Rusty Glaze – Interview

In a must-read interview, Rusty Glaze, coach of San Diego Dynasty, discusses the complex method he uses to lead the most successful paintball team in the history of the game. Get a glimpse behind one of the best minds in paintball, as he sits down with his former teammate and PBA host Matty Marshall, to talk about the upcoming PSP event, which takes place at CPX Sports Park next weekend June 20th -22nd.  

If you’re interested in getting better, or helping your team, there are lessons in the interview you don’t want to miss!

 

Rusty, congrats on your win from MAO. How challenging was that layout for you as a coach?

Thank you, it’s nice to return back to coaching after missing Dallas and get a welcome back victory! The MAO layout was challenging in a couple ways. First, it was a very strategic layout that required discipline, teamwork and in-game paintball IQ. Fortunately Dynasty has depth in all of those areas, but it still takes time to adapt the entire team to a method of how to win on that layout. Second, this layout saw the removal of the aggressive player who can win points alone; it was rare to see one player win a game alone, which typically happens on standard layouts. The guys who suffered on this layout were the players who are used to being aggressive and getting up the field alone. You can look over some of the teams on the stats to see players were hardly even utilized despite their abilities. The players who were successful on the MAO were dependent upon each other, good decision making, timing and communication.

It wasn’t easy street for Dynasty either, we had to start out by only playing certain players who I knew could adapt to the overall method of winning on this layout the fastest. It was done to prove the success of the method. Once everyone on our roster could see it unfold, they were sold and fell inline to what the team needed to do as a whole versus their individual desires. By the end of the event, we finished how we wanted and every player contributed across the board.

 

You seem to have a very complex coaching style. The type of info you give your players, from the actual plays to the things you say to them mid-game, and also in the planning for the event, sound much deeper than just, “Yeah, go the first stand-up bunker and shoot towards the snake.” or “Man, really wish you would play tighter”. Would you say that is true?

I would agree, the style of coaching I have is complex. I am a bit of paintball nerd and one of my strengths is to be analytic. Being analytic really helps out once I collect the data while scouting teams, which I then process and present to our team.  A lot of people think I am really good at the Xs and Os, they are right – I am. Gathering information: that’s just a fraction of the other things I do as a coach. Leadership, problem solving, personality management, mindset, maintaining forward focus, motivation, directing meetings and laughing at Alex Fraige’s jokes are part of the package as Dynasty’s head coach. I say head coach because my Assistant Coach is my brother Gator Glaze who watches all of the Paintball Access webcasts and gives me high-level feedback from outside the jungle. Most people don’t know this, outside the team, but my brother is in my ear via text and phone calls during the events.

The actual plays are not completely scripted by me – I guide the ship and keep us on topic during meetings but the plays are developed by the players on Dynasty. The plays are created to fit our abilities and goals, in order for us to execute those plays. Play calling is where I have more control, once we design a play and it’s in the book, our players are confident when I decide to use it.

 

Is your coaching style a function of the caliber of talent you’re working with on Dynasty, or is that the way you work with everyone?

It definitely does not hurt to have the talented and experienced players that I have, but don’t forget when I stopped playing and started coaching, Dynasty was at a low point and near a potential collapse of the team. We had to tune up the engine, apply a new paint job, put on some new sponsor logos (HK Army) and we were race ready again.

I have only coached Dynasty and the way I know the players and relate to them, I wouldn’t dare say I could drop into any program and be successful coaching another team. I have advantages here that I would not have other places. I am as much a part of this team as the players, I share in the wins and losses, I personally like each player and that is important to the interest I have in participating and working hard. I am not looking to test the theory out, I just want to be here and make every opportunity count.

Sometimes I do look at other pro teams and I think what I would do to make them successful or fix them, in fact I had to do that last year in order to win the PSP Series Title. I made two phone calls before World Cup: I called X-Factor and Infamous.

 

Who did you call on X-Factor and Infamous, and what exactly did you say to them?

I reached out to Scott Kemp of team X-Factor and Greg Pozzi of Infamous. Both of them have been long time friends of mine and Greg Pozzi actually introduced me to my wife Jessica.  Both calls were about an hour or so. I will summarize so that you don’t have to read for an hour.

Regarding penalties, everyone gets them, you say don’t get them but they happen. On Dynasty we not only prepare for them on the layout in practice but we also approach them differently than most teams. I saw that both X-Factor and Infamous would be crushed by getting a penalty. It would deflate the team and people would go out into the next point with such a poor attitude before the buzzer had even sounded. They were mentally defeated before the point. I told them they should look at the penalties as opportunities. They should get excited about the opportunity to turn the momentum in their favor. That’s the way Dynasty looks at it. Here’s why: When you are playing short-handed and win the point, that can make the other team upset for losing, because it takes away an advantage, it can throw them off their game. It is not a change in physical play, just a change in mindset.

