Wednesday, September 2, 2015

Gift cards now available on Amazon


Our Coaching Gift Cards are now available on Amazon in 2 hour denominations! Doing what we can to reach a broader audience with the US Gift Giving season approaching.

Give us a review on Amazon if you've had a good coaching experience on the site!

Tuesday, August 18, 2015

Announcing Coaching Sponsorships for RD2L Season 8 Teams

In March, we began our coaching sponsorship with the UBC Collegiate Team. Despite being seeded 65th in the Collegiate League, they delivered upset after upset and advanced to the Star League Finals in San Francisco to finish 2nd in North America. It was an outstanding journey for this amateur team and our coaches kAitorA and Rallphy were there to help them step by step.

In the wake of this success, we're looking to continue with more coaching sponsorships for amateur teams. We recently spoke with the admins of Reddit's Dota 2 League and they agreed to allow us to provide professional coaching for some of their amateur teams in RD2L's Season 8.

We tested the waters to see if members of the league were interested in working with coaches and got enough interest to proceed with the sponsorship. We'll be working with two interested teams selected by random draw after the Season 8 draft is completed.

To coaches who are looking to practice their team coaching, amateur leagues like RD2L or AD2L provide a great forum for this. DotaCoach.org will be paying two official coaches to represent us in these leagues - but if you aren't selected as an official coach, consider getting involved and doing some pro bono work.

We are currently looking for coaches with competitive experience, preferably in USA time zones, who would be available to coach for one to three hours each week at prescheduled practice times. This is a paid coaching position so contact us if you are interested in being considered for the role.

Tuesday, July 28, 2015

DotaCoach.org T-Shirts

DotaCoach.org shwag is here! We're giving it away to coaches and to folks at TI5. Message us if you'd like one.

If you're attending TI5 in Seattle, let us know and let's meet up! 



Tuesday, July 14, 2015

Announcing our Reputation System for Coaches!

Reputation attempts to measure our confidence in the quality of each coach on DotaCoach.org. A high reputation score indicates that we are confident this coach is both active and highly regarded by his students.

DotaCoach.org calculates a Reputation score for each coach to help students easily make an informed decision about which coach to work with. A coach's Reputation is an aggregate metric which combines all of the quality signals we have for that coach (eg. reviews from students, coaching experience, MMR, etc.). A high reputation score indicates that DotaCoach.org is confident this coach is both active and highly regarded by his students.

Our leaderboard has been updated to show a list of the forty coaches with the best reputations where coaches are listed in order of descending reputation. This new system for determining "top coaches" provides transparency to the system we use to determine which coaches appear on the leaderboard and in what order.

Understanding a coach's reputation can help you understand their coaching history and level of activity. On each coaching profile you can now see an in-depth view of the coach's reputation.


Read more about our reputation system here. Follow updates on the reputation system here.

Monday, May 25, 2015

Coaching Sponsorship for Collegiate Team UBC

The UBC eSports Association is a non-profit student gaming club centralized around the University of British Columbia here in our home city of Vancouver. They have an amazing history in eSports and have helped incubate several star eSports players including EG's Aui_2000 (Canada's highest paid eSports player). With Aui_2000 leaving UBC to pursue Dota full-time, the UBC Dota 2 Team does not play at a professional level.

UBC competes in the Collegiate StarLeague (CSL), an intercollegiate gaming league open to colleges and universities across North America. Expectations for UBC in the CSL Playoffs were humble - they're currently seeded at 65th. When league representatives predicted the outcome for the UBC team, they first said "UBC may potentially take a game, but it would be quite the upset." When predicting the second round game the league reps confused UBC with the California giant UCB. But despite the nay-sayers, UBC rose to the challenge and now stands among the eight teams remaining in the CSL playoffs.

In early March, DotaCoach.org approached the UBC team and offered to pair their members with some of our professional Dota 2 coaching staff. The thinking was that the UBC team contained strong individual players but lacked experience as a competitive unit. DotaCoach.org recommended some of our most experienced coaches and entered into a sponsorship agreement which paired the UBC team with mentors from Team ChW

The coaches from ChW, kAitorA and assistant coach Rallphy, have over 20 years of competitive Dota experience between them and have competed for years in JDL Division 2. They are top players from Serbia who coach Dota professionally through DotaCoach.org to help support their dream of becoming professional gamers.

