Some of you already know him, but for many this is a new face. We spoke with Cas yesterday about him, his new role with nR, and what he’s been up to since we last saw him. Welcome back to the fam, Cas!
Congrats on your new role. What’s your background coming into nerdRage?
Thanks. I played for nR back in 2016/17. We got picked up as a fresh UK team and I played for them for a year. Since then I’ve explored the world of work but I’m happy to be back. I always had a competitive background, competing in Halo already as an 8-year-old. I have two older brothers, and when I got my own Xbox they asked me to become their 5th player. When I finally got my first PC, Halo wasn’t around anymore and so I naturally started to play CS which at the time became CSGO. After playing matchmaking for a while, I realized people were making money from playing professionally so I decided to give that a go. The main reason I stopped playing CS was to focus on my career. I have a background in engineering and just wanted to develop my own personal career skills. Now that I’m more comfortable I’m happy to be back.
I moved to Germany 2 years ago, first to Wolfsburg then Bonn and now Berlin. Berlin is great, it’s the Silicon Valley of Europe! It can also get pretty wild, and I’m looking forward to the scene opening up again after corona 😉
Can you tell us a bit about what you do for nR
I’m a right-hand man to the coach. Everyone has a unique set of abilities, personal strengths, and weaknesses and my role is to study what’s going on in-game and figure out how to help players develop game sense and mental strength. I have a lot of experience in mental coaching and especially young players often lack mental strength. Finding themselves not sleeping well or doing other things that in normal jobs would be considered not so smart, but in the world of esports is considered normal.
Why is mental strength important in esports?
You perform in-game when you’re also at your best out of the game. Emotional stress in life will affect in-game performance. By focusing on your well-being, you can increase your own but also subsequently the whole team’s performance. If you look at Astralis 2019 run, for example, Zonic used to say the same thing over and over again in interviews; “mentality warfare is a key thing for us”.
They weren’t just winning but they were also performing mentally better than every other team. This is a focus in every other sport, and it is just starting to be a focus in esports now.
Which players and teams are leading the way when it comes to mental coaching and physical well-being?
Korea and Asia definitely have more focus on this. Not just with mental coaches but structure in general. This can of course be negative, but they often have very strict schedules. We in the west are seemingly far behind. You shouldn’t play for 15 hours straight. Life outside of the game is important; relationships with girlfriends, boyfriends, and parents.
Liquid is also more on top of this than other teams. NAF recently did an interview talking about how coaches adapt to players’ personal needs. One size doesn’t fit all, even when it comes to things like warm-up and practice.
What does success mean for you and nR teams going into the rest of this year?
We’re working on convincing players to think more long term. What tends to happen is more focus on short term success. Success for me isn’t just about the wins now, but long-term growth. Going into the rest of the year we really need to knuckle down on the next 6 months, and not just about instant wins. It’s about convincing players that wins don’t mean anything if it’s only short term. Having a winning mentality and realizing that when you lose, you actually gain the knowledge to win.