Gank. Another Coaching Platform and Another Jouney

eSports Gig Sites
Reading Time: 3 minutes

If you’ve been following over the years, you’ll know that I have bounced around a few eSports gig platforms looking for coaching gigs. Not with the sole intention of making money. Truthfully I have tested these platforms to help more players improve, test coaching philosophies and also see what it’s like to be a freelance coach. From my time in Facebook groups. To my exploration of Fiverr, and then onto Challengermode. I’ve found that the landscape truly hasn’t changed all that much. There are definitely more players willing to spend money on coaching than there was when I first started. However, the quality of the coaching seems have only improved marginally.

With each platform comes it’s own unique improvements to this medium. Fiverr was legitimately an experiment as it wasn’t designed for eSports coaching. Challengermode is very similar in that aspect. Challengermode was designed as a tournament hub, similar to GameBattles or the more recent CMG. With that draw of players making money on the platform, having coaches on standby would increase buying power and visibility. After all the platform was designed for gaming, whereas Fiverr wasn’t.

My experiences in those platforms has now lead me to “Gank”. The newest gig platform designed solely for the purpose of gaming.

Gank The Platform

eSport Gig Site Gank

I could never truly give the platform justice in my own words. So it would be best if you looked at their kickstart linked here. There you can find all of the information regarding the App and it’s developments. Instead I will list some highlights and what it means for me. Plus some thoughts about the future.

Some of the highlights is the $37,000 backing. Financial support that has rarely been seen for a gig platform related to gaming. The support for more than just coaches and players. There is support for aspiring streamers and shout casters as well. This demonstrates an understanding of the total gaming eco system. Again, something we haven’t seen a lot of, especially with this financial backing.

I believe this is one of the final and most important steps in bringing eSports and gigs together as one. Enabling both the player to monetize outside of just stream viewership. Skilled play companions, coaches, or even hiring people to help you out of lower ranks can change the landscape entirely. It may even convince players to start putting more money into the industry to achieve some of their goals.

My Goals with Gank

As with all of these journeys I hope to make an impact on the players who come in contact with me. I am happy to say that over the years given my previous experiences, I have gained a ton of confidence in my coaching. It wasn’t easy and doing full months of training for very little money was exhausting. However, it was important to set the baseline for my strategies and coaching moving forward. This will be a new experience with new opportunities, and as they arise, I will share them with you.

Best Replay Review Tool For eSports – Insights.gg

Reading Time: 4 minutes

A while back I created a YouTube video demonstrating what I believe to be the best replay review tool for eSports. I wanted to make a blog post to reflect that video, and also add some more input to it’s importance. If you would like to check out the video you can check it out below! You know how important replay review is. We wrote an entire blog about it!

Insights.gg

Insights.gg is an incredible website. The website acts as a video host where you can watch videos live with multiple people, or save them and watch them later. It is relatively new and the team behind it are making updates every single day. Since the start of my coaching career, finding a way to watch replays at the same time has never been easy. I used to record live tournament matches on my phone and then drive to the players house to watch it.

In more modern times, I would have to save a video, edit it, and then upload it to YouTube to review. Not a difficult thing to do, however it is very time consuming. Insights.gg solves all of that. Just before finding Insights.gg I was using sites like watch2gether and mycircle.tv. Unfortunately those sites weren’t built for eSports. Let me show you why this tool is so powerful and why even if you aren’t a coach, you can use it.

Overview

Insights.gg eSports Review Tool
Main Screen

The main screen is built in a familiar fashion to Discord. You have the ability to separate and organize the teams that you are coaching. Label them and create different channels for them. For instance if you wanted to make a channel for each individual player on a team.

You can add a profile picture for your team, add members and even create tags. This is useful not just for the coach of the team, but the members as well. Being able to access the dashboard of their team and review replays themselves, or past replays that have already been edited. Being organized is one part of success in anything you do, and insights.gg gives you the ability to do that in a very simple package.

The Reviewing Tools

Insights.gg eSports Review Tool
Note The Widgets

The thing that really separates insights.gg from any other tool I’ve found or listed, is the fact that you have overlay tools at your disposal. Being able to effortlessly draw shapes, arrows and lines makes reviewing so easy. You can even set the drawing permissions. So if you have more than 1 person watching live, you can have multiple people making notes and lines, or just one. This makes the transfer of information so much easier. Being able to add a visual guide for yourself or your players really makes the information stick.

When you do any form of drawing, it saves the timestamp of when you made the notes, and puts them in the chat window. Allowing you to revisit them easily without having to scrub back through. It’s also possible to leave annotated notes in the chat with Good or Bad labels for your players or team to see if you aren’t doing the replay review live.

Other Great Tools & Conclusion

Insights.gg has some other really great tools. But I would recommend heading to their site to check them out.

Insights.gg is just one great step in eSports learning and development. Custom API’s and tools like this are only going to make the learning process that much easier. Paving the way for coaches and players alike to modernize and polish the improvement process. The best part, is it’s entirely free. It doesn’t matter what game you play. If you have the ability to record it and put it on YouTube, or copy the replay from your twitch, then you can utilize this tool. Visual representation of learning concepts go a really long way for solidifying concepts in the brain. Similar to writing things down that you want to accomplish. Definitely go check it out, you won’t be disappointed.