The team and the coaches met weekly over the past month. They play live games with the coaches commenting, they analyze recordings of skirmishes, and discuss strategies and ways to improve the team's decisions. Individuals from the team have had 1-on-1 sessions with the coaches, but overall the focus has been on building up the team's play.

UBC has what it takes to win CSL. They knew how to win long before we entered their lives - but the competition is getting fierce. There have already been some exciting games to avoid elimination; including a squeaky-close eighty-minute Game 2 win against the #11 seed, University of Massachusetts. Players on the UBC team agree that the coaching sessions have sharpened their edge and improved their chances. 

For us at DotaCoach.org, facilitating and sponsoring this mentorship feels good. We can help young local players grow through competition while helping team ChW grow as professional coaches. We're looking forward to more upsets from Team UBC!  Tune in to CSL on Twitch to watch with us.

If you have an amateur or collegiate team which would benefit from coaching, tweet us @DotaCoachDotOrg.

UPDATE: We are pleased to share that they have advanced to the Collegiate StarLeague's semi-finals

Sunday, May 24, 2015

Announcing our Sponsorship of Team Leviathan!

DotaCoach.org is proud to announce that today we have entered into a sponsorship agreement with Team Leviathan. We are proud to have a team like Leviathan representing us on the world stage of The International! Tune in May 25th - 28th to watch them advance through American Qualifiers.  


We have been working with Team Leviathan since April and they have proven themselves as top coaches. Check out this review for FlyingZebra from DotaFM's JeMannDota.
I had a two hour coaching session with Michael "FlyingZebra" Stanus-Ghib from Team Leviathan (TL) and can safely say that it has immensely improved my understanding of the game. I had requested some unorthodox coaching since I am an amateur play-by-play caster and knew that Michael was the captain/drafter for TL. Instead of watching me play pubs, we watched replays of professional games, he shared his insight with me in regards to the draft, laning phase, mid game and late game. We then watched a series of drafts where he quized me as to why I believed a hero would be picked up or banned and then provided his insight as to how he would like me to further extrapolate my explanations. Overall the session taught me a lot and has led me to think about the game differently. I'll absolutely be ordering my coaching sessions from him! 
JaMannDota
DotaFM
4/30/2015
Check out Team Leviathan's coaching profile for more info. Best of luck to Leviathan in the qualifiers!

Wednesday, April 22, 2015

Does coaching work? We spent $1,300 to find out.

In January, we launched the DotaCoach Progress Experiment to measure whether coaching actually makes students better players. We believed it did (strongly enough to start this very business), but we didn’t have proof. So we gave two months of free professional coaching to ten students and measured their progress. In total, we gave away 180 free lessons, at a total cost of $1,300 USD. Now that the results are in, we’d like to share them with you. Over the coming weeks, we'll be releasing a series of posts showing quantitative and qualitative data about our students and their progress.

Today we’re kicking things off with the most commonly-used way to measure skill, MMR. Although MMR is not a perfect measurement of skill, it's reasonably sound mathematically, it's the best single metric that we have, and it's proven to be quite accurate given enough games played. With that out of the way, let's take a look at the MMR graph.

 

Details
This graph shows how the MMR of students and controls changed over three and a half months leading up to the experiment. It then resets everyone to zero (at the “Coaching Begins” vertical line) and shows the same comparison over the course of the experiment. Prior to the experiment, both groups fluctuate but have no significant change in their MMR. Once the experiment starts, the students receiving lessons show clear improvements compared to the controls.

Students and controls 
Of our original 10 students, 3 dropped out within the first week or two due to real-life commitments. This left us with the 7 students you see in the graph above. To provide a basis for comparison, we also gathered data on 6 players who had applied to be a part of the experiment, but were not selected. These players are referred to as controls, or non-students. As you may have noticed, the controls actually dipped below zero slightly during the course of the experiment; we expect this was just a random anomaly, rather than them being heartbroken from not being chosen for the experiment.

MMR calculation 
We originally had students sign up for Dota 2 Toplist to track MMR throughout the experiment, but the site has not worked properly since mid-February. So we had to improvise a bit. We pulled all match data for every student and control for the last six months from the Dota 2 Match History API. We estimated their MMR by looking at ranked matches and assigning +25 for a win and -25 for a loss. This proved to be a sufficiently accurate predictor for players in the experiment’s range, 1,500-4,500 MMR. We also cross-verified our estimates by looking at the resulting MMR at different dates for which we had recorded MMRs; it was accurate within 2% for all students.

