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In-depth interview: How it is to be a coach in Norway

In-depth interview: How it is to be a coach in Norway

How does the best team in Norway keep in shape?

Torbjørn "Stareye" Berg

Torbjørn “Stareye” Berg

Torbjörn | Stareye: Telenorligaen starts in a couple of weeks, so we are doing a lot of preparation for that. Our normal training schedule is 5-6 practices per week, about 3 hours of practice per training session, that usually equals to 3 games.

What we do when we practice is to play scrims (closed friendlies against another team).

At the moment we are part of a few Skype groups where you can find scrimming partners. The quality there is actually really good sometimes, I would say right under professional. We are open to scrim with anyone and we are looking to find 3-4 partners that we can scrim with on a regular basis.

 

In our spare time, myself and B-V watch a lot of replays and create videos for our team to watch. We analyze and try to figure out new strategies, ways to implement new plays and go through situations that come up in our own practice games that help the players learn and improve. We kick this up a notch whenever we have big games lined up.

 

B-V | iHansen: For some insight on what we do during practices, whenever we scrim, we always spectate and discuss the games together. We don’t communicate with the players during the actual games since it’s impossible for us to do live coaching with the ingame delay, so we use 2 different communication programs so we can listen to our players and discuss just between us while they are playing, without bothering the players. It’s not easy to know exactly what was said at which point during the game with the 3 minute delay you get from spectating in LoL, so you gotta learn how to visualize what they are doing just from hearing them speak. It’s hard, but we are experienced at it so it’s not an issue for us.

Before the first game of the day begins, we go through the plan for the day with the players and after games we talk about the game we just played and plan ahead for the next one.

 

How do you go about explaining to the guys what they are doing good or bad?

BV "iHansen" Hansen

BV “iHansen” Hansen

B-V | iHansen: That is a tough one to answer. We usually have a gameplan and a specific focus on what to practice, if its things to work on gameplay wise and/or improvements for communication. When the team follows the practice plan, they do good, when they don’t they do bad. In LoL it can be very easy and at the same time hard to see and spot when and what a player is doing wrong. Some mistakes are easy to see, if someone screws up and dies solo it’s easy to catch and point out. On the other hand, in most cases a bad play is the result of something not done optimally beforehand, which means you have to look at the action that led up to the mistake instead of the consequence of said action.

 

Torbjörn | Stareye: Our style is to be constructive and never flame the players. Coaching can be very similar to teaching.

So far we haven’t had any big disagreements with our new team yet, from my experience though, when you have a disagreement you often come to a conclusion quickly. Myself and B-V are preparing and putting much time into planning ahead.

 

One of our many tasks as coaches is to prepare the players to play the tournament games, once the start button hits we are powerless. It’s important to trust the players to 100%, that’s just how it works. If we can’t trust someone on the team we have a problem, that person should not be there. Same things as in football or any other sport, they are playing and we are on the sideline.

 

Let’s talk about the Nordic scene, we produce tons of talent (Norskeren, Bjergsen, Rekkles) but where are the teams? What’s your take on the Nordic scene in general.

 

Torbjörn | Stareye: Well, Denmark has the most “Great” players for sure. Denmark has been the most successful Nordic country for some time, many players in the LCS. If I were to rank the Nordic countries it would be Denmark>Sweden>Norway, us sadly being a lot further down.

There is a great content creator called Duncan Shield, he has created a video on why the Counter-Strike scene in Norway died and I think that it can be applied to League Of Legends too. He said it was probably not viable to become a pro player in Norway cause the salary was not good enough seeing how everything is so expensive in Norway. That is very true, the salary is the same for a Swedish player, Hungarian player and a Norwegian one, and the cost of living here is at least twice that of Sweden. Lets see what the future holds, but not once in the four seasons of SKAM have they mentioned Esports or gaming. Also, (jokingly) I have tried picking up girls saying I am a two time national champion in LoL without the slightest success.

