When I first agreed to be a part of the SHINE x *SCAPE Talent Development Programme: Esports, I had no idea it was an initiative led by the National Youth Council. Learning more about the extent of the programme, I was surprised by the amount of support we received. how much was planned for this group of youths. Not to mention, I’m also grateful that the game chosen is League of Legends (the best game in the world).
The esports scene in Singapore is not very large. Almost everybody in the local esports scene knows each other, so you can imagine how much smaller the League of Legends (LoL) scene is. This has advantages and disadvantages. Current players rotate among well-known local teams or may decide to start their own. As their friends are also high-ranking players, the community is tightly-knit. In solo queue or in local competitions, the same talent pool compete against each other frequently.
The Talent Development Programme presented an opportunity for new blood. The trial was open to players of all ranks. What more, player manager/coach and caster positions were also available. This is significant in the context of the local LoL scene. To be a caster, there was only one avenue – closed auditions under Garena. To be a player manager/coach, former competitive players tend to transition into the role.
As such, I’m glad that another path has opened for LoL esports – one that isn’t affiliated to any team, company or brand. All the mentees were selected based on their potential, passion and attitude. High-ranking Challenger players trained side by side with those in Diamond ranks. Under a structured programme, mentees’ individual strengths and weaknesses are constantly reviewed. Everyone had something to learn from each other.
Leif ‘Esterified’ Phang, did not have any formal coaching before the programme. And neither did I, before becoming coach of Chaos Theory Battle Bunnies. I jumped from analysing and writing about LoL games for 2 years to becoming a coach of an all-female team. While I was confident in preparing for games, figuring out how to be effective was another story. I had to learn hands-on how to plan scrims and handle disagreements between team members. I’m glad that Leif got the headstart that I didn’t have. It felt good seeing him grow over the weeks as his picks and bans and drafts improved. Even during the trials, his enthusiasm and passion stood out among the rest. He took down notes and walked through picks and bans with the players. I’m thankful to play a part in guiding him through his learning journey as a coach mentee.
I hope that the programme will continue through the years because it makes a difference in the local League of Legends scene. Seeing the mentees get to know each other over the weeks of training and attending workshops, how players of different ranks learn from each other in their gameplay, attitude, communication, brings me joy. Everyone wanted the programme to last longer so that they could learn more, train more and practice harder together. I am grateful to have been part of something bigger than myself.