This interview is part two of a series about video game coaches and insights gleaned about their clientele and business practices. You can read part one regarding personal Overwatch coaches here.
For professional Fortnite coach Cesar "GS PIxul" Sainz, the ability to translate wins into teachable lessons is of utmost importance.
Describing his own playstyle as "an aggressive opportunist", Sainz boasts on his GamerSensei page that he knows "exactly what to do" in a 1 vs. 1 situation and is "certain" in his ability to push students to the next level of Fortnite prowess.
In the world of game coaching, Sainz's top 50 ranking for most Solo wins serves as the as a seal of authenticity for potential new students and is listed, among other Fortnite accolades under his achievements. Naturally, I wanted to ask him a few questions about his business of coaching Fortnite players to better understand what it's like to hire a Fortnite coach:
How did you first get into coaching? Did you have pro-player aspirations (or still do?)
I first got into coaching through a partnership that my organization (Gankstars) had with Gamer Sensei. Luckily what was once an aspiration has now become a reality! In addition to coaching, I'm also playing Fortnite professionally.
Have you noticed an increase in the demand for coaching?
Oh, most definitely!
There has been a gradual increase, as players have caught on that coaches are available. And there has been a really large increase in interest most recently since an article from The Wall Street Journal about Fortnite coaching ran. I think it's safe to assume that most coaches including myself have been highly sought after as many media outlets have covered Fortnite coaching.
I can't complain though, I love meeting new people willing to get better at something they love - so the increase in interest is very welcome!
Is there an average age for the people that seek your coaching?
Not necessarily. I know most people assume the typical age group would be younger but it's far from that actually. I've coached people from the ages of 9 to 42, all taking on lessons for their own personal reasons.
Have you noticed any trends in the most common problems people face? In other words, what are the most common things you help people improve with?
Most people noticed in my bio that I have quite a bit of solo wins (roughly 560), so most of the people that come to me are people who want to improve in that certain playlist cause they know it's a lot more challenging considering you have to beat 99 other people by yourself there.
Beyond that, they come to me for help in build fights mainly, game sense, rotations, and gun prioritization.
What are the goals your clientele have with regards to coaching? Is it common for them to have pro-player aspirations, or do they just want to improve for personal reasons?
Honestly, all of their goals seem to differ. Some having pro-player aspirations while others simply want to be good enough to play with their friends if not be better than them. I've also had people who simply want to be good enough to play with their kids so that they can have something to bond around especially because the parent knows how much Fortnite means to their kids.
Have you ever encountered people that are simply uncoachable? Or perhaps that concept doesn't exist?
Nobody is uncoachable so long as they're willing to put in the effort for the reasons that they first initially approached a coach for.
But in my own personal experience, all of my students have not only shown that they want to improve, but they show immediate results either in that same coaching session we're in, if not a few hours later by beginning to get more kills, placing higher then usual, and some even winning way more consistently then they previously were.
Are there any other benefits to being coached competitively outside the game?
Some of the people I've coached initially were very timid and said little to nothing during our lessons. Once they began to get more confident in their own personal gameplay, I noticed that most of them began to become more positive and outspoken. I not only offer actual game tips to help them improve in Fortnite, but I help set goals for them so they stay determined.
I help them realize that they can get better at anything if they continuously put forth the effort, as well as to tackle situations with a different approach. Fortnite aside, this is something I believe is a very important thing in life in general!
What do you think is the biggest misconception about your job/role?
I believe the biggest misconception behind what I and others do, whether it be coaching/playing Fortnite professionally with Gankstars, is that it can't become a sustainable career. School is definitely a priority to me right now and always will be, but as opportunities arise with professional gaming and coaching for me or others, it can grow into a full-time endeavor if you set your mind to it and continue to seek opportunity.
What is the hardest thing about your job that outsiders may not understand?
I think the hardest thing for outsiders to understand is how helpful coaching is in general. Whether that be for Fortnite or any other game that provides an opportunity for coaching, having that outside perspective from someone who is well rounded with the game really does help tremendously.
That's not to say that seeking a coach is necessarily a requirement to getting better at a game either, but it is an extremely viable choice for some who wants immediate results.
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