Coaching in eSports has been a long debated concept. While players can basically keep any company they want before or after a match, during a matchup is another thing entirely. It’s commonplace in sports to confer with any number of coaches during a timeout or period/quarter/inning break in sports like basketball, football, or baseball, but the eSports community sees it differently.
Regardless of what individual people think though, it’s now a thing at EVO going forward. As per Joey Ceullar, self-described “head honcho of EVO,” the ruling is as follows: “Evo rules update! We have removed the no coaching rule, reduced the time between rounds to 30 seconds, and added a stage trespassing rule.” To clarify, the trespassing rule ensures that no one interrupts the match directly on the stage, including coaches. This leads to all sorts of weird instances where players may even decline playing on the main stage, though the EVO rules page has since added that coaches aren’t allowed in the Top 8 (a move to protect stream/match quality).
I really like the idea of mid-match coaching, as it adds a new dimension to the game. If it gets more popular in more tournaments that didn’t previously allow it, it would be awesome to see coaches become just as famous as the players themselves — which would be a great opportunity for people who might not have the motor skills to compete to remain in the sport.
I see the arguments against it, wanting to keep the game pure matchup-wise, but I think it’ll be better for eSports in the long run. I’ve reached out to EVO to full clarify the coaching rule and will update the article if I get a response.