Note that the Dota 2 Match History API does not distinguish between solo and party ranked play, so this graph includes both. This is annoying for us and hard to adjust for since some people don’t play party at all and we don’t have data for controls. For our students it looks like about 75% of the change is coming from solo games, which conservatively works out to about a 350 solo MMR improvement on average.  

Lesson counts
One of the graph’s options allows you to see the number of lessons each student took. These range from 10 hours (Student #3) to 37 hours (Student #5) over the course of the two months. 

Analysis
As you can see, coaching clearly improves players. Looking at the MMR percentiles Valve published, students in our experiment leapfrogged about 10-20% of the Dota playerbase in just two months.
You may be thinking, “I’ve had my MMR swing by a few hundred at times, so what?” Great question! What makes these results significant is that the improvement happened consistently across several students. Normally when you see swings, people go up and down but they average around zero over time. But during the experiment, every student saw improvement, and the average improvement was well above zero. This indicates that the students are actually getting better; it is very unlikely that every student in the experiment happened to have a big MMR upswing during the course of the experiment. As you probably noticed, we added standard error bars to the graph to help show this. They give a quick, intuitive sense of the significance of these results, and show that the improvements are not merely coincidence or a temporary swing. (If anyone is interested, we can run the numbers for other statistical tests in future posts, or share anonymized data with interested parties.)

Conclusion
This data suggests that coaching is an effective way for players to improve their skills. An average improvement of 350 MMR in two months is a significant gain. For those who are looking to improve their skills, this experiment provides compelling evidence that coaching can be an effective way to improve. Whether it's from a professional like we offer at DotaCoach, or a friend who has offered their time and advice, we hope you'll give coaching a try.

One student commented thusly on what he took away from the experiment and these results: “get a mentor whether paid or unpaid, thank him, appreciate him, and next time u want to spend $10 on a hat - maybe invest in your gameplay and spend an hour with a coach.”



We’d love to hear what data/analysis you’re interested in for future posts. Let us know by commenting here, on Facebook, tweeting us, or sending a mail to contact@dotacoach.org and we’ll try to answer your question in future posts.



Tuesday, April 14, 2015

Coaching Sponsorship for Collegiate Team UBC

The UBC eSports Association is a non-profit student gaming club centralized around the University of British Columbia here in our home city of Vancouver. They have an amazing history in eSports and have helped incubate several star eSports players including EG's Aui_2000 (Canada's highest paid eSports player). With Aui_2000 leaving UBC to pursue Dota full-time, the UBC Dota 2 Team does not play at a professional level.

UBC competes in the Collegiate StarLeague (CSL), an intercollegiate gaming league open to colleges and universities across North America. Expectations for UBC in the CSL Playoffs were humble - they're currently seeded at 65th. When league representatives predicted the outcome for the UBC team, they first said "UBC may potentially take a game, but it would be quite the upset." When predicting the second round game the league reps confused UBC with the California giant UCB. But despite the nay-sayers, UBC rose to the challenge and now stands among the eight teams remaining in the CSL playoffs.

In early March, DotaCoach.org approached the UBC team and offered to pair their members with some of our professional Dota 2 coaching staff. The thinking was that the UBC team contained strong individual players but lacked experience as a competitive unit. DotaCoach.org recommended some of our most experienced coaches and entered into a sponsorship agreement which paired the UBC team with mentors from Team ChW

The coaches from ChW, kAitorA and assistant coach Rallphy, have over 20 years of competitive Dota experience between them and have competed for years in JDL Division 2. They are top players from Serbia who coach Dota professionally through DotaCoach.org to help support their dream of becoming professional gamers.

The team and the coaches met weekly over the past month. They play live games with the coaches commenting, they analyze recordings of skirmishes, and discuss strategies and ways to improve the team's decisions. Individuals from the team have had 1-on-1 sessions with the coaches, but overall the focus has been on building up the team's play.

UBC has what it takes to win CSL. They knew how to win long before we entered their lives - but the competition is getting fierce. There have already been some exciting games to avoid elimination; including a squeaky-close eighty-minute Game 2 win against the #11 seed, University of Massachusetts. Players on the UBC team agree that the coaching sessions have sharpened their edge and improved their chances. 