 

B-V | iHansen: Norway have its fair share of good players, many of them sadly have/had really bad attitudes regarding how they should improve. I do believe there are some players that I feel should of gotten a chance to play in a great team but just has not gotten the opportunity. Maybe they did get opportunities but just didn’t take good enough care of it, I am not sure. On the other hand, we have players like Nukeduck and Norskeren that seems do well and I hope they keep doing so.

 

What are your dreams boys?

B-V | iHansen: LCS. My dream is to live in the US and coach in NA LCS, they have the stronger economy for esports compared to EU, more publicity and the player’s skill is improving rapidly. I am also half american so it would be nice for that reason too. But getting to NA LCS is no easy task, you need to prove yourself and that is hard if you are not known. Teams don’t do tryouts for coaches like they do for players, instead you need to get known from having good results in your backpack or from doing content and also at the same time have a proper network so you get headhunted. Working with Torbjørn and Riddle is awesome and I love every second, but if LCS came knocking I would be outa here in no time *Ha Ha*.

Torbjörn | Stareye: Yeah same here, without a doubt LCS. I want to become a professional esport coach and be able to live of my salary from coaching.

 

We all know that players retire young, how about coaches, will we see the old but gold behind the players in the future?

B-V | iHansen: Definitely! In Korea they already have retired pros from Starcraft as coaches and they are the best in the world. Many of the coaches in Korea have played themselves at a super high level and know the practice routines and what it takes to make it. I am closing in on four years as a coach, 1.5 year in football and now 2.5 years in League of Legends, but I know I probably need another ten years of experience before I can even start talking about having anything close of the same level of experience as they do.

Torbjörn | Stareye: It’s like teaching, you absolutely need a couple of years of experience.

Being a coach may seem like a safer career in Esports then being a player cause once you make it and are in as a coach you can stay there forever, as long as you don’t f*ck up. Players however, their careers are over when they stop hitting the buttons right. Coaching is a rollercoaster for sure, many people don’t see what a coach does. The players on your team are the only ones that actually somewhat knows how much effort that goes into coaching.

B-V | iHansen You don’t see coaches having the same kind of attention on social media either, take a look at the coach for TSM Parth, he has 26K followers on Twitter while TSMs star player Bjergsen has over 1.5 million, they are both on the same team with important roles but the difference is huge.

Torbjørn "Stareye" Berg

Torbjørn “Stareye” Berg

Torbjörn: Of course they do, they are the ones getting famous if the results come in *Ha Ha*.

 

What should Norwegian LoL players be doing to improve and find themselves on a team like Riddle, can you give us 3 tips each?

Torbjörn | Stareye: Ok, no problem. My first tip is that you should be playing a lot of SoloQ. If you start climbing the ranks, people will notice you. Being too low ranked, I am sorry, most people won’t even look at an application from you. To join a team like Riddle or similar you will probably have to be Diamond 1 +. So make sure to play loads of SoloQ.

The second advice would be to play multiple champions at the same level. Don’t be a one trick pony, you won’t get anywhere. If you can play 4+ champions (same role of course) you will be fine. Those who only got 2 or 3 champions in their pool will find themselves banned out. Finally, and this is probably so cliche. DON’T be an asshole, nobody cares how good you are if you are constantly yelling at people and saying they suck. Just be a nice human being, remember, if you join a team you will probably be practicing 20 hours per week, no way people wanna be miserable with a douche yelling at them.


You won’t find yourself getting called too many tryouts if you have a bad reputation. Sure, if you have a “bad” rep for saying stupid things on Twitter or Twitch, people can sometimes see past that, but if I talk to a player’s old teammates and they say you are a douche, I will be very carefull when taking you into account.

 

B-V | iHansen: Seems Torbjörn covered everything leading up to the Tryouts, so I can give you some advice on what to do when trying out for a team and what’s expected.

 

Be open minded to whatever the coaches or potential new teammates are saying. If people are criticizing you, or asking you to play a different kind of game, really listen to them and see if what they are saying is true or not. If you can take that info and use it for the better you will find yourself improving and having a better chance of joining the team. If you can’t however, you are probably not right for that team.

