I Hired a Videogame Coach (You Should Too!)

I’m currently reading the book The Biggest Bluff. (I know, brag.)

In it, author Maria Konnikova chronicles how she went from not knowing anything about poker to quitting her gig with The New Yorker to become a professional poker player, winning hundreds of thousands of dollars in tournaments within her first year.

She was able to know when to hold ’em (WHEN TO HOLD ‘EM), know when to fold ’em because she enlisted the help of a (world champion) coach.

Coincidentally, I hired a videogame coach last weekend so I can get better at Overwatch. And if you want to get better at a videogame, or just have more fun with them, I highly recommend it!

Ugh. I know, I know. It sounds SOOPER BOUGIE that I have the time/money/inclination to hire a videogame coach, of all things. But whatever. I was tired of getting annihilated, YouTube tutorials were spotty at best, and I’m glad I did it.

Thanks to modern technology, it was also super easy to find one. Google pointed me to GamerSensei, where I scrolled through a list of Overwatch coaches from around the world. All of them promote their various credentials, games they coach and what they charge. I settled on a guy named River (screen name: Spearmaker). I picked him because he was less than $20 an hour (at the time) and his was the only bio that mentioned working with adults.

More from River in a minute.

He reviewed game footage from a few matches that I had played (Ed. note, evidently Overwatch automatically records your game footage), and we scheduled a time to meet up on Discord. During our first session, River and I chatted a bit about what my goals were, how I like to play, etc. But the first practical thing he had me do was re-map my buttons.

X will no longer the jump button? HERESY!

It’s weird, but he was right. Moving the jump button to the right bumper means that I can jump and aim without taking my thumb off the right thumbstick.

The new setup is definitely weird, and I’m still getting used to it, but it also makes sense. I mean, I know re-mapping buttons is not exactly a mind-blowing for a lot of people, but I was so ingrained in my default habits that the thought of re-mapping never occurred to me. Having an expert provide that insight made me think about and interact with the game in a whole new way.

It also made me want to buy an Elite controller (with extra buttons) which I will refrain from doing, at least until the PS 5 comes out.

Like a coach going through game tape, River walked me through my tactical mistakes, provided a host of good strategy tips and more importantly, he was a great teacher. I’m definitely going to hire him again. And who knows, maybe in a year’s time, I’ll pull a Konnikova and go pro.

I’m not bluffing.

(Sidenote: Join me! How great would it be if a bunch of olds formed a winning e-sports team? Bored billionaires and corporate sponsors, feel free to reach out.)

Clear eyes, full hearts can’t lose!

Q&A with a Videogame Coach

I was so intrigued by the idea of videogame coaching as a thing, that I asked River if I could interview him for 40-Bit. He kindly agreed and the following is our email exchange.

40-Bit: Please briefly explain what a videogame coach does.
River: Prettymuch what any kind of coach does! They take their previous experience in either being involved in or analyzing an activity, spot errors and guide a student to progress! Just like a football coach can spot a player holding the wrong space, being unaware of something important on the field or, well, anything else a player can be getting wrong, a videogame coach has similar tools and can easily spot when someone in a gaming environment is missing out on potential!

Which games do you currently coach? Which is the most popular?
I currently coach Overwatch and Super Smash Brothers. I’ve been coaching Overwatch for a little longer, so I have an audience with it, but I hope to put more effort in coaching more Family-Friendly titles like Smash Brothers or Rocket League.

What’s the split for your clientele, agewise? Mostly young? How many olds?
Typically the largest audience for videogame coaching is below 18. At least in what I’ve seen or experienced myself, but when I speak with other coaches who have the same amount of experience as I do, I’m somehow drawing a much larger sample of players above the age of 30. Couples sometimes. Lots of dads.

Can you make a living as a videogame coach? Is this your full-time gig? Do you want it to be?
You can but someone who is new to hustle is going to need a LOT of support initially before developing their platform and clientele. My main gig is children’s education for basic robotics, coding and animation. I like where I am with having the E-sports coaching as a side-gig. Potentially it becoming a bigger thing in the future seems like an alright idea!

What’s the most common coaching advice you give older players?
Awesome question, but it’s always different! Like every other player out there, issues stem anywhere from large overarching issues, or extremely specific nuances. Just like every player is different, so is just about all the advice I give. I’ve had the pleasure of working with clients who are in their forties where for some it’s the first time they’re picking up a videogame controller, and others, they used to, or currently play professionally.

What should people know before hiring a videogame coach?
Like they should know before hiring any person to assist with progress of any kind. You get what you put into it.

Having watched my Overwatch gameplay now, do you think I’m ready to go pro?
The potential to go pro? It’s there. It’s hard, extremely hard, and harder as your reflexes get a bit further away from the 19-year-old machines that play the game for 6+ hours a day. Going pro as a player isn’t out of your reach. It will take a tremendous amount of work however. But… I would absolutely NOT discount going pro in a number of other ways! I’ve run a brief seminar on ‘going pro’ in gaming and discussing a whole lot of opportunities to make a living, or even a proper career off of playing or simply being involved with E-sports!

[Ed. note: See? My e-sports pro journey will make a great story!]

Photo by Paweł Czerwiński on Unsplash

A Quick Favor

Thomas Lennon and Ben Garant write in their book Writing Movies for Fun and Profit that if you ever meet a celebrity — don’t ask them for anything. People want stuff from them all day, be the person who doesn’t.

Anyhoo. I say that not to brag about reading two books in this newsletter, but because I need to ask you for a favor, and I really don’t like doing it. But {takes deep breath}, here goes.

If you like this newsletter, would you mind taking a moment to forward it to someone? Your friends, your family, your dog, my dog. Doesn’t matter. Part of this whole endeavor is to create a thriving, inclusive community of older gamers, and I could use your help in doing just that.

I won’t make of big deal of it again. I just wanted to put it out there. I’m just looking to build something for fun and profit.

Image via John Wick Kill Count

Newsy Bits

Fall Guys: Ultimate Knockout will be available to PlayStation Plus subscribers Aug. 4. Though it doesn’t involve Lee Majors, it also looks like a super fun, bouncy twist on the battle royale game that doesn’t involve headshots. Speaking of headshots…

Splinter Cell is getting an animated series on Netflix from the writer of the John Wick movies. I assume there will be a pencil. Writing this is also an excuse to resurface this John Wick kill count infographic which runs you through the trilogy’s body count. Speaking of running…

Someone on Reddit (of course) hooked up Witcher 3 to their treadmill, so they can literally walk through the land of Touissant, matching speed and incline. And I thought I had too much time hiring a videogame coach.

One last thing before we close out this week’s issue. I received my first 40-Bit shirts from Threadless this week and I kinda hate them. They aren’t “Extra Soft” and the printing is low-rez and unattractive. I’m going to try and find a different solution. If you ordered one already, I’m sorry and I’ll try to make it up to you.

That’s it for this week.

You’re doing great!

-Team 40-bit

Published by 40 Bit Gaming

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