For us at DotaCoach.org, facilitating and sponsoring this mentorship feels good. We can help young local players grow through competition while helping team ChW grow as professional coaches. We're looking forward to more upsets from Team UBC!  Tune in to CSL on Twitch to watch with us.

If you have an amateur or collegiate team which would benefit from coaching, tweet us @DotaCoachDotOrg.

Thursday, April 9, 2015

DotaCoach Advertising Campaign

Hey Coaches!

To date, our students have rated their satisfaction with your lessons as 4.7 out of 5 stars. You're doing awesome, so we're doing what we can to inform players about the value that your coaching can bring them.

Today marks the first day of our advertising campaign targeting Dota players. Keep your eyes open for any of our 114 banners appearing on your favourite Dota sites!






Saturday, April 4, 2015

Wrapping up the Experiment

Earlier this year we announced the DotaCoach Progress Experiment. The idea was pretty simple: we felt coaching was a great way to improve your Dota skills, but we didn't have any proof. So we gave free coaching to nine students and measured their progress over eight weeks. Now that the experiment has concluded, we'll be publishing some data analysis on the results over the coming weeks.

We're interested to hear what type of data you would like to see on this. Obviously we'll be showing things like MMR, KDA, GPM, XPM, and similar stats and how they changed over time. We also have a control group that we tracked -- applicants to the experiment who were not selected; we'll be including data from these players as well (anonymized, of course). But we'd like to know if there's anything non-obvious you'd like us to take a look at. We have all the match data that Dotabuff and the Dota Match History API provide for each of the players, so there's potential to do some interesting things. For example, one thing we're looking at is specifically how GPM improved for people when playing carry heroes, since GPM is more correlated with playing well for those heroes than it is for support heroes. Another might be: for the players who improved the most, which stats correlated most highly with their improvement; i.e. can I become better quicker by focusing on objectives, or decision making, or is improvement in last hitting a better precursor to in-game succcess?

We will be in contact with the individual players to get some qualitative feedback to help answer these questions in addition to the standard quantitative analysis, so even some slightly fuzzier questions are fair game. For example, we've already asked them about what type of coaching (live game, replay analysis, skills training in private lobby, etc.) they thought had the biggest impact.

You can leave any thoughts/suggestions you might have in the comments here, or email us: contact@dotacoach.org. Looking forward to hearing from you!
-Jay

Friday, February 13, 2015

Dota 2 Spanish Cheat Sheet

For those of you who play in North America, we frequently hear that you have trouble communicating with Spanish players on your team. We don't expect to solve this all at once, but our coach Glacius helped to write this helpful cheat sheet for understanding your Spanish comrades.

Let us know if you have any suggestions in the comments below.

English Spanish
Talking to Supports
Please buy the courier Por favor, compren courier
Please pull creeps now Por favor, pullea los creeps
Buy wards Compren wards
Ward here Wardea aqui
Don't push the lane No pushees la linea
Leading your Team
Go Vamos
Don't Fight No peleen
Push top Pushea top
Push bottom Pushea bot
Push middle Pushea mid
Defend top Defiende top
Farm top Farmea top
Don't give up No se rindan
Finish fast Termine rápido
Let's Rosh Vamos a Roshan
Performance
Sorry, that was my fault Perdon, fue mi culpa
Fuck you. Uninstall Dota Tienes unos ojos hermosos


Use of the chat wheel is automatically translated - but if you want to say it over chat:

English Spanish
Well PlayedBien jugado
Good jobBuen trabajo
MissingMiss
CareCuidado
Get BackBack
StunStunea
HelpAyuda

For interactions with Peruvians only:

Peruvian Spanish English
Chibolo Dumb kid
Serrano Idiot
Niño rata Rat kid (used to describe kid in cyber cafe)




Monday, January 19, 2015

DotaCoach Progress Experiment Update

Thank you for all of your applications! We are reviewing them now and will be contacting the selected participants in the next few days. We received nearly 100 applications, so if you aren't selected it's most likely just bad luck. There's a good chance we'll conduct additional experiments in the future, so keep tracking your MMR on Dota 2 Toplist and if we don't select you for this one we'll reach out to you to see if you're interested in participating in future experiments when they happen.

Have a great week,
Jay

Sunday, January 11, 2015

Announcing the DotaCoach Progress Experiment - win two months of free coaching from our top coaches!

We're giving away two free months of coaching to 5-10 students, to measure the effectiveness of coaching. Read on if you're interested in being one of the lucky students or if you'd like to know more about the experiment.

