Matthew will be joining London as a Performance Coach ahead of the upcoming #UKLC. We sat down with him to answer some questions regarding his plans for the upcoming split.
Name – Hello, my name is Matt Watson.
Age – I’m 31 years old.
Where you’re living now and where you’re originally from –
I’ve been living in Cologne, Germany since 2015 but I’m originally from Washington, near Brighton, in the UK.
What you studied at University –
I studied sport and exercise science at the University of Birmingham in the UK and then went on to do a master’s degree in a similar area at Maastricht University in the Netherlands. After a year working as a research assistant in Australia I moved to Cologne to start my PhD in sport psychology, specifically in the area of sport coaching, emotional intelligence and motivation.
Your experience in performance coaching –
I’ve been involved in team sports for most of my life. For the last ten years I’ve been primarily coaching basketball, from youth to professional level, although I hold coaching certificates in basketball, athletics and dodgeball, for some reason.
Why did you want to get into the esports scene –
I’ve always had an interest in video games, ever since watching my brother play his Super Nintendo when I was young. I don’t really have any gaming abilities worth mentioning, but I totally get how absorbing the games are and just how immensely skilled the best players are. I began to take a more professional interest in esports when I saw how orgs were bringing in coaches and other staff to get their teams to the next level, which is something that I do know about. The demands on esports players and coaches and the importance of team dynamics are much the same as in traditional sports, so I thought I might be able to contribute to a team. I just needed to find an ambitious org with the right vision and willingness to take me on!
What do you think you are going to bring to the esports scene –
Great question. From my education and coaching experience I think I have a good idea of what people need to be at their best, and how to get a team working together. The challenge is to apply that in a relatively new context, but by taking a person-centred approach and listening to the players I’m optimistic that we can all benefit and elevate each other. I’m definitely ready to adapt and open to working with others to make this a success. I also think there’s a great fit amongst the management and coaching staff at LDN. They’ve been very responsive to my ideas and happy to share their expertise too.
Tell us a bit about your philosophy –
So there’s a few aspects to this. Firstly, I believe that a shared ‘team first’ mentality amongst players and coaching staff can have an incredibly positive impact on performance over a split. Working for each other can be contagious. As such, I really value the time we invest into developing the bonds between team personnel, as well as giving the players input into decision making and a share of responsibility.
Secondly, although I want to win, I see a large part of success as having done the best you could with the resources you have. But this is by no means a lower bar to reach, as there are many areas of our life that we can optimise in order to reach our best performance and it takes real commitment to do this. This ties in to another aspect, the need for a ‘holistic’ approach. This is a bit of a buzzword in sport psychology at the moment, but rightly so. Esports players, and coaches too, can only perform to their best and reach their full potential if they are taking care of their health and well-being.
The final part of my philosophy, although it’s probably more of a mindset, is gratitude. It’s easy to forget that not everyone has the opportunity to be part of a team, to take part in a game and compete. We should be aware of that and make the most of it. Certainly I’m grateful for the opportunity to be part of LDN!