It’s quiet and there is a thrilling tension in the air. The hall is big an bright and on the field shine black objects, waiting for what comes like a green flawless soccer pitch just before the whistle. The sound of racing drones fill the air while in the background a game event fades into the background.
You can feel this is something special, something never happened before, something historical is about to go down.
We are at dreamhack, s2n vs syg, the final, one of the most memorable
Matches in European Speedqb history living in the minds of many.
A few months later covid has us all locked up until today. What could it
have been different since then.
Second2none, 4 time European champions have been winning tournaments since years and suffered this year with major injuries, a changing roster and an age that is close to being the oldest players in the league out there they still managed to win 2 trophies and not always without resistance.
Since Dreamhack a lot has changed, a second team, new members, New field, new injuries, traveling to Italy and winning a few trophies ever since Bunde.
What did it take and what goes through the mind of S2N junkie.
That I’m very pleased with the results we have booked until now. Many of the players and supporters around the world don’t even know where we are coming from. And pleases us more because we know we can do much more then what the people/players nowadays have seen from us. We are still learning and developing our talent and desire to achieve our goals.
Can you describe it what went through your mind playing against SYG?
Well, I’ve known SYG from back in 2015 when someone told me … Junkie … check these guys out. At that time it really didn’t say much because all I saw in the video was sliding and shooting full auto. For me there was zero skill but then it started in 2019 … I did some research and came across (again) team SYG. Watching their videos from the tournament in 2018 just to see what we can adapt.
So it build everything up. They showed themselves in Bunde (Deemoe and Sapo) to support the scene and a year later we were battling it out on the field. It was SYG vs S2N … the so hyped, experienced team and we were just the beginning team (Underdog) that came back from the losers bracket. It was the most intens finals I think we ever witnessed. I have much respect for the team SYG because they’re still in the top teams in my list.
What was the crucial strategy in that final as SYG seemed to had the upper hand.
They had the upper hand because if we lost the game it was game over. They had to lose twice, so they could effort losing a game. We were coming from the losers bracket. We already lost 1 game and it was double elimination. The one thing we could do because our flag runner in that time was Joker and he injured himself during a run against TRS (first game on sunday).
So we had just 1 tactic and that was sending Bente to the towers. So basically a 4-1 strategy. But it all went down of what happened on the field because I was the second attacker. I started at the home bunker and started analysing the game and where I saw a space to be a pain in the ass for the other team … that was my part.
Could you draw the match out on paper?
I can draw a match out on paper but my role will never be accurate.
In what way did you see the sports evolve ever since?
The sport evolved when everyone saw Legion play in Bunde back in 2019. Its a team with paintball experience and we have to knowledge that they are a good team, team we can learn from, team that I would send out to fight at any tournament. It’s also because of them that the rules are so hard and tight because everyone sees and take notes… Even the organisation and NOW … it’s almost on point. The rules are very different, the refs are well prepared, the players know the game, the know how to adapt, …
How does that effect the way you see the game and how you train?
I have to say … because I played on the highest level of football/soccer my mind of reading the game is very different and I adapt my talent in this game. The way we train is different then how others train. People say we are predictable … but until this day we’re still on top even when we are “predictable”. There is just a very strong base in this group and like I said before… we are still growing because none of us have paintball experience what other teams do have. What we have are good shooters and that’s where our focus is… training to be faster with our aim, training to react at certain movements on the field and ofcourse … communication.
I remember a game against the Reapers, at the EC2021? If I am correct that S2N actually lost. What happened there?
I think you’re reffering to the tournament we played at Geldermalsen. We ended 3rd. We had an OFF day because again our runner “Joker” injured himself, Tsjoeptsjoep wasn’t there, Phano was transfered to the hospital because the hose line of the hpa exploded against his eye. It was really a bad moment for the team. Eventho we won against Reapers in our first encounter en went to the finals. There we lost against Legion and then against Reapers.
If teams have an unpredictable way of playing, how can you possibly train on that?
We can’t! Last tournaments were difficult because we can analyse a team but eventually they change against us. So for us it’s too difficult to make up a plan. We just have to believe in our talent and players that have their jobs and trying to execute them on the field.
And, you cannot train on improvisation only or can you?
Improvise is something not everyone can do. First you need to know yourself in what kind of condition you are. Phisically prepared? Visualising the game, reading the game, … if those things are the ones you dominate very good … then you can improvise because you see certain plays infront of you while thinking ahead like: If I do this … 2 players will focus on me, so player x can move up. Just to give you a simple example.
How does that change the way SpeedQB teams should level up their game? Compared to info from straight video analysis and looking for patterns to predict the game?
It’s always difficult to analyse a game through video. On tv or video it’s always easier to watch it and give an opinion. Once you’re on the field there is more coming at you. The only way to improve is by playing pick up games. Lots of players from other teams go out and play. You see new stuff happening, you see yourself doing other things and this is the kind of way that you learn the most.
