Super Coaches represent the best of the PlayVS community. These are the people most dedicated to their students, schools, and programs, and we’re thrilled to have them competing on our platform. Our success is fundamentally tied to their passion and we want to shine a light on these hardworking folks. Today, we turn to the pride of Clear Lake, South Dakota, Deuel High School’s esports coach, Mike Gohring.
Before you started coaching, how would you describe your familiarity with gaming/esports?
I didn’t consider myself a gamer, but I would play occasionally. Currently, I’m playing Fornite with a few of my college friends a few times a week. It’s great because normally I hardly ever see or talk to them. Now, we are chatting a few times a week and having a lot of fun in the process.
What were your thoughts on coaching esports before you actually got the chance to do it?
I didn’t know what to expect. Having coached other sports over the years, I thought I had an idea of what it would be like. I was wrong. The biggest challenge I had to overcome was that I was no longer the expert. In all other team sports and activities, as a coach, I felt like an expert. But it’s not the case in esports.. It took me a while to figure out, but as a coach, I’m more of a manager and facilitator.
When did you realize that you were involved in something special?
When I saw students during practice, vocally, self-evaluating themselves to the rest of the team and giving other students feedback on their performance, I knew that this was something special. That’s not something you normally see these kids do.
What does a practice look like for your program?
I meet with all the students at the beginning of practice and I try to instill in them a growth mindset. I’m always asking the team questions such as: what could we do better, how can we improve today, etc. From these types of questions, we come up with activities that we can do to try and reach those goals. I feel this really empowers students to critically think, not only about themselves but, about how the whole team can improve.
What was the biggest win for the team outside of a game day?
There were quite a few “wins” that I noticed. Similar to other activities, students improve their character development. Over time I’ve seen students develop better discipline, more self-esteem, patience, and sportsmanship. Students learn how to collaborate better and how to effectively communicate with other members of their team.
What has been an unexpected result from coaching the esports team?
I have a few students come out of their shell, be a vocal leader on their team. This is the first time some students have had a real positive connection with school and being part of a team.
We're thrilled to have a Coach Gohring and Deuel High School competing with us. Keep an eye out for them making noise in the Fall 2020 postseason. Good luck, coach!