Today’s Guest: Zeke
As we gathered for an open conversation, Zeke Ledbetter aka Zeke, a renowned Valorant coach and team manager, offered insights into the current professional landscape, the path to becoming a professional player, and the unique hurdles encountered when managing a Valorant team. His first-hand knowledge, shaped by his own journey into the esports scene, offers invaluable guidance for those dreaming of similar careers.
Getting into the Scene
In Valorant, where precise battles and strategic gameplay dominate, Zeke, a seasoned Esports manager, shares his valuable experiences and insights on managing teams in this competitive realm with me. As an ex semi-pro Overwatch player and former president of the University of South Dakota’s ESPORTS program, Zeke brings a wealth of knowledge and passion to his current role as a manager in Valorant, specifically handling fluid gaming, WTP, and Team Revenge.
Valorant Esports is a very dynamic setting. Each team presents its own unique set of challenges. Zeke stresses the importance of confronting problems head-on and resolving them promptly to avoid negative outcomes. As a manager, Zeke ensures open lines of communication within the team, fostering a supportive environment where players can focus on their gameplay without being burdened by other concerns.
Effort and dedication are recurring themes in Zeke’s management philosophy. “Players should try to maintain their focus on the game, ensuring they avoid complacency during winning streaks” Zeke says. Firmly believing that players who aspire to become professional need to live and act like professionals even before reaching that level.
While Zeke harbors dreams of working for a prestigious franchise team like Cloud 9, his current goal is centered on helping others achieve their dreams of going pro. As he is no longer an active player, Zeke has embraced the role of an enabler, guiding and supporting aspiring players on their path to success.
Building a Team
Talent acquisition for a team is important, “Scouting for that talent is a crucial aspect of building a compatible team” he states. Zeke suggests that effective scouting involves engaging with current players and understanding who they respect and enjoy playing with. Within the tight-knit community of high-ranked players, mutual respect and compatibility are important factors to consider when forming a cohesive team.
Zeke’s journey into Esports management was coincidental. Originally tasked with recruiting a Valorant team for an organization, he found himself transitioning into the role of manager for the team he had assembled. Emphasizing the learning opportunities and experiences gained through Esports management, Zeke emphasizes the significance of active involvement across diverse platforms like Twitter, Discord, and the invaluable Gankster. These platforms serve essential roles in scouting players, arranging scrims, and fostering connections within the Esports community.
With the fast-evolving Valorant Esports scene, Zeke’s advice stands out for aspiring managers looking to advance into higher tiers. He encourages them to take the plunge, learn from their experiences, and grow as leaders within the dynamic and competitive landscape of Valorant. With Gankster as an indispensable tool, aspiring managers can streamline their processes and focus on what matters most – helping their teams move to higher tiers in Valorant Esports success.