Developing High School Esports and Resources to Support New Coaches
Middle & High School Track
10/09/20, 12:30PM - 1:00PM PT
About the Presentation
It was determined that veteran coaches were typically experienced teachers who volunteered their time to run after-school club or sports teams which were founded based on student interest. They have 1-3 years of esports coaching experience, and spend the vast majority of their time managing rosters and supervising gameplay. Some also provide active coaching or play alongside students. These coaches rated using Discord, developing good sportsmanship, managing grade checks, tryouts, and paperwork, utilizing IT support resources, and streaming as fairly easy. Fundraising, sponsorship and resource development, budgeting, community outreach to parents and staff, and utilizing volunteers were rated as very difficult. Beyond this, they also indicated that they were having difficulty building warmup, cooldown, health, and wellness routines into practice, getting students to use analytics and statistics effectively, and developing purposeful practice mentalities in students. All too often, club time was simply playing games and tournament matches.
Prospective coaches were also typically veteran teachers with more esports game knowledge than I expected. They are more likely than in prior years to be starting esports teams based on top-down initiatives by athletic coordinators than ground-up student-interest. They had already started considering issues like recruiting inclusively, shaping team culture, producing streams and VoD’s, and developing robust practice routines that incorporate elements of deliberate practice, health, and wellness, and simply need convenient resources and tutorials that work with their busy schedules.
The research helped shape the development of the website, Esports Training for New Coaches, which is intended to be a time-efficient, self-directed one-stop-shop for new coaches (and may also have some helpful info and resources for veteran coaches). Since this work was all completed pre-COVID, additional challenges from distance learning environments such as addressing resource inequities in play-from-home scenarios, recruiting remotely, and maintaining high student engagement have not yet been addressed, although many of these issues were discussed in the NASEF Scholastic Fellows’ Zoom conferences.