 

Have a good attitude. People like people who are passionate about what they are doing. Respect your teammates AND your opponents.

 

Get ready to participate and play a lot of games. During tryouts you will be playing so much its crazy. As coaches we need to know who you are and that takes time.

A great trait a player can have is the time and will to play and practice. One player on our team is on vacation in the US at the moment but still shows up for our scrims, that’s dedication and proves that he really wants to be a part of the team.

 

Torbjörn | Stareye: In the end, personal skill is very important, you have to be great at this game, but always try and be a teamplayer first and foremost. Make your team look good and you will have everyone’s respect. If you are a great player with a great attitude, moving from SoloQ to competitive is going to be an easy fix.

 

OK, you have just described me! I am good to go and want to find a team, now what?

Torbjörn | Stareye: Head on over to Gamer.no where there is a players market for teams looking for players. I know a lot of teams in the first division that go there to search for players and even coaches. If you want to join a team, just go for it man. Send them an Email.

That’s how I did it, I emailed every single team in the 1st division.

B-V | iHansen: The player market is a very underrated tool to be honest. Start your posting; “Hi this is me and this is my MMR. I am from this country and can play this amount of time etc…” I check the player market everyday even though we have a full team, I wanna see who is coming up and who are looking interesting.

I have a few people involved in the lower divisions that I talk to, they let me know if there is someone special lurking around with the potential to break into the first division. Another thing is to get recognized from your earlier experience. As a SoloQ player you are playing with so many different people throughout your games, start talking with them and add them to you friends list if they are good and likeminded.

Torbjörn | Stareye: This season we went with open tryouts. We had an application anyone could fill in for a chance to play with us. Four out of five of the players in Riddle now come from the open application. So send in those requests to join, even if it’s for a team in the lower division, playing premade 5v5 is a lot different and you learn a lot from that experience.

 

Can every Master/Challenger player join a team?

B-V | iHansen: Yes and no. Unless you are a mute or something, being Master/Challenger will get you into a lot of teams. Any negativity or bad persona you might have, if you fix that, then the doors will be open. But a clear warning, SoloQ and playing 5vs5 is a completely different game and being mechanically sound in SoloQ doesn’t necessary mean you will be a natural god when you join a team at a good enough level.

 

Torbjørn, how can you be a good coach when you are “only” a platinum player yourself?

Torbjörn | Stareye: Well, I watch A LOT of games. I don’t waste my time by watching crappy games but instead focus on watching the professional teams play. I am also good at teaching, and I am pursuing a career as a teacher in Norway, this probably helps. You know, being good at something doesn’t make you a good coach, I think it’s all about how you present information and get peoples attention. It’s important to establish respect, sure, it might be harder to get that first initial respect if you are a low Elo coach, but if what you have to say is smart, it doesn’t matter.

B-V | iHansen: This guys is a two time Norwegian Champion, if you don’t respect him you are an idiot! *Ha Ha*

Torbjörn | Stareye: I have been a coach at four Telenorligaen finals now, and my own ELO has not improved, so like I said, personal skill has nothing to do with being a good coach.

 

When I play SoloQ I always ban Blitzcrank cause he is a pain in the ass. How about you guys, how do the best in Norway handle Picks and Bans?

B-V | iHansen: We sit with the players during the pick and ban phase. Before that we have created charts of how we want to pick and ban and have excel documents to support us. Basically since we prepare so much we can often predict correctly how everything is supposed will go in the draft. We encourage the players to raise their voice and give feedback on how they want the picks and bans to turn out, but in the end we have the final say. Sometimes the players might know something we don’t since they have the experience from playing certain matchups, so placing a big amount of trust on them is important.

Every week we inform the players on what champions to practice, we want to keep a very narrow pool of champions so the players are in top shape with them for the upcoming game.

Torbjörn | Stareye: You want to play certain compositions. Preparation is 95% and the actual picking and banning is about 5%. It’s so awesome to be two coaches on a team, I never feel out-drafted. We bounce idea’s of one another and find comfort in thinking the same thing.