Since launching DotaCoach last month, we've conducted over 50 lessons through the site. Reviews from students have been overwhelmingly positive. But while we love to hear that people enjoy using the site, that isn't enough for us. We want to know whether we're actually helping to make people better Dota players.

This is a difficult but important question to answer. We've considered a few different ways of approaching the question directly as part of the service, for example asking students to track their own MMR, or building a bot to track it for them. But they all suffered from being invasive, unreliable, or both.

We were mulling this over during the holidays, when Kenn had a great idea: Why don't we conduct a full-blown experiment to measure progress? We'll give away free coaching to a few interested participants, measure their progress over time, and gather their feedback. They'll get free lessons from some of our top coaches, and we can measure whether (and how) coaching is effective. We both loved this idea, and so the first ever DotaCoach Progress Experiment was born.

Here's how it works

Throughout this week we'll be collecting sign-ups from any student interested in participating. A week from today, on Jan 19th, we'll select the participants and begin the experiment. We'll choose 5-10 students, aiming to select a reasonable distribution of skill, experience, and play style.

Every week, each student will receive coaching and play ranked games to help track their progress. To ensure a reasonable sample size, we'd like each student to get about three lessons per week. While this may not be possible every week, we want to find students with relatively stable schedules to help minimize noise and increase the likelihood that they'll be able to participate for the full duration of the experiment.

For quantitative measurement, we'll look at everything available -- MMR, win rate, GPM, XPM, K/D/A, etc. MMR will obviously be the most important measure; while we know not everyone is a huge fan of it, we're fairly confident that it's the best way, on average, to measure a player's skill -- certainly better than anything else currently available.

Every two weeks, we'll gather a few pieces of qualitative feedback from the students to help supplement and give context to the quantitative measurements.

The coaches

Our coaches will be integral to this experiment. We want to use a mix of coaching assignments in the experiment: some people will be assigned to a single coach, while others will use our regular matchmaking queue to find the best coach available at their convenience. This should give insight into the importance of things like coach consistency, long-term lesson plans, etc. We'll pay our coaches the same as we would for regular, paid lessons.

While all of our approved coaches will be eligible to participate, particularly for those students using the matchmaking queue, we wanted to highlight a few of the coaches who will be participating in the experiment:


Bot-Easy
MMR: 6200

Our highest rated coach to-date, Bot-Easy has been playing Dota for 9 years, including 2 years as a pro in WC3 Dota.



SevenThings
MMR: 5400

SevenThings started with WC3 Dota, before moving on to HoN and now Dota 2. He has a passion for coaching, having coached for years before joining DotaCoach. He recently won the inaugural Red Bull LAN Seattle, defeating pro Jimmy "DeMoN" Ho in the process.



Masakary
MMR: 6400

Masakary is a 22 year-old student from Romania. His team Balkan Bears Corleone (BBC) is trying to break into the pro scene and has recently defeated pro teams including Moscow 5 Int. In the last few months he has been ranked as high as #12 on the Dota 2 EU Leaderboards. Masakary has been playing Dota in its various forms for 8 years and loves coaching others.


 

How to sign up

To apply, ensure you meet at least the required criteria below, and then fill out this form.

Must haves:
  • You speak English fluently. English does not need to be your first language, but all of our coaching is done in English, so you should be comfortable enough with spoken English that this will not impair your learning.
  • Your MMR is relatively stable. Your ranked winrate should be close to 50%. If it isn't, your MMR might still be adjusting to match your skill level and it would skew the experiment.
  • You must be willing to do at least three coaching sessions per week. Occasional scheduling issues aside, we expect you to be able to maintain this for almost every week, otherwise the sample size will be too small and the results will not be nearly as useful. If you want to do more than three, that's great -- we'll pay for up to five sessions per week.
  • You must sign up for Dotabuff and Dota 2 Toplist if you haven't already. This helps us to track stats and MMR.

Nice to haves:
  • Your MMR is between 1000 and 4500. Most of our students fall into this range, and we want our test sample to be relevant to our users.  
  • You play at 10+ games of Dota per week. We want people who are already playing consistently, because we want people who will continue to play consistently during the experiment.
  • You already track your MMR via Dota 2 Toplist or some other MMR tracker.

That's all for now. We're looking forward to reading your applications! As always, let us know if you have any questions or comments.
-Jay and Kenn
DotaCoach.org