League of Legends

An Interview with Team Dignitas’ two new Korean coaches

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Team Dignitas has recently announced that the team decided to scout ex-SBENU coach Jaeseok Park and ex-Samsung coach Jungsoo Kim. Team Dignitas president, Michael "ODEE" O'Dell, said that the two new coaches will "help elevate Team Dignitas to a higher level."

Inven had a chance to meet the two coaches and hear their stories of working in the industry. They shared with us how they came to Team Dignitas together, what they are planning, and their thoughts about the current roster.

▲ Coach Kim(left) and Park(right)


When did you decide to join Dignitas, and how did you team up?

Park: It was decided two weeks ago. At first I was informed by Dignitas that the team needed a head coach. When they told me that they also needed more coaching staff, I called coach Kim to ask him if he wanted to join. He said yes, and I felt grateful.


[To Park] How did you get to know each other?

Park: We've known each other since the Brood War days. He also worked with me when I shifted my career to LoL and worked with OMG. I was in charge of OMG's first team and Kim was in charge of the second team.


Then you parted ways?

Park: Yes, he went to Samsung Galaxy, and I went to SBENU Korea.

 

You two are rejoining as a team. Would it mean that you trust each other?

Park: Although it hasn't been long since I became the head coach, I have always thought to myself that it would be hard to find a coach that would work well with me. Coach Kim was the person that came to mind whenever such ideas would pop up in my head, needless to mention his recent achievement in Worlds. I thought we would be able to accomplish a lot of things together if he worked with me.

Kim: Coach Park called me when I was looking for a team in China. I remembered all the time we spent together and how he actively supported whatever I wanted to do. We also had a lot of things in common and used to share thoughts with each other a lot. I thought we would go in the same direction if we were to work together.


That makes me curious about what plans you have for your new team.

Park: Looking back at my experiences in the past, I realized that I wouldn't be able to do everything by myself. I was always out there giving orders, coaching, and managing the team at the same time. So this time I decided to focus only on managing the team. I would like to work on painting the big picture while Coach Kim covers the details like players' solo queue and daily life. We will try to establish an environment where players can focus better on LoL.

 

How would you describe the role of coach in a team?

Kim: A coach should live with his players so he can take care of them both inside and outside of gaming. I think a coach is in charge of pretty much everything about the players. Coach Park said that he will take care of many tasks for me, so I think I will be able to give a lot of help in LoL.

Park: That question reminds me of Manchester United's ex-coach Alex Ferguson. I think a coach should establish a certain system so that each member of the team can do his part and create a positive atmosphere.


How were China and Korea different? Are you ready for the new environment?

Park: I pushed myself with confidence and passion when I went to China. I thought I would do well no matter what. Then I realized that there were a lot of differences, like the general atmosphere and how jobs were done. Now that I know that, this time I made sure to carefully check everything down to the details. I went through some financial hardship in SBENU, so I care a lot about it this time. I am personally thinking of this as my last chance, so I found a team that i can pour my everything into without regret.

 

[To Park] Your career in SBENU was not so successful. Did you set your bar higher this time? What is one thing you really want?

Park: I want to feel joy in doing what I want to do, and also do what I can do. I want to go to Worlds and everything, but what I really enjoy is working with good players and coaches. I think my experiences in SBENU will definitely help out. I am aware that I did not always make the right decision in SBENU, and will try my best with this new opportunity so that there are no regrets.


What do Western teams usually want from their coaches?

Park: I think the first thing would be to make the team stronger. Enhanced performance represented by match results will show up before systematic improvement is established. I am also aware that I was being a bit too idealistic when I picked so many young players in China. I don't want to make the same mistake, and will set up specific goals and work towards them.


[To Kim] Do you think culture and language would be an issue?

Kim: I will be going with a translator, but I don't think I will be able to fully overcome the linguistic barrier. I will listen to them first instead of doing everything the Korean way.


 

 


Are you satisfied with the current roster?

Park: A lot of skillful players have gone to the NA LCS, and I think the roster is good since it became important for top laners to have carrying power. Chaser is an aggressive jungler and his play style is well-suited to the current meta. I am not worried about the teamwork of Ssumday and Chaser. Other players are also skilled. They are still young and have room for improvement, so I think I will be able to help out alot if we get along well with each other. They are also passionate, which is definitely a plus.

Kim: I have heard about them, but I have never actually seen their gameplay in person. I feel positive since we have some key players that I had my eyes fixed on during the last season. I think things will be more apparent once we start working with each other. Chanho "Ssumday" Kim is a veteran who spent a lot of time in Korea. If such experienced players establish the atmosphere, the rest will follow. They have good personality, and I am expecting good things to happen.


What is Dignitas' goal this season?

Kim: 5th place in Playoffs; I think we can make it. We have good players like Ssumday and Chaser, and once we settle things down, I think 5th place in the Spring Season won’t be so hard.

Park: The first goal this season is to avoid being relegated. We have to maintain our spot in LCS while also taking steps to improve. I will establish an environment in which we can have an active discussion after each game. Dignitas has received a lot of funding this time, and I will try hard to produce a fruitful outcome with all that support.

 

Any last words?

Kim: 5th place in the Spring Season is our short-term goal, but our ultimate goal is to win the tournament. I want to try hard and produce a good result. I am also going a long way, traveling to the States, and I don't want to produce a result that I would regret in the future. I want to say that I am thankful to SSG's head coach Woobeom Choi, who has given me a lot of support. I also want to thank Dignitas for this great offer.

Park: I want to win. I don't have much memory of winning, so I want to win and reclaim my confidence. There are many people that have helped me and gave me a lot of advice, like the coaches Sangyong Han, Woobeom Choi, and Daeyoung Son. I am thankful for those who have always told me inspiring stories, and I will try harder. I am also thankful to Dignitas for allowing us to work with the players and staff that we wanted. This is a rare chance, and I will work as if every day was my last day.

 


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