“paperfairy, why do you have coaching legal?”

For this article, coaching will be defined as “using an resource outside of the set, such as a laptop, or a human peer in order to gain a mental advantage during a tournament set”.

And for reference, as of the time of this writing, the official GVS coaching rule is as follows:

Players are permitted, once per set, to consult an outside resource, such as a coach, notebook, cell phone, or otherwise. This “timeout” may not exceed 30 seconds. This will be handled at the tournament organizer’s discretion, and is subject to the forfeiture of a game or in extreme/repeated cases, a set.

I also don’t feel like discussing my personal views on coaching. I think it should be legal, but regulated, but I REALLY don’t care too much one way or another. As a tournament organizer, it doesn’t impact me very much, and it while it may impact the results of my events, it would never be allowed in a fashion where one had an unclear or unfair advantage.

The problem with banning coaching is that I can’t regulate it. Let’s say I placed a blanket ban on all coaching — players cannot speak to anybody outside of a tournament set with the exception of the tournament organizer. This would solve a singular problem… but people can be resourceful and grimy when they want to be.

Sure, Dabuz claims he’s checking his notes… but how do we know he’s not talking to his coach on Discord? Image: RPaul

If somebody tried to circumvent the rules and consult another person without the tournament organizer’s knowledge, there’s not much I could do to stop them or even find out about it. And keep in mind, tournaments are not just about the stream games. Tournaments can be thousands upon thousands of players, usually with very limited tournament staff. There’s no reasonable way for tournament organizers to be able to verify that a cell phone is only be used to play music to keep a player focused, or that a laptop only has notes on it.

Don’t forget, the harder event staff try to crack down on “illegal tournament use of an electronic device”, the harder players are going to attempt to circumvent the rules to gain an advantage. Why drive an arms race into the black when I can easily steer the ship in the other direction?

…we could start holding tournaments in Faraday cages. I’m down. Image: Sibling

So rather than try to control it, I simply allow and regulate it. It’s not a matter of personal opinion, but rather, it’s answering the question “What ruling can I create and enforce on a weekly basis that also scales well on a national level?”. This is the basis for… most of my decisions. So far, it’s working out pretty well.

EDIT: Facebook comments made me realize that I didn’t address this topic comprehensively. I’ll try to break it down simpler here:

Tons of players use their phones to listen to music. Players will often change songs between games. If I ban coaching entirely, players could just communicate with their coaches via cell phone, under the guise of “looking for a new song”.

I have absolutely no way to regulate or control this. And if I allow people to use cell phones or notebooks, then there is no good, logical reason to disallow laptops either.

Hopefully this clears a few things up. Thanks for reading. ❤


Happy to take any feedback you guys have on this. I can most easily be contacted on Twitter or Discord (paperfairy#2947). I’ll likely ignore the comment wars on Facebook. but will post there for visibility.

If you have a topic that you’d like to see me talk about, let me know. I’m going to try to post a new entry once a week.