Esport coaching valor

A Path to Building Better Relationships With Your Esports Players

Coaching across any sport, hobby or activity often focuses on identifying weaknesses and improving them. However, an alternative coaching philosophy is approaching a student with a “kind eye” first. It is an approach of empathy, positivity, and a strengths-based perspective. This approach, which has proven effective in traditional sports, can be particularly beneficial when adopted in school esports programmes. You can see in the below video world famous tennis coach Patrick Mouratolgou discuss his approach with players with Australian tennis player Nick Kygrios.

NICK KYRGIOS vs PATRICK MOURATOGLOU | Who’s the Tennis GOAT & The Importance of a Kind Eye

The Concept of a Kind Eye in Coaching

Patrick Mouratoglou and Nick Kyrgios highlight the profound impact of viewing athletes through a kind and positive lens. Mouratoglou shared how a teacher’s positive remark about his creativity, despite his struggles in school, transformed his life. This approach, he believes, should be integral to coaching—focusing on the positives rather than just pointing out flaws. Kyrgios, echoing this sentiment, appreciated how Mouratoglou and some commentators highlighted his strengths rather than fixating on his weaknesses, a perspective that deeply influenced his outlook and performance.

Positive Reinforcement: A coach with a kind eye prioritises identifying and nurturing the strengths and positive qualities of their players. This approach contrasts with a more traditional coaching style that might focus predominantly on correcting weaknesses and pointing out flaws. By highlighting what players are doing well, coaches can boost their confidence and motivation, helping them feel valued and understood. Mouratoglou’s experience of a teacher recognising his creative potential illustrates the power of positive reinforcement.

Empathy and Understanding: Seeing the whole person means understanding players as individuals with unique experiences, challenges, and emotions. Empathetic coaching creates a supportive and safe environment where players feel comfortable expressing themselves and taking risks, leading to better performance and personal growth. 

Constructive Feedback: While a kind eye emphasises positivity, it doesn’t ignore areas for improvement. Instead, it frames feedback constructively and encouragingly, helping players develop without demoralising them. Coaches should provide specific praise for what players are doing right and offer clear, actionable advice for improvement. This approach aligns with Mouratoglou’s belief.

Seeing Strengths in Potential Negatives: An often-forgotten but crucial aspect of the kind eye or strength first approach is recognising how traits perceived as negative can be reframed positively. For example, a player who rushes in and takes big risks in an esports match might be criticised for poor teamwork. However, this behaviour also shows that the player is confident and willing to take decisive actions. This courage can be harnessed to develop leadership qualities or to inspire less confident teammates. By focusing on these underlying strengths, coaches can turn perceived negatives into valuable assets for the team.

Impact on Relationships: This coaching style fosters strong, positive relationships between coaches and players. Players are more likely to trust and respect coaches who see them in a positive light and support their growth, leading to a collaborative and supportive team environment. Kyrgios’s positive relationship with Mouratoglou illustrates the impact of such a coaching approach on player-coach relationships.

Psychological Benefits: By creating a positive and supportive environment, a kind eye approach can help reduce players’ anxiety and stress, leading to better mental health and improved performance. Consistent positive reinforcement helps build players’ self-confidence, making them more resilient and better equipped to handle challenges.

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Applying a Kind Eye in Esports Coaching for Schools

Creating a Supportive Environment: In school esports programmes, creating a supportive and inclusive environment is crucial. Many students may face academic, social and life pressures, and a kind eye approach can help them find a positive outlet in esports. Coaches should strive to make practices a safe space where students can express themselves freely and learn from their mistakes without fear of harsh criticism.

Focusing on Strengths: Just as in traditional sports, each player in an esports team has unique strengths. Coaches should identify these strengths and leverage them to enhance team performance. For example, a player might excel in strategic planning, while another might have exceptional reflexes. By focusing on these strengths, coaches can create a well-rounded and effective team.

Utilise the Valor Esports platform to discover your strengths: Home Page

Encouraging Growth Mindset: A kind-eye approach fosters a growth mindset, which is the belief that abilities can be developed through dedication and hard work. By celebrating efforts and progress rather than just outcomes, coaches can help students understand that improvement is a journey. This mindset is particularly valuable in esports, where continuous learning and adaptation are key to success.

Building Confidence: Many students struggle with self-confidence, especially in a competitive environment. Positive reinforcement and constructive feedback can help build their self-esteem. Recognising and celebrating small victories and improvements can encourage students to keep pushing forward, even when faced with setbacks.

Promoting Mental Health: The pressures of competition can take a toll on students’ mental health. A kind-eye approach, which emphasises empathy and understanding, can help mitigate these pressures. Coaches should be attentive to their players’ emotional well-being and provide support when needed, promoting a healthy balance between gaming and other aspects of life.

Fostering Team Cohesion: Strong, positive relationships between team members are crucial for success in esports. A kind-eye approach encourages trust and respect among players, fostering a sense of camaraderie and teamwork. This can lead to better communication, collaboration, and overall team performance.

Conclusion

Adopting a kind eye in esports coaching, especially within school programmes, can lead to more resilient, confident, and motivated players. By focusing on strengths, providing constructive feedback, and fostering a supportive and empathetic environment, coaches can help students not only excel in esports but also develop valuable life skills. As esports continues to grow in popularity, embracing this positive coaching philosophy can make a significant impact on the lives of young players. The insights from Patrick Mouratoglou and Nick Kyrgios serve as powerful reminders of the transformative impact of positive reinforcement and empathetic coaching. By adopting these principles, esports coaches can create an environment where students thrive both in and out of the game.

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