Splyce coaching change highlights evolving process

For an organization that’s less than a year old, Splyce’s Counter-Strike: Global Offensive team has endured plenty of changes.

Splyce, fresh off an appearance in the MLG Columbus Major, is already on its third roster. The most recent team –Abraham “abE” Fazli, Arya “arya” Hekmat, David “DAVEY” Stafford, Andrew “Professor_Chaos” Heintz and Jason “jasonR” Ruchelski — was signed by the organization in December as the former team 3s Up.

Their coach, Garett “Grt” Bambrough, came to Splyce with the players in December, but he, too has been replaced. Grt stepped down two weeks after the Major, in which Splyce won only eight rounds in two losses.

Grt tweeted about the transaction, but Splyce owner Marty Strenczewilk mentioned the move when talking about his general coaching philosophy in running his League of Legends and CS:GO teams.

“I think that if you look at the two games we have coaching in, Counter-Strike and League of Legends, right now, League of Legends we have an established coach,” Strenczewilk said recently. “He’s done it for a couple teams. He’d learned and had his bumps along the way, so we had that advantage. He commanded respect when he walked in the room. He went out and learned. He read books about sports psychology and stuff like that because he wanted to understand how to better be a coach and player.

“On the other end you have Counter-Strike, and it’s about strategy of Counter-Strike, and they got this 1.6 player (Grt), right? It was more about this guy had been to the championship, he was a top-level player, so he knows what it was like to be at the very pinnacle of the game. The opposite approach. More of a “What did you do to get there?” type of thing. In the end, the players brought him on, the players decided to amicably part ways with him. They agreed that it wasn’t quite working.”

The debate about coaching in esports isn’t a new one, though different philosophies have recently emerged. Should a coach be more of an analyst? Is it deeper than that? Strenczewilk also shared his opinion about the role of coaches in different esports:

“That’s the evolution you’re talking about,” he said. “What does a coach need to bring in each game? In Counter-Strike, is it just an out-of-game leader? Or is it someone who helps with their personal development and stuff. So that’s been a big part of it. If we have a coach, is it the right coach? Helping them to figure out the best way to work with a team. And figuring out the best way to work with the coach, because not everybody knows how to work with a coach.”

Strenczewilk also talked about learning experiences in a year of running the organization and mentioned CS:GO specifically. (You can read the full interview here):

“It’s been a learning process for us,” Strenczewilk said. “Our Counter-Strike team we only signed a couple months ago. That was our third Counter-Strike team already. So it’s thinking about how do we make this one more successful than the previous two. What have we missed and stuff like that. I’ve learned a lot in that process.”

Cover photo by Robert Paul/Major League Gaming.

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