Coach Donby from UK & Nordics LoL scene on joining Astralis’ new talent development scheme: ‘Denmark is one of the hotspots for esports talent, players just need the right guidance to become the stars of tomorrow’


Danish esports org Astralis have announced a new talent development initiative – and a LoL coach from the UK/Nordics scene is involved.

The scheme, known as Astralis Talent, will aim to help bolster the org’s League of Legends and CSGO teams.

The LoL division of Astralis Talent has appointed NLC team Nordavind’s assistant coach Mikkel Donby, whom we interviewed a few months back, as head coach of this new initiative.

He is joined by Anders Schultz, a former player who worked as assistant coach of NLC Fall Open side Invulnerables Esports.

For CSGO, Dennis Vang will work as head coach as well as assistant for the A team under Danny ‘zonic’ Sørensen.

Astralis Talent is designed to ‘create a recruitment platform and training partner for the A teams, as well as contribute to the development of young talent in a professional setting’.

These future prospects will get the benefit of training from Astralis’ Copenhagen facilities – and also serve as training partners for their main teams in the respective titles.

Previous announcements made by Astralis include replacing Origen’s brand in the LEC, as well as the formal departure of head coach Guilhoto.

Back in September, Astralis also announced their LEC staff including head coach AoD as well as assistant coach iHansen, who has had multiple stints in the UK and Nordic scene, most recently coaching Nordavind in the NLC with Donby.

AoD and iHansen have also worked together at Spanish club BCN Squad.

Another revelations from the announcement was where Astralis’ academy team would operate in 2021.

While many expected Astralis to vie for a spot in the UK and Nordics’ premier league, the NLC, Astralis’ director of sport Kasper Hvidt says: “In year one, we will have three teams in League of Legends. In 2021, the A team and the talent team will be working out of the Copenhagen HQ, while the academy team will still be working and playing in the Spanish second division.”

This was due to Origen’s previous deal with Spanish organisation Stormbringers, who compete in the Liga Nexo, the second division of the Spanish LoL circuit.

Kasper Hvidt also says that the rosters for both LoL and CSGO should be determined by January 2021.

It is indeed refreshing to see a team commit so heavily into the development of Tier 2 competition, which is the European Regional Leagues (ERLs), but also a third team.

No announcements have yet been made for Astralis’ LEC roster, though British top-laner Alphari has been linked with a move to Team Liquid.


Donby on departing from Nordavind, discussing strategy and Danish esports talent

Head coach Donby tells Megalodontus about his thoughts on joining Astralis and the challenges that lie ahead.

“First and foremost, I am extremely proud to become a part of the Astralis organisation. It is one of the most – if not the most – professional esports organisations in the world, and especially for a Dane, the Astralis star will always be something very special.

I am excited to become a part of this group with its legacy and loyal fan base.

I first started out with Nordavind in December 2019. When they decided I was fit for the coaching role in their organisation, I didn’t have a lot of prior experience, but luckily Kami (Nordavind’s manager) decided I was the one they wanted. Since then I’ve grown tremendously as a person and as a coach.

Moving on from Nordavind won’t feel good, since they’ve been my home for a year and I’ve enjoyed every second there, but I’m happy and very grateful for the opportunity that has been presented to me at Astralis.

During the two splits I’ve had in the ERLs, I’ve been an assistant coach. In this role you get to watch different systems and grasp them from an outside perspective. I’m going to be bringing what I think is the best approach to teaching, implement the parts that I liked and disregard the parts I didn’t find useful.

Furthermore, the experience and knowledge I’ve gained over the two splits will be valuable in the implementation and teaching of the upcoming talents I’ll be working with.

iHansen was a mentor to me and will continue to be throughout 2021. He’s a great colleague, partner and friend. Discussing strategy, coaching concepts and how to teach has been an instrumental piece to my development as a coach, and I’m looking forward to continuing that in 2021.

“The biggest issue with the infrastructure below ERL is the ability to develop talent. Talent development is not very proficient unless you have very good coaches that are able to identify these key characteristics and develop it in a structured manner.”

Donby

Denmark is and will continue to be one of the hotspots for talent in esports. I think there are a lot of gems out there, they just need the right guidance to become the stars of tomorrow.

It’s all about looking for it and being able to recognise the right characteristics in these young, unrefined players.

The biggest issue with the infrastructure below ERL is the ability to develop talent. Talent development is not very proficient unless you have very good coaches that are able to identify these key characteristics and develop it in a structured manner.

Unfortunately, to quote a Danish expression, good coaches are not growing on trees. And if they’re actually good at what they’re doing, they’re most likely employed and coaching in the top tier ERLs. Realistically, that’s where the money and the progress for the coaches is, so that’s where they’ll settle down.

There is no easy fix to bringing coaches up to speed, but it has to start with proper education and development for the coaches, so they’re able to identify and develop talents.”

You can follow Donby and Astralis on Twitter here





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