Interview with The London Esports Performance Team

January 9, 2021

London Esports strongly believes in improving players both in and outside of their chosen game and we have shown a huge commitment to this with the announcement of Sports Performance Coach, Watson last year. Since he has been joined by Callum Abbott, a leading British Sports Psychologist within the esports industry.

London Esports caught up with both Matthew and Callum and asked for their thoughts around joining LDN and the upcoming season.


Interview with Watson


You’re coming up to your 1 year anniversary working with London Esports, what has been the highlights of your time here so far?

"The whole year with LDN has been memorable. I’ve really enjoyed getting up to speed in a new performance area (esports) and the support of all the players and staff really helped with that. Equally it’s been fascinating to see how my academic and coaching experience can transfer across from team sports. As for specific highlights, this is quite bittersweet, but I’d say the emotion going into that last game of the summer split, knowing that it all came down to this. Whilst the cards didn’t fall for us, it’s those moments that every competitor–player or staff–wants to be involved in."


How important do you think a performance team is to a group of players that are looking to take that next step in professional gaming?

"Great question. I’d say that whatever the composition of your team, improvement can be achieved by collectively and consciously considering whether you are optimising the resources that you have and what you might need to add. Maybe your group struggles to organise scrims, in which case you’d benefit from a tireless team manager like Mulgrew. Perhaps your group could use help identifying game-specific areas to improve, in which case a big-brain head coach like Wise is the pressing need. Equally, for lasting improvement especially, it is essential to consider the mental and physical aspects underlying your performance and well-being, which is where an expert like Callum can really help. There’s a lot of pieces to complete the performance puzzle."


Without giving too much away, what are the plans this split now that you are working with Callum?

"Well, what I can say is that we’ve put a lot of thought into our approach. This has involved reflecting on our previous experiences, establishing our values as a staff, really thinking pragmatically about what can be done. Callum brings a lot to the table and together we’re able to enhance the support available to the team. Like I mentioned before, we want to make sure we’re optimising the resources that we have and contributing to an atmosphere in which everyone can thrive."


Interview with Callum


This will be your second split with LDN, do you feel like you didn’t have enough time the first split to implement what you wanted to implement?

"I’m very happy to be back with LDN for the second time. Indeed, unfortunately due to the time constraints around the recent tournament I felt like there was so much we could have done with the team given more time, but in order to be effective we had to be pragmatic and trim down our aims. As a result, a lot of groundwork has been done for the upcoming split, alongside much reflection and learning."


Why was London the best place for you to work with for this upcoming split?

"I think I chose to work alongside LDN for this split because it was clear how valued the wider approach to performance was within the organisation. Knowing that many within the org already see the value in sport psychology support and holistic player support has allowed me to plan and do work that may not have been possible before."


Are you excited to be working with Watson this split?

"Absolutely! It’s not often I get to work alongside someone as passionate about sport psychology and performance as myself. With Watson’s academic strengths and knowledge of evidence-based practice combined with my applied sport psychology approach, working with LDN this split is shaping up to be a very exciting prospect."


What are your methods and directions when working with individual players and how do you see this getting the best out of them?

"In general, my methods can vary from player to player depending on what they believe is necessary. Often group workshops and sessions are a good place to start introducing the broader concepts and ideas of sport psychology, but where possible I prefer to supplement these with tailored sessions for the individual. Ultimately, I believe sport psychology support can help players get the best out of themselves through many ways which could include: managing nerves before games, bolstering confidence, developing pre-performance routines, reflecting on performances, managing wellbeing and having a place one step removed from the day to day of the organisation to discuss thoughts and concerns."