Original Research: Interview with Ronald Kim (Completed, Email)

This is Ronald Kim, an FPS game coach and former professional player with major league gaming experience.

I first contacted Mr. Kim on the 8th of November, with the following email:

“Hello Mr. Kim,

I’m William Bradford, a high school student at Renaissance School in Charlottesville Virginia and I am conducting my Senior Thesis on the relationship between performance psychology in multiple fields.

Would agree to an online interview, either over a recorded video call or via email? I would like to ask you about a few concepts and methodologies I’ve found in my research so far and get your stance on these matters.

If you do agree to this interview, would you be available at any time on November 30th, December 4th, or December 5th? Alternatively, if you would like to conduct the interview over email, I could send you my questions and you could respond whenever you like.

Thank you,
William Bradford”

He agreed to an email interview, in which he added to my questions with some additional content, attached as a word document. This read as follows:

  1. How has COVID-19 affected your work? What mental strategies have you been using to
    help players cope with the added stress of the pandemic?

    I’m fortunate to be working in an industry that can happen entirely online, so it hasn’t personally
    affected my work. This is one of the major bonuses of working in the video game industry. All
    that is required is a computer and the internet.

    I’m currently not a full-time coach so I haven’t been working with players on a daily basis, but
    video games have been a great outlet for people to interact with their friends and family during
    the lockdown.
  2. What pre-tournament routines do you instruct players before tournament matches?

    There are two routines to consider before competing in a match. The first routine is as a team,
    and there are a few must-do checklist items I implement to the team, such as reviewing
    strategies, gameplan, scouting reports, team dinner, etc..

    The second routine is that all players should work towards developing their own personal
    routine that works for them. I’m a firm believer that a well-developed routine greatly increases
    consistency.
  3. What mental tools do you find to be most effective when helping players with
    mid-performance anxiety?

    There are many forms of anxiety that affect players differently. The main culprits being: fear of
    making a mistake/losing/letting team down, lack of self-confidence, and experience. There is a
    quote “Anxiety and fear are made-up thoughts worrying about bad things that may not even
    happen”.

    When players think about these bad possible outcomes, they are not playing in the moment
    which prevents them from reaching a flow state and playing with a clear mind.
    Confidence comes from the preparation and the experience of doing. Positive self-talk always
    helps “Be careful how you talk to yourself because you are listening.”
  4. Have your training methods changed since your stint in eSports? If so, then how have
    they changed?

    Although the entire industry of competitive Esports has been elevated since I played
    professionally, the fundamentals always apply. Things like learning from every mistake, being a
    great teammate, communicating with poise and a friendly tone, strong mechanics, efficient
    scheduling and utilization of practice time, and performing under pressure.

    In terms of the biggest change I’ve noticed is that the pool of talent is much larger now as the prizes, tournaments, and community has grown almost 10 fold.
  1. What methods do you use to manage the players?

    Any successful team has found a way to utilize the max value from each member. Everyone has
    their strengths, so it’s figuring out how to develop this natural talent and how it fits into the
    teams’ goals. The other must-have managing skill is to develop your ability to understand each
    individual which builds rapport and helps you understand how to communicate with them. Everyone is built differently with their own personalities, temperaments, and maturity levels, so
    having strong emotional skills are super valuable when working with others.

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