What Our Newsletter Looks Like

Reading Time: < 1 minute

I want give all of our non subscribers a chance to see what our Newsletters look like. I fully understand why most people don’t like giving out their email. Spam, people trying to sell you stuff, or your information being sold. However, we don’t do that.

We send you one email every Friday that has information that compliments the things we write here on the blog. In that Newsletter you also receive a reference video intended to help expand your thought process. Our main focus is helping players become the best versions of themselves, and eventually make a career out of what we all love.

If you haven’t already, subscribe to our Newsletter! Pop up box in the corner, on the sidebar, or you can go to this link. https://www.freeagencyesports.com/newsletter-opt-in-landing-page/

As always, thank you.

Free Agency eSports Newsletter

Free Agency eSports Newsletter

The Fiverr Experiment (Wrap up + Challengermode)

eSports, Challengermode.com
Reading Time: 3 minutes

During my time on Fiverr, I set out to do things differently. Not only did I want to separate myself from the competing sellers on the site. I also wanted to provide a true level of coaching, even if it was at a sacrifice. I decided to run an experiment, and charge way less than others, while tripling the amount of time I committed.

It’s truly my belief that it takes time to learn something, and to improve. So I am pleased that my 1 month, $50 package was the most purchased. Despite my confidence as a coach, I can never shake the feeling that some amount of impact is missed in short sessions. As mentioned earlier it definitely came with some sacrifice. Due to the scheduling with the students, I could find myself playing 6 hours a day, on top of the many hours of research and note taking to ensure that they got the individual treatment my players deserve. Waking up as early as 6am most days and finishing my final coaching session at 2am. Continue Reading–>

Introducing Schools to Competitive Gaming (Donation Story)

Game Consoles on Table
Reading Time: 4 minutes

I was recently given the opportunity to donate some of my old gaming consoles and lag free TV’s to an underprivileged High School (Can’t Name). Although these will only be used in an after school gaming club, I still think this is an important step in introducing schools to competitive gaming.

A Little History

Gaming Tournament
None of these people are me

I have been running tournaments since 2011 on the East Coast of Florida. It was always a dream of mine to one day open a LAN center, be part of an eSports circuit, and one day find the next huge talent. So I formed an incredible group, and we got to work. We had to focus primarily on fighting games due to the limitations of the venues. No stable internet, power to run computers, etc.

Like most who start out in this industry, we relied on other people’s equipment to get started. However, we were always determined to provide our own, as we felt it made us more professional. We didn’t have much at this time, but we were able to secure four 19″ Insignia brand TV’s that were lag free enough to use for, Smash, Halo, and Call of Duty.

In between the days of Super Smash Bros. Brawl, Mortal Kombat 9, and Halo 4, we took a small hiatus. College, pregnancy and work can do that to a group. To be honest, I probably would have stayed retired if it hadn’t been for Frank hosting my first Smash 4 Tournament. I wrote a story about my time at that event, and the one after that you can find here.

With new determination, we went ahead and purchased three Wii U’s and 5 BenQ monitors. (though one Wii U has vanished.)

Right Time, Right Place

Needless to say we kept that equipment. Though the monitors are spread across the state of Florida with most of my friends using them. The TV’s stayed with me, and the Wii U’s were housed with a group member.

I recently moved across the state, and noticed that I still had the TV’s. So immediately I made the decision that I wanted to donate them, and the Wii U’s. However, every place that I called, had no use for them. Most of the big name (won’t list them here) charities,  didn’t really want them. So I put it to the back of my mind, and moved on to the next thing.

Luckily while browsing Facebook, I read a post by a teacher at a High School here in Florida. This teacher was trying to find donations for his gaming club. Just something to give these kids something to do and keep them off the streets. I couldn’t be any more elated to reach out to him. This was exactly what I was looking for.  A place to donate the equipment, where they could truly get used. We set up the meeting and I planned it for the next Monday.

Driving, Driving and More Driving

With some serendipitous timing, I was actually going to be near this school on Monday. Only problem was I didn’t have all of the equipment. To keep this part of the story short. Let’s just say I had to drive a total of 13 hours to get all of this done by Monday.

But, I arrived.

Man With Tote
Don’t call him Mr. Raines….that’s his father’s name.
Bearded Men
Brothers From…..

 

Introducing Schools to Competitive Gaming

I would like to take this opportunity to expand upon my theories and things we will require to creating a Repeatable Success Formula in eSports. One of those requirements is school involvement. As of writing this right now, there are quite a few colleges that offer Varsity eSports programs. With all of the viewership, and the increased revenue that eSports is gaining, colleges are starting to identify the value.

A huge portion of these teams all started as clubs that hosted various tournaments, and fostered competition on campus. Due to the expansion of these clubs and support from the Universities themselves, birth was given to the NACE (National Association of Collegiate eSports). Right now there currently boast over 90 Universities, and real career shaping through eSports. Read more on there website here.

