Team Lilgun’s Coach zMitch on the Challenges of Coaching in a Developing Region

Team Lilgun’s Coach zMitch On The Challenges Of Coaching in a Developing Region

From Cambodia to Mongolia, coach zMitch sees the potential and work needed for these developing regions.

Coach Mitch ”zMitch” Sato is finally getting his chance to return home with Team Lilgun’s appearance in the M5 World Championship. He had been coaching overseas for 11 months, first with Cambodia’s Burn x Flash and then with Mongolia’s Lilgun. There’s not much time for him to rest however as Lilgun faces stiff competition in the tournament.

For zMitch, a big reason why he chose to coach teams in developing regions is because he sees the potential they have to go far. “Pinipili ko yung team na may malaking chance makapag wagi sa tournaments,” says the coach. His eye for teams has certainly been proven correct as Burn x Flash won MPL Cambodia and did well in MSC 2023, placing fourth. 

Team Lilgun’s Coach zMitch on the Challenges of Coaching in a Developing Region
Team Lilgun from Mongolia. From left to right: Bagabandi “Zxaura” Tegshjargal, Batbold “Ethan” Batjargal, Amarmurun “Forbid” Mandah, Erdenemunkh “Bebex” Chinsukh, and Enkhbat “Aizn” Munkhharaa. (Photo by Moonton Games)

zMitch continues his winning ways with Lilgun, pushing the Mongolian squad to make it to M5 through the Wildcard. They looked like the best team that tournament and the coach attributes it to their strong mechanical play. “Puro sapakan ang ginagawa nila palagi,” he says with a smile. 

While this may look messy for some, the coach helped cultivate this play style for Lilgun. “Sa Lilgun, dinahandahan ko lang kasi magulo yung play style nila. Andun na yun eh, pinulido na nila yun, so kung ginulo ko pa yung decision making nila, baka iba yung mangyari.” But zMitch knows that if he can refine this style, then Lilgun can match any top team. “If magagaling na sila sa pindutan, then i-aadjust mo na lang yung macro nila. I think makakasabay sila sa ibang regions.”

Adjusting to new environments

Guiding a team in an underdeveloped scene is tough but more so when it’s in a foreign country. The challenges go beyond just the team. “Yung language barrier, yung culture nila iba rin. Yung work ethics nila iba din talaga. Yun nga yung mga adjustments na kailangan kung pupunta ka sa ibang bansa.” 

Team Lilgun’s Coach zMitch on the Challenges of Coaching in a Developing Region
Coach Mitch ”zMitch” Sato advising his team between games at the M5 World Championship. (Photo by Moonton Games)

And of course, coach zMitch has to work with the fact that his team has fewer opportunities to grow. There’s a lot of potential hidden in these smaller regions and the coach’s solution to unlocking this is quite simple: “consistent leagues or tournaments, para ma-sustain yung ecosystem nila. Para tuloy-tuloy yung pagdagdag ng mga bagong players, bagong teams, at mamaintain yung laro nila.”

At the end of the day, Team Lilgun and coach zMitch have proven that they definitely deserve to play on the international stage. Despite the difficulties, they have shown what the developing regions are capable of.

Banner photo by Moonton Games.

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