Also we talked about momentum; both Infamous and X-Factor are momentum-based teams. When they are winning points, people are making moves, high fives and jokes. When they are losing points, it’s slow walks, sad faces, yelling and arguing. This is all happening within a single match from point to point. I told them they were soft and could only give punches but couldn’t take them. They both needed to learn to take the punches.

Single Points was the other main thing I discussed with them both. Often teams will get caught up in playing based on the scoreboard. The scoreboard is for the coach to call plays, not for players. I talked to them about times where they had good leads on teams but all the sudden stopped playing hard and gave up the leads because they played based on the score/lead. Not playing to score points. For us in the Champions Division, the match ends at seven points. Yet these guys were playing like it was race to three. Not only did they lose matches for this reason, they also missed making the final four by giving up much needed points. Often when they faced a weaker team, they assumed the win – they usually got the win but after a bloodbath of giving up points they needed for the points spread to make Sunday.

Dynasty learned this lesson as a team at the 2012 World Cup, where we went 3-1 and missed the finals by 1 point. We gave up points against weak teams, we also lost a game where we had the lead against X-Factor. It cost us that event but we learned a valuable lesson.

Scott Kemp must have recorded the phone call because everyone on the team got the message loud and clear. Plus I knew telling a bunch of Texans that they couldn’t take a punch would get their attention. Interestingly, at World Cup, X-Factor and Infamous were a near coin toss and separated by a single point to who went into the top 4. X-Factor was able to apply the feedback and an example of this was when they won a crucial penalty point against Houston Heat that put them into the final round – the game was tied 6-6; they did it using the strategy we discussed on the phone regarding penalties, it was a beautiful thing. Visit the PB Access on demand X-Factor vs Heat World Cup 2013 for reference.

I am not saying I had the magic pill or even trying to take success away from them; X-Factor played hard to get the win. All I am saying is I saw something and gave some sound advice to some of my friends.

 

It’s amazing you were willing to help other teams who you could be playing against one day for the win. That’s awesome man. And it’s true you helped, Archie said exactly that in interviews recently. How do you see this layout going down at the Chicago Open?

The layout to me looks like it will be a fast and furious layout. The aggressive players have been thrown a bone on this one. The back players will be able to shoot but have to make decisions after that, there won’t be as much hunkering down like the MAO layout. Anytime you put a snake that stretches the entire field, with plenty of steps to get into it, there will always be fast plays. The turn of the middle 50 is interesting; I have only ever seen that bunker change once before this layout. The dorrito side will play in leaps because that temple will make one-by-one steps difficult. I can’t say who will be successful on the layout yet. It’s too early and usually plays are not fully developed until after the final practice is done; so much unfolds as you keep playing it. At the MAO event, we learned new things even in the final game.

 

You guys look really great again this season, and you won the overall title last year. How do you think the rest of the field looks? Who do you think is the best team, other than Dynasty this season and why?

Thanks, the results were part of a long-term plan and a building process to get to where we are now today and where we are going. There were bumps in the road, but we held together as a team. This year, so many teams made roster changes and made their teams weaker, it’s hard to answer that question. There are a few teams I figured for consistent contenders from last year but the results have jumped around this season. There are no automatics anymore. Overall – I don’t pay to much attention to other teams unless we’re going to face them. I have changed a few things this year from last, I can’t give you too many details unless you give us your sizes and show up to practice but I will tell you this, my focus is not on any other team except the one my hand goes into the huddle with – Dynasty.

 

Are any players standing out in your opinion this season? Who would you say are the best up and coming players, and which veterans do you think are still dominating out there?

I did not make the Dallas event where individual play was rewarded, and MAO was a team effort. So outside of Dynasty, here are a few players who I think are playing good: Archie Montemayor (X-Factor), Colt Roberts (X-Factor), Josh Ouimet (Impact), Zach Yachimec (Impact), Zane Yachimec (Impact), Chris Sosine (Aftershock) and AJ Lawhead (Aftershock) are a few I have noticed and can name off the top of my head. They are some up-and-coming players who are starting to develop – Brandon Cornell (Ironmen), Arod (Alex Rodriguez, Ironmen), and Blake Yarber (Dynasty). All the veterans who still have spots on the top-level teams are still dominating, otherwise they would not be there.

It would be an injustice to not mention a specific veteran who is dominating – my old teammate Dave Bains, he is one of the last remaining of his kind in the league but he is one of the best Bigs in the game of paintball and still dominating. Dave has 3 wins this year so you cannot overlook that.

