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Company of Heroes

How to mentor

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# 1AfTeRShoCk Aug 8 2008, 11:11 AM
Many people become mentors thinking it's a relatively simple job: watch a few replays, give a couple of tips, watch your mentee gain a level or 2.
This is, in some ways, true, but to be a good and effective mentor there's a bit more to it.

Relationships- Okay, it sounds a little cliché but building a good friendship with your mentee is very important, even crucial perhaps. Friends work better together. By not only spending time on improving but also just chatting and getting to know each other, you'll both relax.
Often the mentee can be nervous because he doesn't want to frustrate his mentor due to making stupid mistakes he knows he made, likewise, the mentor can feel nervous because he doesn't want to sound patronising or overexpectant. Getting along as friends overcomes these boundaries and lets you get on with the teaching.

Consistency- In my view, the most important aspect of mentoring is consistency. There is nothing worse than going through 2 weeks of steady mentoring only for the mentor or mentee to vanish off the face of the earth. The mentor will feel as if he has wasted his time if his mentee disappears, the mentee hasn't made a habit of what his mentor has tried to teach him and will fall back in old habits, if his mentor disappears.

You don't have to mentor every day, but having a couple of set times in a week is a good way to go about it. 2 hours on Monday and another 2 on Thursday and a game thrown in here and there when you're both online is a good start. Some mentors can offer more time than others, we all have our obligations besides mentoring, but as long as you can keep it going and are a little flexible, you'll be fine.

Finish the program- The program runs for the amount of time it does because it takes more than just a week or 2 to turn lessons into habits. Often the mentee will think they are doing what they've been told correctly, but there can be misunderstanding or just the simple fact of not getting it, so repeating the same topics time and time again, is needed, even though it's boring. Leaving early is a good way of wasting a lot of time.

Now, for some mentoring techniques:

Watch replays- This may sound simple, but watching replays is one of the main ways to set about improvement. If you're not used to critically watching replays, then don't go through a replay too fast and try to keep an open mind.
What I mean is that you shouldn't watch a replay while thinking “now he builds a rifleman, he upgrades to BARs”, but instead look at it like “he's building a riflemen squad, is that a wise decision? Is that a good use of his 270 manpower or should he have used it for teching. Could have have built it earlier (floating resources)? Now he gets BARs, why does he get BARs? He has no indication whatsoever that his enemy is going for Grenadiers and may be basing it on past experience. If a puma comes out he loses. It's better to wait with BARs and tech to motor pool and get a WSC if he sees grenadiers”.
Always try to think one step ahead as if it's you playing the game, try to get into your mentees mind and find out whether the reasons he has for what he does are good.
Of course there's also more basic things you can find in a replay such as not reacting fast enough or not flanking properly.
You can also watch replays together with your mentee. What this will do is make sure your mentee knows what you're talking about and sees his mistake for himself. Some mentees will be able to recall a certain replay in good detail and won't need this, for others this may be needed very much because otherwise your advice is just not understood.
Also, if you are doing a written analysis, try to take pictures when it's needed, it will help the mentee understand.

Play against your mentee- This again, sounds simple, but giving your mentee a consistent opponent he needs to beat may very well be what he needs. For example, if you notice your mentee is having trouble with a particular strategy (be it medic bunkers, pg spam, rifles flanking his mgs), you're the ideal person to test it for him. Play him, time and time again, while recapping your games and just use the same strategy time and time again until he beats you.
As soon as he does this, switch around your strategy in one of your next games. This will teach him to adapt instead of relying on the fact he knows you use only one strategy. Being able to execute 2 different strategies with success is very important for this and it may be something for you to learn as well.

While playing, you can also talk to each other through ventrilo, where you can also give him tips while playing. This isn't needed though, you can recap the game after it as well. Talking while playing can be distracting for you, and if not for you, maybe it is for your mentee. Be sure to check.

An exception to this is when your mentee is vastly below you in skill level and playing him doesn't show any significant improvements, you'll have to try something different. You can try to play worse, even though this is hard for some. Seeing as you have superior micro, play a reactive game. If he builds a unit, you build a unit. When he techs, you tech. This will give a more complete game where you can analyse his regular early game a bit better.
The other option is of course to watch his replays against equals and comment on that. You can also set out some basic build orders if he doesn't have them by taking a screenshot (print screen button) and drawing things out in paint. Start from the ground up and teach him like that.

Thanks to Decs. for the contribution to the article. You can also refer to this topic for some additional notes by some experienced mentors.

If you have anything to add, feel free to post it here, or if you have any questions, just post them and I'm sure they will be answered.

This post has been edited by AfTeRShoCk: Aug 8 2008, 11:12 AM

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