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Interview with Kane on season results

07 Aug 2018 302
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An extensive interview with our CS:GO coach

The lull in the summer season means it's time to recharge our batteries before upcoming fall championships and the long-awaited major. We caught up with our CS:GO coach ua Mykhailo "Kane" Blagin to discuss the difficulties of the coach role and issues on Dust2 the team has been having recently.

— How would you evaluate your performance last season?

— We found it difficult in the beginning, but it ended fantastically. It would probably make more sense to talk about a whole year's work. It's always hard to get started, and our lineup started off raw in terms of both how we played and how confident the players were. Unfortunately, ru Denis "seized" Kostin was affected by it. It's important to understand, however, that the atmosphere in the team wasn't healthy. There was some bitterness from the losses which the team went through even before I joined it.

The main goal of any ua NAVI lineup is to become the best in the world. At first, it seemed to be unattainable. Although I immediately realized that the players have immense potential, learning how to work with them was quite a challenge. I now see that winning world championships is much easier than reaching the top of the global ranking. We are so close to it that we can't believe it ourselves. And we have no regrets. Ending the season in the second place means the next one will be even more interesting. Overall, it could be better, but only a little bit. I'd rate it an A-.

— What tournaments did you like most? Why?

— Each tournament was important in its own way, but I'd say both StarLadder events. The first one had us lose in the finals and the second one was the beginning of our win streak this year. The first StarLadder helped us gain confidence and fully realize that we are capable of putting up competition against any team. The second one proved that we are ready for our first big victories. Without going too much into details, I'd say it's related to how psychologically mature the team was.

— Was there a game where you think your mistake influenced the outcome? What was it?

— We didn't lose so much... There were a ton of them, but we did a great deal of work. I made a mistake in the grand final of the Marseille event – It wasn't strategic in nature but was rather concerned with communication between me and Zeus. We grew a little apart at that point and had a conflict during the match that could be avoided. I also made a mistake by picking Inferno against us Team Liquid in Dallas. And with the preparation and motivation of the team before our last tournament, in Atlanta... Those were quite costly mistakes.

— And in what game did your decisions have the greatest impact? What was it?

— As far as in-game calls go, I'd pick a game versus dk Astralis in Cologne. We took three tactical pauses on Inferno which led to eventual success. I don't want to disclose much of the details because that's not something you want to tell everybody about.

— How would you describe the coach role in Counter-Strike? Besides studying rivals and being a bit of a psychologist, what are other responsibilities? How do you see an ideal coach in CS?

— I don't have an ideal image and perhaps that's why I'm making good progress. I only know that the tasks have to be specific and a coach has to be held accountable for them. It doesn't matter how he achieves these goals. However, a deep knowledge of the game and an understanding of player psychology would be a big plus. He is the closest person to players. He should aim to help them improve and make sure they are moving in the right direction. But anyway, he is judged by how the team performs.

— What do you do to become a better coach? Perhaps, you look at some great coaches from traditional kinds of sport as an example?

— I'm now focused on reading literature in this field. The only thing I can say is that to become a better coach you'll have to develop your personality and first become a better person.

I like football, it has a lot in common with Counter-Strike, so let's take an example of Carlo Ancelotti. He has a great style. In the long run, only those who work hard achieve something. Sometimes it doesn't work right away. The coach may even leave the team when there are no results, but I'm sure that his work will always be rewarded in some way.

— It often happens that the team can't win even if it has the assistance of an experienced coach... In what situation can the coach-player interaction be most productive? What do you need for this cooperation to be successful?

—To unlock his full potential, the coach has to find common ground with players. The ways he does that may vary because we are all different. It can be a friendly relationship but sometimes you have to take on a more authoritative approach. I worked out a strategy for myself and I think it can work, but there are some issues with how to implement it.

— Do you have a coach in traditional sports whom you see as a perfect example? Why?

— There are too many great coaches to choose one. I'd love to read Zidane's biography. He was my favorite player growing up. Winning three straight Champions League finals seems like something unreal.

