Coach, Analyst, Team Manager, Psychologist - and so on. Have you ever wondered specifically what the difference is between a coach and an analyst? Or between a coach and a manager? In this post I'm going to briefly run through a competitive team and the support staff around them, what they do and why they do it.
Firstly, I'd like to point out that a lot of teams start out with just 5 players who may play ranked together forming a team in order to compete. That team - especially in the early days - may go professional and compete in the games highest leagues, Pro League or Challenger League. So if they just had the players back then, why do they need support staff now?
Support staff improve players.
Every player has a glass ceiling in terms of overall effectiveness to the game - this may be absolutely anything that limits a player. Think of a player that is the best player in ranked, an absolute machine and just guns anything and everything, but he/she isn't the top pro player in the world. Why is that? Its because whilst one attribute, such as mechanical skill - may be a 10/10, attitude or flexibility may only be a 5/10 and thus hold them back.
Support staff are there to increase the other attributes of players to help them raise their ceilings and all round become a better player. A lot of players will practice aim training, even positioning or mechanical skill, rarely though will a player practice being better at communicating, being a better team member or being more flexible in roles/operators.
Support staff, fundamentally are there to push the other 5/10's up further and further.
Are support staff roles defined within Siege?
In short. Many teams will often run one support staff and call them a coach, often they take up the roles of coaching, analysing, mental coaching and also team managing (Especially if there is an org). Whilst this can be done, in my opinion it is very far from ideal to do them all at the same time. In a professional or semi professional setup (Pro League/Challenger League) - you simply won't have time to perform all of the roles to their fullest within a week/few days.
In Tier 3 (National Leagues) and below, most teams are happy for analysis to be basic tracking of matches and maps etc, they are happy to create strategies themselves and not counter-strat their opponents, they don't feel like they need mental coaching.
In this kind of scenario, maybe 1 support staff is enough as they can be a 'coach' and do all of that in a weeks work - but I don't think that is enough in Pro League/Challenger League.
In Pro League/Challenger League - you need to maximise all you can from every aspect to be the best. If there is just one support staff, they may work a 50 hour week. Break that week down;
10 hours coaching (tacboards, strategy review)
15 hours internal analysis and vod review
15 hours external analysis and vod review of opponents
10 hours performing team manager duties (liaising with org, booking scrims, organising players calendars for events etc)
The 'coach' in this scenario isn't giving the players the best possible output - very simply because he or she doesn't have the time to do so. External VOD review, if done to the detail that is deserved may take 10-12 hours per VOD. Assume that in the current PL ban system you are able to predict 2 possible maps, that's 20-24 hours of external analysis needed per match (Assuming 1 match per week - even though there's 2) alone. Now 10/15 hours of VOD review may seem like a lot - but if we conservatively say this team scrims 5 x 3 map scrims per week , that's only watching them, that's not doing any analysis internally. I believe that in a pro/top team scenario, there needs to be at least 2 support staff, ideally I would say that you would want 1 coach, 1 internal analyst and 1 external analyst.
Coach & Analyst - the similarities and the differences.
I'm not sure a lot of people necessarily know this one. I see many posts of people calling themselves coach/analysts and I see a lot of teams looking for coach/analyst in their posts. For me there are fundamental differences and most teams should have both a coach and an analyst ( if not two analysts).
COACH- my definition:
A coach is someone who sets the overall strategy for the team and how they want to play. This is more similar if you think about this as a professional soccer or (American) football team. In football (soccer) - the coach sets the team up with a play style, for example counter-attack or tiki-taka. In American football (football) - the coach sets the team up with a play style that plays to that teams strengths - pro-dominantly running, throwing or maybe even playing to the strengths of a tight end.
In siege this is the same situation. For me I believe the coach is the one that sets the strategy. In attack - whether the team do a full roam clear or a containment. In defence whether the team turtles or whether they roam. Whether they hold the site horizontally or vertically.
