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Esports Coaches Look Like You

Coaching esports opens up a world of opportunity for students and it's much more of a possibility that you might think.

Jan 11, 2021

Think you can't be an esports coach?

PlayVS coaches come from all backgrounds and experience levels. Helpful librarians, art teachers, janitors, math instructors, parents and others have stepped in to take on the role of esports coach. An interest in supporting students is truly the only consistent requirement. We provide the platform, the logistical support, and educational content to get you up to speed. Like many new endeavors, it can seem scary. However, once you make the leap into coaching esports, you'll be so glad you did.

Below are some of the coaches on our platform who came to esports from all different sorts of backgrounds:

Coach: Nancy Miller
High School: Benedictine Military School, GA
Role: Graphic Design & Technology Teacher
Coach Miller had no idea what to expect or what she was getting herself into when three of her students approached her to start an esports team. She had zero gaming background and had never coached a team before. She just knew her students were passionate and she wanted to support them. She turned to the PlayVS community of coaches for guidance and was mentored by Super Coach Ashley Hodge.

Coach: Michael Gohring
High School: Deuel High School, SD
Role: Technology Coordinator/ Computer Teacher
Coach Gohring didn’t consider himself a gamer, but he did coach other sports over the years. He didn’t know what to expect signing up to be the school’s esports coach, but thought he had an idea of what it would be like. However, he quickly came to understand a major distinction between esports and his previous coaching experience: he was no longer the expert. As his school’s coach, he learned to best support his players as more of a manager and facilitator while letting his students lead in-game strategy and tactical decision making.

Coach: Caitlin Hancock
High School: Raleigh High School, MS
Role: Library Media Specialist
Coach Hancock believes that all students need opportunities to participate in extracurriculars they enjoy.  She saw that providing her students with an outlet that interests them leads to improved attendance, grades, and overall involvement within the school.

Coach: Michelle Fraser
High School: Mohonasen High School, NY
Role: Speech-Language Pathologist and Assistive Tech Coordinator
Coach Fraser did not have a ton of gaming experience, but she does have a hockey background. She understands the role of traditional sports and runs her esports team no differently. She sets clear expectations for her team and keeps her players accountable. 

Coach: Kyle Magoffin
High School: Ralph C. Mahar, MA
Role: Physical Education/Health Teacher
Coach Magoffin wasn’t into video games before he started the club on campus. As the physical education teacher, and football coach, he was able to recognize the same teamwork skills between his esports players and anyone on a football team. While esports looks different than other sports, it provides the same structured, coached environment that allows for immense growth while doing something they love.

Read more about the Mahar Disruptors below.

Mahar’s Esports club was started by student Justin St. Pierre, who approached physical education/health teacher Kyle Magoffin. On the first day of school this fall, Magoffin, now the club’s advisor, spoke to St. Pierre about the shooting that took place in Jacksonville, Florida at a Madden Tournament. St. Pierre explained that the shooter had a mental disease and that it was not a reflection of gamers. “I said to him, ‘Why don’t you change that perception,’” Magoffin recalled.

When St. Pierre started the club, he was admittedly skating by in school. He was a D or F student. He’s now giving presentations to the school on the importance of esports and made the honor roll this past semester.

“Kids feel left out, and maybe don’t have a place, this gives them a place,” Magoffin said.“Watching them play, the talent they have in critical thinking is amazing. These guys are using just as much teamwork skills as anyone on the football team. Rather than sitting in their room with the door shut, they have adult supervision and are working together with other students.”

How does this experience make Magoffin feel?

“When I stop and think about it, it really gives me goosebumps.”

We also arm coaches with resources like PlayVS Academy to quickly understand the basics and help you get a program off the ground. Think you're up for it? Sign up today and spread the word.