At past Majors, we have had conversations with pro teams about the participation of their coaches in the gameplay responsibilities of players and they assured us that their coaches focused on activities traditionally associated with coaching, such as preparation, support, opponent study, etc.
We were always open with them about our opinion that distributing the work of 5 players (e.g. keeping track of the economy, calling plays and mid-round calls, and general situational awareness) across 6 people was not in line with our goals, one of which was to make it possible for new teams to emerge and compete at the highest levels. We had no concerns with the other coaching responsibilities and at the time any potential harm was hypothetical.
Since then it has become apparent that teams are, in fact, transitioning away from fielding players that have a wider breadth of skills and instead relying on coaches to handle some of that work.
On August 8th an event organizer forwarded us an email from a coach, representing some top teams, stating that the status-quo was no longer acceptable and that they insisted on more in-game access for coaches during their events. The organizer was aware of our concerns and asked us, in light of the current trend, whether we intended to take a position on coaching.
The forwarded email made it clear that despite the conversations we had with them, teams were further investing in coaching in a way that was contrary to the goals of the Majors and the concerns we had expressed. It was important to make a decision before teams further invested in coach IGLs and we decided to rein in the role of coaching in the next Major to exclude player responsibilities. We informed the event organizer of our decision (see below) and asked them to incorporate our message into their conversation with the pros.
We understand that there will be some short term disruption for teams that have made an investment in coach IGLs. However, we intend the Majors and Minors to be events that can be won by any team of 5 players that demonstrate excellence in all skills of CS and this adjustment is intended to ensure that this remains true.
This is just the most recent adaptation in our continuing process of improving the Majors and Minors. As always, you can send us feedback at CSGOTeamFeedback@valvesoftware.com
For reference, our original message:
With unrestricted communication with their players, coaches can currently function as a sixth player, and not solely as a source of guidance or training.
Activities such as keeping track of the economy, calling plays, and general situational awareness are important components of CS gameplay. If a person is performing these actions, we consider them a player.
Since the goal of our events is to identify the best five-player CS teams that exhibit the best combination of all CS skills, the current participation of coaches in the game is not compatible with that goal.
To address this problem, future Valve sponsored events will enforce the following coaching rules:
* During a match, the coach may only communicate with the players during warmup, half-time, or during one of four 30 second timeouts that the coach or player can call.
Obviously, third party events can use whatever rules they want but if you want to align your events with ours then we recommend using this coaching rule.