All of this is exactly what eSports requires to hit the main stream and really acquire long term company endorsement. By being able to see and predict the performance of players coming out of College, teams will be able to acquire talent from a reliable source. Creating a type of farm system, similar to Baseball. It’s my belief that this extra level of confidence from both team owners and league coordinators will directly translate to corporate sponsors.

Eventually, and hopefully trickling it’s way down into High School. As a viable 2 year elective in Junior and Senior year. Both solidifying a repeatable success formula for pre and post college, but also setting the stage for eSports teaching.

For my donation, I get to believe that one of the students who plays will become inspired to compete. Find themselves through competitive gaming, and have it be the turning point to their successful career. Even if it’s just a dream.

I’ll keep dreaming.

 

 

The Treasure Coast Smash Community #2 – Smash Harder

Smash Hard
Reading Time: 8 minutes

The Prelude

Looking back, the month leading up to the second Smash Hard is truly different than what it is now. There was no Facebook messages flying back and forth. No community page to discuss changes to the tournament. There wasn’t even a guarantee we would have another one or even see the same people. Most of us didn’t exchange phone numbers, Wii friend codes, or even names. It was dark, and it was cold. (lol)

That tournament, in that garage was really a special moment in time. It didn’t feel like just another tournament. It had a strange feeling of camaraderie that I am yet to ever experience in a group of strangers. I credit that to the combined energy of Grown Ass Men Play. They brought a level of hospitality to the tournament, that would continue even when hosting away from the house.  Everyone was incredibly present and living in the moment. We weren’t trying to be anything other than ourselves. It’s difficult to express how much that day inspired me and reignited a flame.

I spoke to Frank sometime in the middle of the tournament about helping him run his events. I had personally been running tournaments for Super Smash Bros. Brawl and other titles since 2011, and stopped in 2014 due to various factors that will be elaborated on in it’s own post. I knew that offering my assistance would come with some skepticism. After all, I’m sure I wasn’t the first person to offer. But, I was determined to improve the experience for the players, more so by my drive to compete, than my desire to be a host again. So much so, that I bought two Wii U’s and two monitors.

The Lead Up

Out of all the people I met that day I only exchanged phone numbers with one. I don’t know if it’s the way he introduced me to the microphone, our chemistry or just his overall demeanor. What I do know, is that Allan (GenericRhyme) and I made a true connection. A connection that exists even today, states away from each other.

We met up one time before the second Smash Hard, practiced for a bit, and it was there I told him that I would bring two of my set ups. Everything else was quiet up to that point. I reviewed some match footage in preparation for the hopeful next tournament and that was it. That is, until this happened….

Continue Reading–>

The Treasure Coast Smash Community #1 – GrownAssMenPlay

Pilot Wings
Reading Time: 4 minutes

With Super Smash Bros. Ultimate releasing in December of this year, I decided this a good time to introduce The Treasure Coast Smash Community. I am going to do my best to tell the story of how this little community went from nothing to 100+ weeklies and MVG Smash Conference: United, while sharing my personal experiences as a player.

In the Beginning 

A small group 5 of friends and co-workers (Frank, Allan, Blaine, Tim, Brandon) from Port Saint Lucie, Florida  formed a group aptly named “Grown Ass Men Play”. Their primary focus was to create a YouTube channel to produce ‘Lets Play’ style content with commentary among other things. Their official YouTube channel was created in August of 2013. With the up coming release of Super Smash Bros. for Nintendo 3DS and Wii U they decided to host a tournament.

The First Tournament (Smash Hard) February 2015

I was tagged on Facebook by someone who had attended some of Inconspicuous Gaming’s Super Smash Bros. Brawl tournaments. At this time I had never heard of this group but I figured, “Hey, why not?”. So I asked FeNriR to join me and we followed the GPS for about 40 min. As we turned down a busy but familiar road, the GPS indicated that we were near but I didn’t see any businesses. Next thing I know, we are pulling into a field on the side of the road with 3 other cars. That was the moment I realized, “This is a house tournament”.

We walk up the driveway to see a small car port tent, an open garage and a man holding a piece of paper. I give him my money and he scribbles my name in a non decipherable manner and we wait. At this point, I am not only anxious about competing, but I’m nervous about the turn out and tournament operation. Surprisingly the turn out was incredible. There had to be at least 35 players who showed up. 1 sofa, 2 chairs for the ‘commentators booth’, the garage floor and the driveway tent. Oh and most importantly, one 50 inch lag filled TV on top of a fridge. Bare-bones is an understatement. (It also rained)

Pilot wings
1 Sofa and a Refrigerator

Continue Reading–>

Growing a Local Scene

Board Game
Reading Time: 4 minutes

Growing a local scene is one of the most important things you can do while on your journey into eSports. The amount of benefits are countless, and cover an array of different opportunities. You can be the player who is trying to improve, or the coach learning to analyze. Believe it or not, you don’t even have to be a player to benefit from your local scene. There are many roles that local scenes need to thrive: video editors, social media experts, journalists, event planners, the list goes on! I am going to share my experiences with you and give you some advice on how to help grow your local scene.Continue Reading–>