Twitch affiliate/filthy casual. Spends far too much time replaying 2D platformers, quoting South Park and complaining about the quality of British TV adverts.
With DarkSpawn Gaming competing in this year’s UKLC, we caught up with League of Legends Coach Tim ‘Zvir’ Gudz to discuss the origins of his eSports experience, why he became a coach and what it’s like to represent DarkSpawn Gaming on the competitive stage.
DS: So how did you get started in eSports?
Zvir: I got started in Esports by finding a usage of the knowledge I clearly had for the game, I started basically coaching my friends in low Gold and helping them with how to win the game and the group joking nicknamed me ‘Coach Gudz’, from there I sought to understand and get more involved in the scene and asked a now friend, Innaxe, on his stream how he suggests getting into coaching and funnily enough a viewer in the chat, Newbould (formerly known as Mannimal) asked me to trial for his UK team which at the time was nerdRage as he was at the time looking for a new head coach, and the rest is history.
DS: What made you choose League of Legends over other games on the competitive gaming scene?
Zvir: I was introduced to League of Legends via Esports in the first place, aside from seeing some MLG Call of Duty on Sky Sports when I was way way younger, it was the first time i’d seen Esports. I remember watching Snoopeh and CLG.EU pick Amumu in a game and I became hooked on the game, and was an Amumu one trick for my early levels of the game. I then played the game constantly for years so my knowledge improved greatly with time. When I realised it could actually be thing for me to be involved in Esports, it was a no-brainer to get into the game i’d played for 5-6 years and had developed a strong knowledge and love for.
DS: Why did you opt for coaching in particular?
Zvir: Honestly, I was never good enough to play and I wanted to get involved in Esports somehow, and I had always loved teaching people things that I had a strong field of knowledge in, coming from also a strong background in traditional sports and coaching I had a kind of knack for it and getting people to listen to me. I also loved problem solving and puzzles as a kid which bring in my love for games such as Chess, so then the strategy and mental side of the Esports scene got me hooked and coaching itself became a game and enjoyable for me. It was the perfect job for my skill set honestly.
DS: What accolades do you believe are required to make an efficient coach in eSports?
Zvir: I think to be a coach, you need knowledge of the field you are coaching in, you can’t wake up one day and decide to be a coach, your understanding of the game and all its strategic elements have to be strong. Secondly you need confidence, be confident in your knowledge and what you are telling your players, if you aren’t sure, they won’t be either. Third, communication skills, if you can’t get the information you need to tell your players across effectively in a way they understand, they won’t be able to learn anything and improve from what you are saying. Finally, acceptance. A lot of people don’t like to admit it but we are all human and make mistakes, sometimes as a coach you may get something wrong and make an error and if you accept this and open admit it, you will be able to improve yourself and your players by overall expanding your understanding and knowledge so you can improve theirs.
DS: What sets your team apart from other LoL teams?
Zvir: The fact we have 5 rookies. We are the only UK roster who has 5 players in their starting roster who haven’t played in the top UK league before. Although this has it disadvantages, my players have ridiculous amounts of potential whilst already all showing individual signs of improvement. We are wearing the title of underdog this split and we are ok with it, all the players and myself are hungry to show how good we really are. If we harness our ambition and feed our potential we could really cause some upset this split.
DS: How are you finding it under the DarkSpawn Gaming banner?
Zvir: Under DarkSpawn it hasn’t been an easy process, a lot of things to do in a short amount of time but the org have supported me and the other members throughout and in the end we have come out with a strong result. Now I just want to do them proud in the league, for all the time and faith they have put into me.
DS: If someone was starting out or looking to as a coach, what advice would you give them?
Zvir: Start at the bottom and work your way up, whilst going to a smaller team at the start might not be as attractive, it’s really important to start off slow. If you are a good coach you will display this and eventually will work your way up the leagues and find yourself working with better teams. Make sure to make a Twitter and follow all those involved in the scene, so orgs, casters, players and keep an eye out for any posts they might make for opportunities and harvest them all. Never be afraid to contact anyone either, most people will help you out and give you furthermore advice more suited to your specific situation. The other thing is practice, coach in any way you can and finally accept your own mistakes like I said earlier, self awareness is the first step to improvement.