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Mentoring Experiences


Rymdkejsaren
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I'll start a topic here for general discussion about how to go about with mentoring. I've just had my first experience where we played a friendly game with pre-made teams (while talking on Discord, and my 'student' was also streaming). My take-away from that was that next time, I'll probably just join on voice when the student is playing a match and chat about potential tactics from there.

 

I found it really difficult to relate to what decisions my opponent should be making. I wasn't playing competitively, and mostly ended up moving pieces around to try and create interesting situations, but even so, my attention was divided. I also found it difficult to focus on trying to impart wisdom while playing at the same time, though others may not have that problem.

 

I was expecting that I would have problems putting my BB knowledge into words, but it was worse than I thought: a lot of the things I do I don't have an explanation for, at least not ready to go. Having knowledge and imparting it are two different things. Being able to pass information on is a skill of its own, and one I'd like to get better at.

 

I guess one could prepare specific training scenarios based on what the coach wants/needs to learn, but I'm not too keen on spending way too much time in prep. I prefer something more organic, so I'll try commenting on an active match next and see how that works.

 

Anyway, let's have an open discussion about various methods and ideas.

 

 

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I didn't catch the mentoring experience live, I'm very interested to see it though, so I'm hoping it'll be available as a VOD.

 

And I can already imagine that I'd have the same difficulty playing as the opponent and teaching at the same time. If you were to backseat teach, what would be an ideal scenario in your opinion? What sort of opponent would you ideally want? CCL? A differently friendly OCC coach who volunteers?

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I haven't really trained people per se, but I have plenty of experience in playing while being in a voice chat with my opponent and plenty of observers. While we have general "no advice" rule, it doesn't  forbid people from asking why people did things they did. Explaining one's logic can be incredibly hard even if one's instincts can be even translated into logic at all; it once took me several hours to form a coherent explanation for certain pass play of mine.

 

About backseat coaching. I have some limited experience of that from watching a certain friend of mine play and not being able to keep myself quiet. Pretty much any game works well enough if you have some wisdom to impart, even if you have never played that team yourself. The real problem is turn timers, 2 minutes (read: CCL) works sometimes but 3 or 4 really gives time the time to do something else than dictate the coachee what to do.

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16 hours ago, Borke said:

I didn't catch the mentoring experience live, I'm very interested to see it though, so I'm hoping it'll be available as a VOD.

 

I feel like I didn't impart much wisdom and I think I could have prepared better. I had thought a bit about what to say and do but as it was all just mental notes, it kind of fell through as we started playing and I just went with the flow and talked a lot of nonsense.

 

16 hours ago, Borke said:

If you were to backseat teach, what would be an ideal scenario in your opinion?

 

15 hours ago, Bouffon said:

The real problem is turn timers

 

I mean, 4-min turns would be optimal so there's a bit of time to stop and chat about a move. 2 minutes is very little to do that in. So optimally, having someone else volunteer as an opponent might be a good idea; someone who's playing to win and isn't part of the conversation (as a 3-way would be damn confusing, I think).

 

It wouldn't be impossible to do it in CCL, perhaps, but it would be different. You can discuss what could have been done better or the plan for the next turn during the opponent's turn. But I think it would require a bit of practice as a mentor to know when to speak and what to say that will actually help. I think it should still be clear that it's a teaching experience, not "I'm helping you win". Coupled with a post-match chat, I think it could be useful. It's also the easiest to arrange. You only need Discord and BB2 spectate function to make it work.

 

16 hours ago, Bouffon said:

the time to do something else than dictate the coachee what to do.

 

Yes, I often felt like I needed to stop myself from just handing out step-by-step instructions. I tried having him go through his thinking, after I would give some thoughts, but the time pressure often turned it into "I would move there, btw you have 20 seconds to decide". For 2-minute turns, any back-and-forth planning would be impossible. It would have to be feedback and planning during opponent's turn.

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Thank you @Rymdkejsaren for doing this and sharing. Would it have been better if the student had a recorded match that you two were going over via screenshare?

 

In league of legends I did VOD reviews for specific champions (akin to races here) and I usually speeded through their VOD once on my own and then a second time with the student at the designated date. Might this be a better starting point? Since you will probably find enough things to talk about, things the student mentioned and other issues.

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I would add that the mentee could send the match replay file directly so you could have a look at it alone first and get some first ideas of what you want to talk about or point out. Then later watch the game via discord stream together and discuss the game. That way it's also possible to pause at certain situations and talk about them in depth.
 

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  • 5 months later...

@Manslapper and I just had our very first mentoring session, which I feel went very well. We used Discord for voice chat, and also later for screen sharing, in order to check out Underworld team builds, as well as one of Manslapper's replays with a previous Underworld team. I can recommend the method (screensharing and replays), it seemed to work very well.

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It did go very well. The lessons Borke provided were extremely informative, even more than I had assumed they would be. Screen sharing on Discord proved to be a perfect medium for lessons. We had a slight bit of difficulty setting a proper time to get together, but that was entirely my fault due to unusual sleep-related circumstances.

I'm really looking forward to our next session, as well as putting what I've already learned to use in my division.

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  • 2 weeks later...

I did my first session this season, it was a practice match and I feel it went quite well, better than my first attempt in that I knew better what to focus on. I think the biggest takeaway is that I need to be clearer in how I communicate my suggested moves. It's a bit difficult as we're looking at the pitch from opposite directions and I can't visually indicate anything on their screen.

 

The difference this time was that I took a bit more control over what my trainee did, as opposed to letting them go through their ideas first. In my first session, I started with going "what would you do here?", but that just ended up taking up too much time. So now I went, "here are a few options I see, and here's how I would pursue them". My trainee expressed that he learned a lot during the session, so I think I'm heading in the right direction.

 

I'm also prepping to do some replay analysis, which I have big hopes for as it lets me prepare a bit what to talk about, and I think that will be very valuable.

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I've played one friendly with @Nateguy75 and given some commentary on other games after watching replays.

 

We didn't use voice chat during the friendly because I just happened to accidentally kill my only good passable microphone that morning. Still, game's own text chat worked well enough with 4 minutes as we did our turns fast enough and I didn't try to give any exact moves for Nateguy to do at any point. Instead I used time from my own turns to comment on what mistakes they made and on start of their turns I asked what their general plan is. Worked well enough, I think, but this was after I reviewed 3 or 4 Nateguy's game and gave feedback on them. That way there was a frame of reference for my comments during the friendly. 

 

So the routine was:

  1. Replay analysis
  2. Feedback based on that
  3. Friendly match where trainee can apply said feedback

and I am going to reiterate that to perfection. I am not really good at thinking during a match, and this method allows me to do the teaching before the match.

 

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Actually the replay viewer has a planner mode. There you can delete the actions for a turn and make new ones. 

If you delete every action in a turn you can freely move the pieces around to show different setups. 

It also does the most common skillchecks for you and you always pass them lol!

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