The players will of course have input, the same as in professional sports, but the coach is the one that determines the overall strategy, the players that best fit into that strategy. The coach may well draw up the tacboards, explain the dry runs and be the one that understands the strategy of the game/META (Most effective tactic available) the best.
Can analysts fulfil the above role? Yes - but it takes away from their analysis time. Can players fulfil the above role? Yes - and often this can/does work very well - but it shouldn't be at the expense of scrimming/dry running.
ANALYST - my definition:
My definition is probably different, only very slightly, to most peoples. For me there are two types of analyst;
Internal analyst - who focuses solely internally on the team, what micro-improvements can be made to the teams strategy in order to get extra value out of the strategy determined by the coach.
External analyst - who focuses solely on knowing and being an expert in the league/tournament that his/her team operates in. They know all of the teams, their way of setting up strategy and create counter strategy from that.
Most people will define them two roles into one and just have an analyst - again coming back to that level of how much you want out of any one individual across the collective roles. In my opinion - a lot of teams would be better served having an internal and external analysis to fully cover all basis - especially when it comes to counter strategy. If one person is doing both internal and external analysis, they may only be able to review 3 VODs of each map of the teams opponent that week. If you had an external-only analyst - he/she would be able to review the previous 6 VODs of each map, they could then spot a strategy in the 4th/5th/6th VOD that would otherwise be missed. That could be a 1 round differential between winning and drawing. In S9 NA, Team Reciprocity drew twice, once with DZ. Now apply that draw to this scenario, that 1 round they lost to draw instead of winning was the difference between them going to Milan Finals or not.
Anyway - sorry for the sidetrack. If we assume by analyst we mean 1 person, fulfilling both the internal & external analysis roles. Heres my definition:
An analyst uses a combination of statistical data and high level game knowledge to effectively influence a micro part of the strategy in order to improve it. Effectively analysts are the ones who watch the team test out the coaches new strategy in scrims, they collect all the relevant data they need for it and then they analyse the results of the data before making recommendations on improvements to the strategy.
An analyst therefore needs to be competent in both statistical data collection, graphing and reviewing (excel or google sheets) and also in high level gameplay. Usually - you get one stronger side, for me its statistical analysis.
An example of this - if a team/coach wanted to run a strategy on consulate top floor defence that involved having two (maybe even three) players downstairs in piano/lobby to C4 the planter. The analyst would watch this specific strategy in VOD's and collect useful data on this. Lets say it doesn't work particularly well and teams are getting plants off early and not being C4'd - the analyst can review his data.
Upon review he see's that in all of the rounds on this strat, the pulse and mozzie that are downstairs are only getting a C4 kill 15% of the time. When he watches the VOD back he notices this is because of two things;
The plant is going down in meeting and there is no anchor presence there.
There is no information that the plant is actually going down.
Therefore the analyst recommends that we swap out the Mozzie for a Valkyrie so that all information can be seen and relayed.
Whilst the above seems simple, analysts problem solve any specific micro or macro problem that a teams strategy may face, they do it with both data and game knowledge.
TEAM MANAGER - my definition:
A team manager is someone who is the most organised person you know. This is a role where the team manager liaises with the Organisation [should the team be involved with an organisation]. They organise the teams calendars, organise scrims, make sure the team are showing the right sponsors on screen and on twitch panels. Booking flights and hotels/travel arrangements. All of the organisational side of playing. They may even be involved with the sports psychology side of the game, keeping the players in the right mindset to play the game.
Support staff are vital to the long term success of any given team - they provide the team with the correct tools to break through their ceilings and become the best version of themselves they can possibly be. The roles aren't clearly defined but there are differences between the roles - one person can do all roles to some degree but at the top level, that is barely enough. Most top/pro teams will use two support staff (coaches/analysts/managers etc) however I believe that some teams would benefit from having 3 support staff with clearly defined, segregated roles.