Brian “Saintt” Baroska is a former professional Call of Duty player and current Head Coach/Team Manager for the Minnesota ROKKR. He is the longest-standing professional Call of Duty coach in the scene.

Full video can be found here.

We discuss:

Saint’s background and current role (00:32)

Key elements of what makes a great player (01:20)

Key elements of what makes a great player (01:20)

Team chemistry (02:52) Coaching players and support (04:14)

What practice is like in competitive COD (05:14)

The biggest differences between pros and aspiring pros (06:44)

The differences in practice between pros and amateurs (08:26)

A holistic approach to player development and training (09:22)

What is overrated and underrated in professional gameplay (10:07)

What he looks for in players when recruiting (12:07)

Ideal scenarios with health and wellness (13:18)

Rapid Fire Questions (13:51)

And much more!

Check out the full episode here.

Some key takeaways from our discussion…

“When you look at a lot of the top amateur players, a lot of them have the raw skill, the gun skill, the ability to play the game at a high level, but what really separates the pros from the top amateur players is their resilience and their mindset and to be able to work through hard situations.”

A key component of a team’s and an individual player’s success and overall development is being able to have a growth mindset. Teams are looking beyond the raw skills and dig a bit deeper into understanding how players tick.

“Having players who are really coachable and able to fit in a team environment goes a lot farther than just putting teams together consisting of a bunch of talent.”

The players who take on a growth mindset and allow themselves to be coachable, always seeking ways to improve themselves personally and professionally, are able to really hit their stride in gaming as well as in life. We are seeing a  shift to teams expanding their talent identification and selection processes by exploring more about how players are people outside of the game as well as in-game.

For a player to start learning the concepts of a growth mindset and to put it into practice is key for long term player skill and development.

It starts with checking in with oneself about one’s unique strengths and weaknesses. This then leads to being intentional with practice. Making the time to think about what practices are going to look like, asking the questions…

What does success look like?

What are the outcomes?

What are the behaviors?

What’s the one thing I can focus on that’ll get me closer to that goal?

Having players learn these tools as part of their developmental process is key.

To listen to the full interview check out the link here.

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