— In your opinion, what makes the team dk Astralis almost invincible in the current realities of Counter-Strike? How do you rate the work of dk Zonic?

dk Astralis, above all, is distinguished by good discipline, and in terms of work, they are certainly in the forefront. I would highlight these qualities. And one more thing - humility. dk Zonic ... It's hard for me to judge a person when I do not know him personally. In my opinion, he found his team, they have good synergy. I think he is coping with his work, it makes no sense to try to change something while everything goes well. CS is rapidly developing, there is no time to get used to people.

— Recently, in your VK group, you wrote: "For the second day I wake up with thoughts ... How could we lose to them? How?!" As a coach, what would you like to change when preparing for this game and during the match itself?

— Just go back and together, with the players, understand, how close we are, that we have the final test. A break for the title, not for the rest. My thoughts would change, as well. Fatigue was enormous, but the price was high. We exhaled prematurely.

— Talking about the game with us Liquid, I can’t help but ask: why do they play so badly against dk Astralis? Map-wise, the score is 14:2 in favor of the Danes, while both times the Americans won the Mirage.

— One team plays better than the other, numbers reflect that. The strengths of us Team Liquid do not work against the Danes.

— Due to what did ua Natus Vincere manage to finally reach the victorious path, having won three championship titles in a row?

— It could have happened earlier. When something is inevitable, it inevitably happens: we were worthy of this result, and it happened. The main success of these tournaments was that we were ready to lose a map, but were not afraid to lose the game. We allowed ourselves to make mistakes. In both games with us Liquid, we lost the first Dust2, got out of balance, became too biased towards ourselves, did not play the way we can.

— Just over half a year ago, ua Zeus said that you are focused on long-term results and methodically working on various aspects of the team game. Tell me, what problems at that time were in the team?

— There are always problems, and there is always work on their solution. We are people, and it's hard for people to live without problems. I do not think it's worth showing them off.

— Some analysts believe that the defeat at ELEAGUE was necessary for the team to keep in the tone and tune in to the right way before the main tournament of the fall. Do you agree with this opinion?

— So, it really was necessary, it seems. If we won, we would not have to (smiles). At the moment it's difficult for me to judge how it will help us in the future. Fact: we were jaded with work, and after the defeat in the match with us Liquid hit us hard ... But this is a fleeting effect. For example, this was in Cologne after the game with fr G2. Defeats are always useful, but I would prefer to lose in Sweden, and not in America.

— After Dust2 returned to the active map pool ua NAVI lost all their matches on this map. What is the reason for such results? What does not work for the team here?

— The first thing I want to say: I think Dust2 is a map that does not fully fit the current competitive CS. We want to play a more complex game, be able to beat opponents by tactics and strategy. On Dust2, we do not have enough wins. We lost 16:14 three times, lost 16:13, but all these matches could have been wins. Some of them should have been wins.

We will continue to practice on it, I am confident that victories will come, but so far our problem is that we simply do not like this map, and it answers us with reciprocity. If we change that attitude - we can start winning.

— What is the uniqueness of ua s1mple? How does he manage to perform at such a high level from time to time?

— Sasha is like Cristiano Ronaldo in football. What is the uniqueness of Ronaldo? 90% of work on themselves and 10% of talent. I'm not saying that Sasha has little talent, he is a very smart player, and I want to highlight this. However, in order to realize his ideas, he must always be in the optimal form.

— Sasha often said in many interviews that he learned a lot from you, and the rest of the guys never diminish your contribution to the overall success. Can you expand on the details that you are trying to convey to the team as a whole?

— There are no precise examples, I can say that I always try to find something in which we can become better. Even the smallest trifle can come in handy.

— Is your approach to each player significantly different? Tell us about the key points of individual work.

—I care about any player from my team, and this applies not only to the game but also to what happens in their life. We are part of a large family: we spend time together more than even with our relatives. That's why any factor is important. A person can reveal himself completely only when he is in a favorable atmosphere for him. We do not need to deceive each other. Not only do I try to help, but also any other member of the team does so. I hope the players know: I always try to listen to them.

— When evaluating performances in tournaments, identifying weaknesses, are you guided only by personal observations?

— Yes, I do not read third-party feedback and always rely on myself more than anyone else. If you are interested in additional software, then there is a software to quickly watch demos. I did not use it, but I'm going to try it out after the holidays!

The participants

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