June 7, 2021

Rocket League with Guild

3 min read

Following the rising popularity of Rocket League, Guild Esports decided to create their own team and recruited Mike ‘Gregan’ Ellis, who had previously scouted the highly successful Renault Vitality squad, to be the coach.

With the goal of becoming the best team in the world, Guild asked Gregan to bring together a winning squad once again. And we’re now very much on course to achieving that goal. The squad are currently in the top 6 in Europe in the Rocket League Championship Series Season X (RLCS X) and they won the most recent Spring Split Regional 3.

The Squad

Meet the talented members of Guild’s Rocket League squad:

  • Michael ‘Gregan’ Ellis – Coach. Originally from Surrey, Gregan now resides in London. He studied Medicine at University of Sheffield but dropped out after three and a half years to focus on his professional career.
  • Joseph ‘noly’ Kidd – Player. Hailing from Liverpool, noly studied at college while also competing as a semi-pro.
  • David ‘Deevo’ Morrow – Player. Also from Liverpool, Deevo studied at the same college as noly, but was a few years his senior. A veteran of the scene, he’s been involved with numerous World Championships and top 6 European teams.
  • Thomas ‘ThO’ Binkhorst – Player. Hailing from The Netherlands, ThO joined Guild in the summer of 2020 just as he finished his studies.

Busy Schedule

The squad practices and competes in the evenings and continues to compete at weekends.

This allows them to balance their Rocket League activities with their working lives, especially as it’s difficult for them to commit to holidays, social and sports events, due to the reactive nature of esports.

This same schedule also makes it possible to continue their studies along with playing. But mustering the energy to do so can be a challenge which needs to be handled.

Team Routine

The team scrims (competition practices) twice a day from Tuesday to Sunday (usually around 4 pm – 8 pm GMT), with Monday being their day off. They also take an hour to personally warm up before the scrims. Players also continue their personal practice beyond what is scheduled, during the day or late into the night after the scrims.

The team also holds extra meetings on diverse topics such as replay analysis, performance, psychology, nutrition and content. On competition days, the team will have a 2-3 hour warm-up session which includes personal preparation and in-game warm up, a team scrim that takes about 45 minutes and a 15 minute pre-match session where the players mentally prepare, relax and talk through their game plan.

Effects of COVID-19

With more activities going on online due to the travel and contact restrictions brought about by the rise of COVID, the hardest challenge for the team is balancing their mental health, avoiding burnout and maintaining a healthy team communication.

While playing games for most people is about relaxation, for professional athletes, it’s standard to play for several hours a day for practice, after which they require off-screen time. Currently the players compete from their homes so that they work, relax and sleep in the same space because they’re unable to move to a central location where they’re able to separate their work and home lives.

However, the team is looking to have a central training hub later this year. When it comes to communication between the team members, to avoid misunderstandings and to make it more personal, the team have started using facecams. This allows a better understanding and reading of each other’s emotions, especially when sharing constructive feedback and advice. The team have also started creating and scheduling social events, as these are unable to take place naturally as they can’t meet in person and it’s important that the team members get to know each other outside of practice and competitions.

What Guild Provides for the Team

Guild provides everything a professional athlete requires. Be it a full-time coach, full time manager and a very active head of esports. Guild also acts as the point of contact for the players and the coach and supplies the players with what they need equipment and tech-wise.

When it comes to the players’ performance, Guild provides a performance psychologist, nutritionist, physiotherapist and fitness coach and all of these will become more active when the team moves to a central location. But for the moment, these personnel provide advice and on-demand support for the players.

The Guild social media team also helps create content and pushes the players’ profiles through Guild’s social media channels. Plus, the apparel team provides players with their clothing needs and the commercial team handles sponsorships for the players and their created content.