Since LoL is so dependant on the current meta and patch the picks and ban vary from time to time. There are some patches however when 10 champions do literally the same thing, so then the drafting becomes minor. I would say in terms of percentages the gameplay stands for 75% and the draft for 25%. When people complain about having a bad draft they most often play bad too. You can win with a bad draft if you just stick with your gameplay and follow our win conditions, play with what you have.

 

What do you guys think of Teemo?

Satan himself!

Torbjörn | Stareye: Did we just say that at the same time? Cool!

Teemo can be a fun placeholder in draft, usually when we don’t own a champion we pick Teemo and pretend it to be that champion.

You don’t own all the champions?!

Torbjörn | Stareye: *Ha Ha* no. We have one player on the team that does not own all the champions…We will have to buy champions for him before Telenorligaen starts #TrueStory

 

What champion should be removed and never to be seen again?

B-V | iHansen: Hmm, tough questions actually. The champion I hate the most is probably Janna. She is a real b*tch. One time this random guy picked Janna in a ranked match, he had never played support before and definitely not played Janna. I remember this so well, he was like 0-20-0 and that was one of my promo games to Diamond 1. But this is personal, when it comes to Riddle I gotta put that aside, Janna is insanely strong in the current meta, so even though I hate her guts, we need to practice her and consider her for our games.

 

Torbjörn | Stareye: Agree, this is a tough one but I feel confident in saying “To Hell” with Lee Sin. Lee is so useless, he does freaking nothing!

You can grab five kills in the first ten minutes and look great doing it, but after that, you are useless and do nothing. Why play Lee Sin when you can play a tank.

But as B-V says, we gotta do what’s best for the team. Lucky for me Lee Sin is crap at the moment.

 

Who do you consider to be the best player in the game?

Torbjörn | Stareye: Probably Faker. It’s such a boring answer to give but yeah, he has no real competition.

B-V | iHansen: Faker.

 

Talking about the best player in the world, who is the best in Norway, and could you please give us your Norwegian Dream team.

B-V | iHansen: Best player is definitely Nukeduck! He plays for Vitality in the EULCS, without a doubt the best Norwegian Player.

Torbjörn | Stareye: Norskeren that plays for Schalke.

The two argue for a while, before calming down and sticking with their choices.

Regarding the Norwegian Superteam the guys are in total agreement.

 

Jungle: K0U. He has a really bad attitude though, been bouncing around teams. If we are not talking about team synergy, he is without a doubt the best.

Mid: Nukeduck

ADC: BigFatAndBlack even though he is “retired”. #bringbackbigfat

Support: Norskeren

Top: So hard to pick one. We have not had a dominant Norwegian top lane player for years. This is the big question mark. This is biased, but we have to say Crazy Rudolf. This might be too much pressure on the kid hanging him out like this *Ha Ha*. He is in Riddle now though, so he has to expect big pressure.

Where should I go for some articles and videos to improve my game?

Torbjörn | Stareye: Summoner school on reddit is great, check it out here: https://www.reddit.com/r/summonerschool/

I think just like watching LCS on twitch/youtube is very good, LCK, watching any content made by riot is good, they are great at producing content.

Watching LCS on Twitch and Youtube is good, any content made by Riot is usually fantastic.

B-V | iHansen: Check out LS (LastShadow) on YouTube, his channel is an awesome place to learn and understand the game. LS is also the coach for Tempo Storm.

His YouTube channel can be found here: https://www.youtube.com/user/lastshadow9

 

Got any fun stories from your scrims?

B-V | iHansen: We have one that was just last week, not appropriate here though Ha Ha.

We have had our fair share of funny excuses though. People taking their cats to the vet is a good one, last time one of your opponents canceled because of a sick cat. It turned out though when the coach of that team spoke with the player he never went, so lots of bullshit like that. When you scrim against Russians they can cancel the scrim cause they start to fight each other. Once we had a guy cancel our scrim cause he fell down the stairs breaking both his arms, he had no problem chatting however…

These are just things you have to accept, you can’t get pissed about it. When it changes from summertime to wintertime you need to confirm like six times if the scrim is gonna happen or not.

