The Shanghai Dragons are one of the better known teams in Blizzard’s hit eSport, Overwatch League. Unfortunately for the Dragons, the team’s notoriety comes from being the only team yet to secure a single victory in league play.
While the Dragons aren’t the only team in Overwatch League that’s struggling, they’re markedly the team that’s having the most difficulty in improving. It’s hard enough on team morale that they’ve yet to secure a single victory, but when you add on the fact that they’re clearly outclassed in each match and have yet to win even 10 maps, it’s just downright depressing. The Dragons are showing improvement and have expressed a fierce desire to not let their fans down, yet their map win-rate sits at a dismal fifteen percent.
You can’t help but feel for the Dragons. They’re a group of young kids who’re living halfway across the world away from their family and friends, they’re under an incredible amount of pressure and all they’ve met with thus far is failure. But there’s hope on the horizon.
Shanghai Dragons has announced 4 new players: Sky, Geguri, Fearless and Ado recently, and here is the status we want to share with the community. 4 of them are expected to have an visa interview on 3/15, and arrived in the US before 3/31. Please stay tuned for any more updates.
— Shanghai Dragons (@ShanghaiDragons) March 9, 2018
Four new players will be added to the roster, three of which are from Korea. Another big change is the removal of controversial head coach Chen “U4” Congshan.
So while the Dragons have a lot of changes on the horizon, what’s the organization doing now to address the incredible stress and low morale plaguing its players? In a recent interview with Unikrn Shanghai Dragons General Manager Van was asked about what efforts the team’s leadership has taken to boost morale, “We haven’t had a win yet, which makes it difficult to boost team’s morale. We usually work on that from following aspects:
- Give our players some opportunities to vent, and take them away from professional play and Overwatch temporarily.
- Talk to our players on mentality issues, to relax them for incoming matches.
- The coaching team discusses issues displayed in the matches, providing solutions which greatly encourages our players and boosts their confidence.
Apart from the above, we have outings for team building, as well as parties with other teams. All of these help build the team’s morale. In the future, we are going to have a fitness course and other activities that are beneficial to building a team. We’ve also hired a sports psychologist who will be working with our players soon.”
As a fan of Overwatch League you practically breathe a sigh of relief in knowing that the Dragons’ players mental needs are being addressed. The Dragons are the only regional team from China in Overwatch League, they’re in a foreign country and they’ve met with nothing but failure thus far. The stress and mental toll such an experience takes on a person has to be quite substantial. Even with success in Overwatch League, there are still the pressures that come with being thrust into the spotlight on an international scale, which would be difficult for anyone to navigate, especially a young person. I hope we see other teams follow the Dragons’ example in getting their players’ physical and mental health needs met.
With two and a half stages left in the first inaugural season, there’s a lot of Overwatch left to play and hopefully the Dragons can find score some victories before it’s over.