Most often top teams, for example in soccer, Liverpool or Real Madrid they have to deal with teams that bring that extra heat because of the sake only, to beat them. Is that the same for S2N?
Yes! We know we are the team to beat and by knowing that is what keeps us sharp. The one thing that is certain is that the teams are getting better and better. We are also not getting any younger (laugh). Maybe me and my brother are on of the oldest in the pro div
How do you cope with that extra pressure, while having injuries and limited training sessions? Does it effect the team?
Well, it does make us mentally stronger knowing we’re standing on the edge of a cliff. The injuries we had in 2021 were indeed very heavy, … eventho people started thinking we were just playing mind games but our fysiek was really not on point.
Bente is playing this sport aswel as playing for his other club (Football) so that his muscles are burned … you can tell that, Rebel has a very irregular working hours, Marco is on the heavy side and is working to be better in shape, TsjoepTsjoep that’s also a bit a on the heavy side did strungle with muscle injuries and me doing the same … combining football isn’t smart anymore. We did have no training after Italy and that was since october due to injuries.
Do you have online training meetings? if so, does it help?
We often make calls and talk about how we gonna handle the game or tournament.
What does a player needs to be scouted by S2N, what properties should he or she have, for which position.
Like I said: we’re not getting any younger so we definitely are looking for young talents. What I think a player should have…? He needs to be agile and explosive. If this player have these kind of moves he can be trained in the good way.
At the last match at Realstrike, I noticed S2n’s after the breakout formation often is the same shape. The way of breakout is Is that correct?
Yes and no, We have different plays but maybe start at the same spot. (wink)
How did soccer change your perspective and approach to the game in terms of tactics?
Soccer did make a huge impact in this sport but also discipline. It’s easier to work with people that respect your knowledge but certainly when they know some people have withnessed a lot more in sports. Nothing comes in a nice plate. You have to work for it.
In soccer there are different stages in a game, and certain formations or roles, or lines. How does that compare to other sports?
Its the same here. You have defenders, attackers. It’s how you attack the game. You have the talker, you have the speed, you have the versatile, you have the striker, …
Do you prefer, a group of individuals with quality or a tight team?
It depends of different factors: I rather play with individuals with the same mindset then a group of friends that are tight. Because if one of those players that play in a tight team gets selected by the national team, he’s on his own and needs to show them what you really can do without his teammates. And if you don’t perform well, somebody else will take your spot. So eventually it’s an individual sport.
U have some new blood coming in, on what positions do they have to fit in and why?
We have 2 new players. One of them is an attacker and the other one starts in a defencing spot but when he sees an opportunity he definitly will advance forward.
There goes a lot of thought into the game, how do you transfer that into something simple and understandable to the players?
repeat until it goes flawless.
What is the S2N philosophy, in terms like, what roles and spaces should be controlled and what lines should be covered in what way ?
It’s a difficult one because I know we can do so much more but due to experience I feel we’re can learn much more. It’s also important that players need to challenge themselves and not expect some will handle it.
If you had to describe S2N’s style of playing and philosophy how would you describe it , in terms of positional play and the balance between attacking and defending.
I think S2N is a very attacking team but it really doens’t show. The only really
Johan Cruyff said, soccer is played with the head and not with the feet.
Can you relate to that? Is thinking more important that know how and were to shoot and move?
100% … how I play the game is misleading and deseaving without even shooting.
The future of S2N, without the older guys ? What is up next for S2N and Elias and You?
I think is that I will continue with the team and be more into coaching but also coach others. So like a workshop.
What sports inspire you as far as tactical ideas or technical ideas
Individual sport: Tennis, ping pong … Teamsport: NFL.
Are there old sketches of field tactics you might want to share with us?
yes ofcourse … I have a big map.
Did you had any tactical move or strategy that really didn’t work out and had a laugh about?
Yes, in the finals against Legion. They were with 3 and we knew they were going for the flag. So, I thought it was clear for my teamm8 what to do … but after watching it back I was: huh? So the planned wasn’t executed eventho we won … but that can’t happen but it did.
What is the best match in other sports, like soccer, you like and why?
Well, I used to watch a lot of football when we still had great players like the brazilian players Ronaldinho, Ronaldo, Rivaldo, Roberto Carlos,
Others like Nedved, Van Nistelrooy, Iniesta, Xavi, Guti, Raul, Casillas, Maldini, Nesta, Cannavaro, Del Piero, Inzagi, Crespo, Kaka, Juninho, Luc Nilis, Pred’homme, Robinho …. The sad news is now that the generation of C7 and Messi is getting to an end. I don’t like the football knowadays.
What would you advise other teams?
Start doing sparring sessions with other teams