 

Let’s talk about the players on Team Riddle!

Tobjörn | Stareye: We both are very excited to be a part of Riddle, it’s a great team with a fantastic history in the norwegian scene. Riddle is the back to back national champion. This season we will have a brand new team, but you still have that Riddle level of quality attached to it.

B-V | iHansen: The team is definitely different from last year, Id say its more balanced and has more potential. Sure, we don’t have a star player like LLDER this season, but this team is so different, it’s more balanced and I definitely think it has more potential than the previous lineup.

 

Toplane: Crazy Rudolf (Norwegian)

A fantastic SoloQ talent, literally came out of nowhere with no history playing competitively.

He is great in his lane, he just does not lose it. Our work is to integrate him into the team, teaching him how to communicate when playing competitive five man League compared to SoloQ. It’s going to be an easy fix, this guys has insane potential. As part of the Norwegian League of Legends scene Rudolf is a fresh breath of air, we have not had a great Top Laner from Norway in years. We have really high hopes for Rudolf, but just like Laatch it’s up to him. If Rudolf puts in the hours and does the work, we will see amazing results.

 

Jungler: Skude (Danish)

Skude is joining the team from the UK scene, where hes been playing for the past 2 seasons. He is a leader type that can help guide the team, especially in the early game. Definitely got stuff to work on, for example his mindset towards his own play and others, but we are certain he will grow into being our captain ingame. Brosjan talks a lot during the games, but Skude has the potential to be an authoritative captain if he follows the path we have planned for him.

 

Midlaner: Brosjan (Norwegian)

Brosjan is a very funny guy, that’s the first thing that comes to mind when you think about him.  He is a fast learner and has the motivation to keep improving. Whenever we as coaches speak to him and he argues, we know it’s because he wants what is best. He is very similar to Huhi (CLG) and shares his strengths. He is a great team player and helps enable his team mates to be as good as they can. Sure, he can make some improvements on his own individual skill as any other player, but he is a pure born teamplayer, that’s something very unique to the mid role.

 

ADC: Laatch (Swedish)

Young guy with a tremendous amount of talent. He is his own worst enemy, kind of like LLDER of the past Riddle team. If Laatch wants to and has the motivation, he will turn into a great professional player. If he sticks with our coaching and the team’s philosophy, we will be watching him take an incredible journey.

 

Support: Archilles (Norwegian)

Archilles is a jack of all trades and master of few. You won’t see a single thing that he is at least not OK at. With that said he got room to improve on a lot of different areas, but when that happens though…We will see him becoming insane.

Archilles has the responsibility of keeping Laatch in line, it’s kind of a big brother relationship. Archilles is a couple of years older and they’re synergy will only grow further. Archilles and Brosjan was also very important to the last team i coached (Eclipse EK, B-V)

 

How about Telenorligaen, you are back to back champions and the team is looking great for this new season. Let’s talk about the biggest tournament in Norway.

B-V | iHansen: Ah, Telenorligaen. It’s so different from season to season, from team to team. Sometimes players and team take the league very seriously and sometimes they just don’t.

Torbjørn | Stareye: At the moment I think Telenorligaen lacks the feeling of “National Championship” and that’s because many teams don’t take it seriously enough. Riddle takes its seriously and that’s why Riddle are back to back champions.

B-V | iHansen: This year, we expect to win the league, it will be my first Telenorligaen title. *Ha Ha* Not even one round played yet but I already feel we are going to bring it home. This year seems more exciting however, other teams seem to be more serious too. It feels like a rebuilding season, new teams and players coming onboard, it’s going to be very interesting.

 

On the other hand, I would love to see Telenorligaen do more storytelling content, more than just having a “Main match of the week”. There is so much to cover. Individual players and teams storylines during the seasons, comparing the teams and players to each other, who is outperforming the others, who is underperforming, who is the MVP? This is done a lot better outside of Norway. If I wasn’t a coach I would love to do Esport content, so much is happening but sadly no one is covering it.