Marta J. August 26, 2019
Team SoloMid’s League of Legends mid laner Sergen "Broken Blade" Çelik accidentally leaked the team’s “action tracker” sheet during a live stream. The Google Sheet tracks the daily and weekly totals of mistakes made by TSM’s players during practice.
It seems as though TSM’s coaching is using negative reinforcement methods to improve the skill of its players. This means they’re focusing on fixing problems by pointing out the tiniest mistakes, placing players in uncomfortable positions in order to increase their focus on not repeating those mistakes.
Players are presented with weekly totals of how many times they have randomly died, randomly flashed, didn’t spot a Vision Ward, or made an unnecessarily aggressive play on the map. The daily totals even feature a timestamp that refers the player to when exactly in a game they have made one of the aforementioned mistakes.
While using negative reinforcement doesn’t necessarily need to be a bad thing, many fans have pointed out that there are often better methods to choose. Instead of counting every mistake, coaches should be able to guide players towards corrective actions and encourage them. However, it might be that TSM is only using this data to prepare for more encouraging actions, not to unnecessarily stress the players.
It’s unclear whether this is the only type of the document of this type TSM has for coaching its players, but whatever methods of coaching this team has been put through recently haven’t been yielding positive results. Even though the team finished the regular season of the League of Legends Championship Series in fourth place, they lost sets against the LCS’ lower-tier teams, including 100 Thieves, and haven’t really been top contenders since losing in the spring finals.
TSM secured a summer playoffs birth with 10 wins and 8 losses, but their run ended quickly. The team lost in the quarterfinals against rising underdog Clutch Gaming to share fifth place with Optic Gaming. Fans now have little hope of seeing TSM at the 2019 World Championship.
The team seems to be falling apart from the pressure and high expectations around them, and the community has now taken to turning towards the blame towards TSM’s management.