WePlay Interview with Ami

CS2 / News / 2 July 2020 — 15:30

Interview with NAVI Junior Coach by WePlay

WePlay! took an interview with the ua NAVI Junior coach ua Amiran "Ami" Rekhviashvili, they talked about quarantine, the tournament and the prospects of the junior team.  

— On the pressing issue — quarantine. How did it affect the teams, including yours, what teams have gained, what have they lost?
uaAmiran «Ami» Rekhviashvili
NAVI Junior Coach 

I think quarantine had a greater impact on the main roster because ua NAVI hasn't played in any online leagues for more than six months. But it didn't affect the Junior team much, because we played a lot online. The only thing we've lost is the bootcamps — the big reason why they improved so fast. But just a week ago we finished our bootcamp, gathered all the Ukrainians — we have two Russian guys and everyone else from Ukraine. That's who I've been working with.

— Right now, people frequently say that some teams show some incredible results just because the tournaments are online. Why do such victories depreciate if you compare them to LAN tournaments?
uaAmiran «Ami» Rekhviashvili
NAVI Junior Coach 

LAN has a completely different ecosystem. There's pressure, spectators, you're always with the team and this is a completely different level. And when you're playing Online tournament, you can wake up, brush your teeth, sit in your underwear and play. 

Plus when you're together — you "forge" the team: have breakfast together, walk together, analyze the matches, practice. And again, the hype that you get during the game, the hi-fives, fist bumps — that is all very important. That's exactly the problem with ua NAVI — they are strong when they are together. When they are apart, I can't say that they are just a team, there are still world-class players, but they play much worse. Even now we can see from the results of all qualifiers in the CIS — it is very difficult for them.

In addition, there is this thought, many players have already talked about it, and I basically support this idea too: when you're at home — you are not afraid of anything. Everything there is yours: the computer, the table, you know how to play, you're sure in your Internet, but there's always something new in LAN. A new computer, referees, organizers, fans, all a bit different. Now, of course, is a different time, quarantine and we have — we play only online, but usually it is not very appreciated, it's just something like qualifiers. The real force and power you show only in LAN tournaments.

— Let's talk a little bit about your direct involvement with ua NAVI. In one of your interviews, you said that you were given the task of raising players in the first place, and you must have developed some kind of action plan. After a lengthy journey, share with us your conclusions: which goals for the ua NAVI Junior you as a Coach can check the box with the words "Yes, we have achieved this". It doesn't have to be in-game.
uaAmiran «Ami» Rekhviashvili
NAVI Junior Coach

The main task was to host a summer camp, it was very hard for me. Had to wake up at 7 am for yoga, it was very hard for me. It all ended on August 30th, you know, I got back home and sighed with relief. I also had a decision to make whether to renew a contract with ua NAVI to coach them further or to respond to other offers. I'm very glad, in fact, that our CEO Zhenya Zolotarev just sorted everything out for me and I couldn't even reply with anything and said "No problem!".

Yes, the main goal was to mentor the players. I initially, so to speak, I had a plan, I used to work like this in ua HR, alone, and with the other coaches. I knew where to start, but there was a slightly different format. I'm going to deviate a little bit from the question to make it clear.

I can't say that ua NAVI Junior is the first, but it's probably one of the first teams in the world that was created from scratch. If we look now at the top teams with young players 15, 16, 17 years old — this is the format where we add the young players to the strong ones and the veterans teach them. For example, eu FaZe Clan, zz, se fnatic, and now dk Astralis as well.

Our initial format is where the guys have no knowledge. So there's no one to help them but me. They always improve faster when they have tournaments and those who will be able to give advise something exactly in the game. Coach is great, but the experience of working with players is also very important. Unfortunately, we did not have it. Let's just say, we had to build a format, understand when it's better to practice and the comfort they have in doing it. It's good that we had school breaks, some didn't have to study and we had a lot of time due to that, so it started to work out.

After that, we had to decide who would take what position — it's the hardest thing for everyone to feel comfortable. This is where we started our practice.

Later, you know, I started to notice changes after the practice started. Day after day: someone became better in one particular moment, someone in another. By New Year, I had a picture of how to operate. 

In terms of the game plan, we have a plus, just a huge plus. In disciplinary terms, at first, it was a huge plus, now it's a plus and a minus. There was a boot camp, there are situations that guys have not cleaned up somewhere, have not done the dishes. I place the greatest emphasis on discipline, because in my understanding, if a player has no discipline, then it won't be present in-game either. He can allow himself some frivolities, take risks somewhere when he doesn't have to, so the training we have is not only in the game but also outside of it.

I draw the conclusion from everything: I am completely satisfied with everything in terms of the game plan. Of course, it could be better somewhere, but they are already in the top-53 ranking from scratch in 6 months. I do not know such examples that the team managed to rise from scratch so quickly. The guys are very good, I like working with them, because if we have a problem — we sit down and solve it. Yes, sometimes they resent me, I can raise my voice, but it's a usual job, there is no place without it. If you let them do whatever you want, it's a mess. I also talked to my bosses, I was curious about the assessment of the work done. The management was quite satisfied!

— Do you involve your main team in teaching the young players?
uaAmiran «Ami» Rekhviashvili
NAVI Junior Coach

We have tried. They came to the summer camp a couple of times. Sometimes all three teams sit in the same teamspeak, sometimes the eldest just join in, tell a joke or a story. But in general, they have very little time, they train, and they are already such stars, you know, it's not always easy to agree with them. I would like to do more, but it doesn't always work out.