Professional gaming is becoming increasingly common – the Swiss Esports scene is developing rapidly and will be shaken up this year by the arrival of a new, professionally coached team set up by PostFinance. Since January 2019, the five-strong Esports team – made up of the players Mahdi “Pride” Nasserzadeh, Nikola “Greenfire” Dimovic, Antoine “Vango” Tinguely, Marco “Polo” Buchholz and Dennis “Koala” Berg – has been ready for a project that is pioneering for everyone involved, including the coach Nicholas Korsgård (“Nico the Pico”). In the interview, the Norwegian talks about his role and goals as well as what he expects from his players. To be successful in Esports takes more than just enjoying gaming.
Esports Experiment PostFinance – what the coach hopes to achieve
By supporting the Esports Experiment, PostFinance is pursuing a new approach to sponsoring – the financial institution is helping to provide professional training for a five-strong Esports team for a year. The coach, “Nico the Pico”, reveals the qualities his players must possess and how his team will reach peak performance.
To what extent is the Esports Experiment PostFinance, which you are leading as coach, pioneering for you on a personal level?
I see the Esports Experiment PostFinance as a new way, and a unique opportunity, to show the public how professional Esports players train and what it actually takes to reach the top in Esports at international level. I hope this helps to further increase our understanding of Esports and the acceptance of it as a sport.
What’s your role as the coach of the PostFinance Esports team?
Firstly, my challenge is to get my players to perform at the highest level in the League of Legends game. But there’s much more involved in the Esports Experiment PostFinance than that – we’ll manage the budget provided together, discuss health and nutrition and make sure that we show the public what Esports is all about in the way we conduct ourselves, i.e. – a professional sport to be taken seriously.
What goals are you targeting with your team?
My aim is to ensure every player is optimally prepared for the League of Legends European Championship (LEC). I’d ultimately like to be able to recommend every player to the best teams in Europe to get their career as a professional off to a flying start.
How do you aim to achieve this?
A perfect blend of commitment, motivation and passion.
What do you expect from your team?
First and foremost, professionalism and the desire to perform to the best level possible both individually and as a team. And also the willingness to help one another. If one player has an off day, the others must be able to step in and make up for it.
What do you bring to the table for your team as a coach?
A great deal of experience and extensive gaming knowledge from which every individual player, and also the team as a whole, can benefit. I also hope to set a good example for the players and help them turn their motivation and passion into outstanding performance.
What qualities should a professional player in your team possess? What did you pay particular attention to in your selection?
Above all, Esports players need to be receptive and to accept criticism without taking it personally. As far as the make-up of the team is concerned, I focus on trying to understand the players at a personal level to find out who plays well together and who I can help to improve as a coach.
What traits make you stand out as a coach?
I adopt a reflective approach, I’m understanding, passionate, highly motivated and solution-oriented, while remaining serious-minded and very focused.
The world of gaming is changing rapidly. How do you remain flexible in your job?
Adaptability and flexibility are vital in Esports. To be really successful, I have to keep up to speed with all the latest developments – whether it’s match updates or international matches. That’s extremely time-consuming and energy-sapping.
As previously mentioned, you and your team have a set budget that you have to manage together. What’s your ethos when it comes to money – and what do you expect from your team in this respect?
Anyone who gets into a mess financially at the end of the month due to an unexpected bill will find the situation stressful. That should be avoided. My personal view is that managing your money well is important for life. It makes everything easier. In this sense, I hope to teach my team something not just in gaming, but also for life.
What do you think PostFinance will gain from this experiment?
Firstly, the knowledge that PostFinance has established something worthwhile through the Esports Experiment, as Esports has a real future. And secondly, thanks to the experiment, it will also come into and remain in contact with a young target audience who are growing up with Esports.
If you were to give other people some advice on career planning what would it be?
It’s also important to have and pursue career dreams, but always take good care of yourself. But it’s sometimes worth taking a different path that leads you away from your goals, and enjoy the experience.