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The Team Culture of League of Legends teams in LEC 2019

Building a team culture of success

LEC and Cloud9 effect

The rebranded EULCS into the League of Legends European Championship (LEC) 2019. New franchise partnership system has brought many surprises, in terms of roster changes and coaching structures.

North America has already experienced the franchise system since early 2018. Teams were able to import and invest in high-class players and coaches, securing high salaries for the new members.

I was very excited about seeing some Orgs making efforts to build training facilities. As this can help players and coaches to separate their private life from work. This is a positive step forward for the development of the professional scene. 

However, Korea 2018 Worlds wasn’t the year of NA. Interestingly, the only team from NA capable of performing at a high level against Korean and Chinese teams was Cloud9. This third-seeded NA team made all its way through play-ins to the semifinals. 

What was most fascinating to me though, was that the coaches were experimenting with their academy team players, subbing them in and out earlier during the NA regular season. According to the coach and owner, the academy players were performing better than some of the players on the main roster.

This facilitates the development of inexperienced rookies, allowing them to perform on the big stage and further pushes the subbed-out players to work harder and develop humility. This ultimately may have changed team culture, as the academy players came in with hunger, desire to learn and work hard.

Now, LEC teams will experience what it’s like to be a franchise league with all the advantages such as, money, stability and big expectations for development. The big question is, how are the teams going to use this?

What we have seen from roster updates until now 6 November, we can talk about 3 different approaches. First, the ones that decided to keep their structure like Vitality and Splyce. The second approach is bringing in high-class players and coaches like Misfits and G2. The third one, a bit more of a modest selection of players but focusing more on the outside and coaching structure of the team, like Origen. In consequence, I would like to talk about the approach that Origen is proposing.

Origen and their Performance Team RFRSH

This organization has mainly focused on the coaching structure and not only on trying to get the best players. 

Origen has partnered with RFRSH an organization that works with one of the most successful teams of CSGO (Astralis), provides a performance team of experts, such as Physical Coach and Physiotherapist, Psychologist, Doctor, Dietitian and Body SDS Therapist. Most importantly what this organization has provided to Astralis has been culture and identity. This performance team aims to facilitate a positive impact from the outside aspects of the game; nutrition, physical activity, sleep quality, well-being, etc.

But what is team culture? Team culture is one, if not, the most important aspect of a team. To build this the organizations and teams should clarify from the beginning what they stand for. 

But what is team culture? Teams from traditional sports have shown different cultural approaches. Also, research has shown that some approaches are more successful and long-lasting than other ones. Then, team culture is one, if not, the most important aspect of a team. To build this the organizations and teams should clarify from the beginning what they stand for. 

The culture inspired by Barcelona and Pep Guardiola is one of the most successful ones. According to Damian Hughes, Author of “The Barcelona Way”, Barcelona and Pep have a commitment type of culture in which they ask their players to have 3 ways of behaving: 1. Humility. 2. Hard-work 3. Putting the team first. By having these 3 clear fundamental guidelines, in which players are committing to, the team culture will develop and reinforce according to coaches and players behaviours. 

While in esports, during the pre-season some players and teams will decide to spam soloq and start scrims, some others will decide to control team atmosphere variables first by meeting earlier and boot camping to build culture and ease the transition to work with new players and facilitate an environment where players can find synergy and common goals.

Building a high performing culture is not easy but having the right approach is key. Esports environments must get more aware of the immense impact that implementing a healthy approach has on players and coaches. Therefore, it is paramount to guide the personal and professional development of players and coaches.

We can achieve this by guiding players and coaches towards committing to clear values and behaviour. As securing these foundations, I’m confident that we won’t only be building a more professionalised industry but as well a better place for the development of players.

Credit: Riot Games • * Michal Konkol

Ismael Pedraza

Currently working with esports organization Rogue as their performance coach for the LoL team. He also has 8 years of coaching and performance counseling experience with different high-performance traditional sports like football, swimming, athletics, darts, etc. Best ADC in LoL and Clash Royale player of TMC.

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