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Interview with Valorant Performance Coach, Aplox

Interview with Valorant Performance Coach, Aplox
Written by: Yoann

Yoann: Hey, hello everyone! Today I’m with Aplox, Valorant coach and mentor! 

How are you, and how would you introduce yourself?


Aplox: I’m good, thanks Yoann! Hey, I’m Aplox, I’m 27 and the performance coach for Rizon, in the DACH regional league. I’m very interested in tac FPS strategy as well as human performance!

Yoann: Great! When and how did you get into coaching?


Aplox: I really started coaching back in 2019 in Overwatch, I was also doing some coaching when I was playing in 2017, but I felt that I capped out as a player, and I thought I could have more impact as a coach. It was a natural transition from being a player, to becoming a coach!

Yoann: That’s interesting! What's your role as a performance Coach? How can you help the talents you are working with?


Aplox: My role covers a number of things. As a performance coach, it’s about maximizing performance and minimizing the risk of losing because of the human aspect of the game. A standard coach will try to minimize the risk of you losing the game, by how you play.

Yoann: Which teams or players did you work with so far on Valorant?


Aplox: I’ve worked with a lot of different teams! I started during the Beta, working with Destrian, who’s now playing for Vitality. I also worked with Lohan, he was a player at that time, but he’s now a coach for Joblife. More recently, I’ve been working with BigTime, who’s on Global Esports, and Keiko, who’s with Team Liquid.

Yoann: That’s great! How important is it to have a performance coach in an esports team?


Aplox: It depends on the level of the team. If you are in Tier 2, and you’re not thinking about performance, then you’re leaving a lot on the table. So much of what we do now is about translating what you’re doing in scrims to official matches. That’s where a performance coach can bring a lot. Performance has to be central to your philosophy, if it’s not, you should have someone dedicated to this role.

For Tier 1, there are a lot of teams that are failing because they don’t have a performance coach. When you’re operating at that level, I think that it’s a failure to not have one. 

Yoann: How important is having a great team environment? How do you build chemistry in a team?


Aplox: Team culture is essential to success. Selecting the right people is key, you start building chemistry before you start building the team. You need to know what your goal is, and what kind of people you want to work with. That’s the central point of the philosophy. Not only playing the game, but also talking about the game is important, and doing other things to get to know each other of course. 


It’s important to really know your teammates’ lives, where they come from, and what made them who they are today. These are the things that really bond you together, you really get a feel for who someone is. In lower-tier teams, they don’t realize how important it really is. 

Yoann: You are currently working on the "Valorant Player's Handbook", what can you tell us about this project?


Aplox: Esports has always been a passion project for me, and I want to have an impact on the scene, bring value to people, and try to impact people’s lives positively. I don’t know how much longer I’m going to be able to do esports, so I thought it would be important to document the things that I’ve learned through the 7 years I’ve been involved in esports, trying to optimize my own performance. Through the lens of Valorant, I decided to write a handbook to enable players to maximize their learning and understand not only the game but also themselves. I also go in-depth about the strategy aspect of the game, a lot of the thought processes can be applied to across a broad spectrum of titles. The potential of impact is much larger than Valorant. 


Yoann: I have met a lot of talents willing to become pro players, coaches, or casters, and I think that could help them tremendously. 


Aplox: Yeah, I feel like access to information is a big challenge that people have. My idea was to create a reference manual where you could find an explanation of how everything works. 

Yoann: Amazing! Let’s now get to the Quick Questions part, I will ask you ten quick questions, and you’ll have to answer as fast as possible! Ready?


Aplox: Yeah!

Yoann: Phantom or Vandal?


Aplox: Vandal!

Yoann: What's your favorite map?


Aplox: Haven!

Yoann: What's your favorite agent?


Aplox: Jett!

Yoann: What's your favorite skin collection?


Aplox: I like the latest Valorant Champions bundle!

Yoann: What's your best memory working in esports?

Aplox: Winning my first Lan on stage!

Yoann: What’s your favorite team?


Aplox: Fnatic!

Yoann: Who are the coaches who inspired you?


Aplox: Probably DDK!

Yoann: Can you name the eight teams that won an international event?


Aplox: Fnatic, Loud, Gambit, Optic… 

Yoann: You also have Sentinels, Ascend, FPX and EG! What kind of music do you listen to to get in the zone?


Aplox: I don’t, it’s just a distraction. If you’re trying to focus, and you’re listening to music, that’s not high performance.

Yoann: Can you quote a voice line from your favorite agent?


Aplox: That’s not something I pay attention to, but I’m pretty sure she says “Knives out”!

Yoann: I’m not sure about this one haha! Let’s now get back to the standard questions! 

What are your hobbies or passions aside from coaching?


Aplox: Fitness is very high on my priority list, I’m very passionate about trying to keep myself in shape. I’m a chronic learner, I spent seven years at the university to get my Ph.D, and a lot of different things interest me when it comes to science!

Yoann: How do you feel about the new generation of talents?


Aplox: There are pros and cons I guess. I think there are a lot of new players incredibly mechanically gifted, Keiko, for example. The challenge we have now is that performance is not a priority for a lot of people, younger kids in the scene in particular. I want to have an impact on the scene and bring that awareness to pro players. You can’t sleep 4 hours a night, you can’t eat like shit, and you can’t never exercise. This is going to impact you in the short and the long term.

Yoann: Which team or player would you like to work with in the future?


Aplox: Boaster is someone that I look up to, he’s someone that I’d love to interview and pick his brain. He has so much knowledge far beyond just the game, he’s clearly a high-performance person. Both his in-game and emotional intelligence are very high. That makes him a very interesting player, I’d love to work with him for sure!

Yoann: What advice would you give someone willing to become a mentor or a coach?


Aplox: Don’t be afraid to ask for help. The lack of resources is what makes it so challenging, people aren’t going out and asking for help. Seek the knowledge that you don’t have, you have to be open-minded and willing to challenge your own beliefs.

Yoann: That’s amazing! What are your short and long-term ambitions as a coach?


Aplox: In the short term, I want my team to perform to the highest level, to prove ourselves in the league. The players don’t have a lot of history, and we’ve been underestimated, I want my players to show the level they can bring!


In the long term, my ambitions are much bigger. I don’t see myself working as a coach in Tier 1, I want to have a larger impact than that. Ideally, owning my own esports company in the future. I obviously need money to do that, that’s why I’m working a full-time job aside from esports. I want to support my own team and to do it right because a lot of people aren’t. I want to bring esports to the level of traditional sports.

Yoann: That’s so cool! Is there anything else you would like to say?


Aplox: If you found this interesting, then please go and listen to my podcasts, I think it will bring you a lot of information. Look up Aplox Podcasts on YouTube, and you’ll find me!

Yoann: Amazing, thank you so much for your time! I wish you the best for the future!


Aplox: Thank you!

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