 

With Infamous and Art Chaos dropping down to the Challengers division at the last event, and the improvement of Aftershock and Vicious, this looks to be the most competitive the PSP has looked, pretty much ever. Do you agree?

Yes I agree 100%, so by your own logic, we have won the most challenging event of all time, right!!

 

(Laughs) You could make that argument.

All of the teams are beginning to give resistance, there are no more free games, no more sweeping out the garbage teams.  Heavy hitters have fallen – Heat who was the most dominant franchise in 2012, Art Chaos who is jammed full of talent and Infamous won Dallas – they have all have been relegated this season, in the first two events alone. It has not even set in for me that those two teams will not be competing in the Champions division for Chicago. They are both packed full of talent and experience, and no betting man would have put money on those results. They just did not understand the MAO layout very well, they both wanted to be outside and that was not the right approach. The new Chicago layout, will be good for both Art Chaos and Infamous, so I’m glad that they’re not in the Champions Division. Both Fedorov and Infamous have always played well at the Chicago Open in the past. In the big picture, these big franchise teams getting relegated, I know this is exactly what you were hoping for in the structure, it creates drama and it makes the teams at the bottom better.

 

Absolutely, it just makes things so immediate, intense, and interesting at every PSP event. The 4th event used to be a snore fest most of the time, and now it’s very important, because everyone wants to play in the Champions Division for World Cup. And the Sunday morning relegation games are my favorites to watch other than the finals. So yeah, I think it’s a huge improvement in the structure of the sport at the highest level. How do you feel about your draw in the prelims (187, X-factor, Heat, Damage)? You guys haven’t lost a prelim game all season long. Break down the weakness and strengths of these prelim teams you have to play?

The prelims draw does not matter to me. If you have intent to compete and advance in the tournament, then the draw does not matter, if we play a team Friday morning or Sunday afternoon, it’s the same. I check to see who we play blind and how many times I can scout the other ones. With no games coming easy, it doesn’t matter much if you are on the left or the right bracket, the plan remains the same. I have zero intent to break down the strengths and weaknesses of the teams we are playing. I will gladly do it after we are done playing these teams. Come on man, can’t even believe that is a real question, next I will mail copies of my playbook out to each one! NEXT question please….

 

(Laughs) Look man, I’m asking the questions I think people want to hear answers to. Who doesn’t want to hear Coach Glaze break down the strengths and weaknesses of those four teams; makes it way more fun to watch. What, you want me to just lob you softballs the whole time? Ok, how about this softball: You’ve been in this sport a long time, how do you see the game at its top level evolving in the future? 

I have been here a long time, thanks for the reminder! As far as promotion, you guys are doing a great job with Paintball Access but I don’t think that was your question. I could see an evolution in creating set divisions like east and west (call them what you want) to create consistent match ups in the prelims and build up some rivalries. That could be the next step in creating more storyline, in building history and game stats.

Personally, I am not ready to look at the future until we acknowledge the past. Paintball is always looking to the future; it has a memory of about 15 minutes. If you have most players take a quiz and listed any of the 10 man legends of the game, they would all fail miserably.

 

I couldn’t agree more; that’s one of my main driving forces to document what is happening now. And why I love doing our podcast, where we get to tell those old stories. And why it’s so important to help us make the webcast a sustainable reality and why the stats are so important. And to make everything as awesome as possible, because it becomes history as soon as the event is over and will live forever online.

For sure. My advice to you new players – Watch PUSH, Sunday Drivers, Planet’s Artifact series, everything Derder productions made and all of the Paintball Access On Demand videos, that should help get some of you players up to speed. Relating to paintball history and winning, I am working on a side project with my friend Preston Rodriguez and when it’s ready, I will reveal it to you. You will appreciate what we have put together – teaser – Paintball PRO Patches are involved.

 

Oh hell yeah. I still have my gold star patch. Do you see more powerhouse teams stepping up, less?

As far as powerhouse teams stepping up, the answer is no. There are only a couple powerhouse teams that have risen to the top and stayed there. What we see at the top now is rich team owners with money to spend. Despite the current economy you have 7-8 owners who do not have a business connection to paintball, who own paintball teams. Not only do they own teams, they pay players to play on the teams. So that makes it very difficult for a homegrown team with no budget to grow into the Champions Division. The teams you see winning today have already won previously.

Watch Rusty Glaze lead Dynasty in their quest to win two events in a row at the PSP Chicago Open, which goes down next week, June 20th -22nd. Let people know across your social networks that the best paintball players and teams in the world battle live on PaintballAccess.com! 12 games a day for three days will be streaming onto your computers and mobile devices.  

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