Jun 16, 2023
Coach Spotlight - Alex Baccheschi
Alex Baccheschi (he/him), is the Super Smash Bros Ultimate (SSBU) Esports Coach at Heartland Community College (HCC). He started in this role in October 2022 and has been growing the team ever since.
“I got involved in my local smash season in Dekalb around 2015. I've made some of my best memories and met some of my closest friends through esports,” said Baccheschi, “I learned just how much I love to compete and I've grown so much as a person from it! There is a HUGE learning curve to esports and I couldn't have gotten this far without the support of my local scene.”
Currently, HCC has about 30 students competing in esports for the upcoming season.
“We've got some incredible talent coming to Heartland. We're going to be an even bigger threat in the league than we already were,” said Baccheschi, “We'll have some rivalries on our own team that is going to be fun to watch as they try to out-improve each other both in the NJCAAE and our local tournaments!”
HCC has weekly practices where they practice new tech and bounce ideas off of each other. While championship matches can be stressful, they prep for those just like any other set. The team reviews VODs, watches other players, and talks through any worries or concerns that the player may have before going into it. Baccheschi explained how they ask their players what they feel they need going into a championship in order to perform well.
Have any of your players' growth or stories stood out to you as a coach/coordinator? Why?
“Luke (LSW) Sherman's growth has stood out to me the most. His drive to compete was always high, but he really hit his stride last season. He's always willing to take feedback, ask questions, and we've had a great back-and-forth. His way of thinking has changed and his game-awareness is higher than I've ever seen. He's grown a lot and he's still got a ton of potential,” said Baccheschi.
He also expressed the challenges that come with collegiate esports as well. Balancing school, personal lives, and esports can be a big challenge. Baccheschi feels it is important that students get their schoolwork done and enjoy their lives outside of esports as well.
“There's a lot of pressure for our players to succeed, so it's a main goal of mine to act as support in any way that I can,” said Baccheschi.
The biggest challenge for Baccheschi so far has been trying to find the way each player learns and takes advice. Whether it be a player's character, the way they see the game, or even the ways a player has fun in the game, it's all unique.
“One of my favorite things about being a coach is talking to my players and figuring out the style and ‘ego’ that each person plays with and using that to guide them in the right direction,” said Baccheschi.
What advice do you have for people who are thinking of getting into esports?
“It doesn't matter if you're good, pick a game that you have fun with and go from there! Esports is a great place to make friends and is incredibly fun! I've been playing Smash for almost nine years and I've made some of my best friendships and memories from it. Take your time, don't beat yourself up, and don't forget to have fun,” said Baccheschi, “The NJCAAE is incredible! I would've been lucky to have an opportunity like this when I was in college. It's been so fun both as a coach and a player in the intramural to play against schools all over the nation! I look forward to participating in this upcoming season!”
Baccheschi has always loved gaming. Pokemon was his favorite game growing up, but SSBU was his favorite game from high school. He started competing at 16 and it's been his favorite game to play since. Outside of esports, Coach Baccheschi loves learning about fish. The octopus is his favorite type of sea creature because they are incredibly smart and able to be played with.