Mourinho are so valuable, and so highly paid in world football, for example. The same goes for the likes of Phil Jackson in the NBA, or Bill Belichick in the NFL, who are given generational talents and then go on to produce epic, seemingly unmatchable results with them. While it may sound simple to win titles with top players, history is full of coaches who had amazing teams full of talent, but couldn’t get over the line.
If that sounds familiar, right now you have probably three teams in various stages of that malaise, with FaZe and Na’Vi both boasting incredible players - and multiple in each case - which they allow to wallow around in mediocrity while Astralis lead the pack. MIBR are slightly further ahead for their decision to recruit and empower zews, but the moment FalleN overrules the man with the plan that team will be back to square one. That is not to say the IGL will, but YNk didn’t leave that team because he had too much control, let’s put it that way.
Right now, the assumption is that any great player must also possess a great CSGO mind, and that is patently not true in sport or esports. For every Johan Cruyff, a man who revolutionised the game of football as a player and coach, there is a Pele or Maradona, who understands football on a deep and almost spiritual level, but cannot communicate about the game without sounding like they have little to no idea how it works. In Maradona’s case, his management career also backs up that theory, that he felt football, without thinking about it.
The same is true of many other sports, where Steve Kerr is a great coach, and Michael Jordan is a mediocre person, or Warren Gatland leads Wales to success while more successful players from his era are limited to the pundits’ sofa. There has to be a different way of assessing coaches to players, and at the moment the likes of FaZe and Na’Vi seem to base their decisions on how much or little the likes of YNk or Kane might offend the biggest egos in the team.
This is necessary not only to ensure talent is used to the best possible ends, but also to make sure players are politely moved on when they have reached the end of their tenure. The idea someone as apparently off-the-pace as Zeus could choose the timing of his own retirement in sport would be laughable and, frankly, it is in CSGO too, where he has long been a burden on the team that he claims to want to lead to victory.
Great coaches are far more rare than great players
The steps to achieve this are long, but the first one is for teams to work out a methodology to identify and potentially develop coaches. Picking out someone who can produce a good soundbite on a desk and giving them the keys to the most expensive team in the game is nonsense, and it’s not clear the likes of G2 or others have a much better idea right now.
It’ll take time for the top orgs to come around to this way of thinking and, to be honest, the mid to low-tier teams can’t really afford to be the same way, as great coaches are far more rare than great players. For the likes of BIG, you need to scour and scout to find the correct players, and then maybe build with a coach organically, as we’ve seen Renegades and Kassad do at the recent Major and beyond. When it comes to FaZe and Na’Vi, the change is more urgent, and probably requires a top-down revolution if 2019 isn’t to be another year of wasted dollars and depressing play from the world’s best.
Pictures: Copyright ESL | Bart Oerbekke, Helena-Kristiansson