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In other games, admitting that you’d like some help playing the game is tantamount to announcing that you’d like to hear all the new horrible insults the kids are using today. Not here.
— Coaching publicity blurb

Coaching is a game feature added in the March 18, 2011 Patch (Beta) for Team Fortress 2 Beta and in the April 14, 2011 Patch for everyone to use. It allows players to be able to call on others for help with certain objectives, or to provide advice and feedback on a person's abilities and gameplay.

A player can volunteer to become a "coach" through the use of the megaphone icon in the main menu. "Students" may place requests for a coach through the whistle icon. After a matching process and authorization by both players, the coach is automatically connected to the student's server.

Coach and Student registration


In order to be a coach, a player must click on the megaphone button in the main menu entitled 'Be a Coach'. They must then confirm that they want to be added to the list of coaches. Once that is done, the game will attempt to register the player as a coach and will inform the player of whether or not the attempt has been successful. A player successfully registered as a coach can continue to play as normal, but will receive an alert if they are matched with a student. The alert will offer the player the choice of whether or not to accept the invitation to be a coach. If the invitation is accepted, the game will remove the player from the list of coaches and attempt to connect them to the student's server.


In order to receive coaching (that is, in order to be a student), a player must select the 'Request Coaching' whistle icon from the main menu while in a game. The player will be asked to confirm that they would like coaching and then asked to choose a coach. A player can select a coach by name from their friends list, or choose to be assigned any available coach. The player can then continue to play as normal and they will be informed when a coach accepts the invitation to coach them. Multiple coach requests are sometimes required due to the current bugs in the coaching system whereby coaches are often invited to games that they cannot join.


What the student sees once issued the attack command by the coach.

The coach is given access to various commands to be used in educating the student. Note that all of the resulting markers and sounds are only visible and audible to both the coach and the student.

  • Pressing primary fire while aiming at an area, object or enemy will select it for attack. A trumpet will sound, an arrow will point over the designated target, and a HUD display will appear, guiding the student to attack.
  • Pressing secondary fire will mark a target for defense. This is accompanied by a drum sound, the arrow will appear, and the HUD will direct the student to defend.
  • Pressing the primary weapon button will issue the order Go Here. A silver whistle sound will play.
  • Pressing the secondary weapon button will issue the order Look Here. The sound of a human whistling will play.

Should the attack or defend order be assigned to a moving target, the arrow and HUD will track them in 3D space, thus ensuring both coach and student are aware of the target at all times.

Students receive two additional commands which allow them to rate (F7) or remove (F8) the coach.

The outline the "coach" sees around a healthy "student".


The viewpoint of the coach functions similarly to that of the Spectator. They have the choice of a first-person, third-person, or free camera perspective. During free camera, the student is outlined to the coach with a glow similar to Payload carts and the Intelligence. The color of the glow serves as a visual indicator of the student's health; green indicates the student is healthy, whereas red indicates that they have low health. The movement of the free camera is restricted to within 30 arbitrary distance units of the student. The distance is displayed on the coach's HUD. Whenever the student respawns, the coach's view is reset to the third-person camera.

The student's game appears identical to normal play except that students can see the beacons mentioned above, and there is a small overlay in the top-right of the screen. The name and avatar of the coach appears in the overlay.

Update history

April 14, 2011 Patch (Hatless Update)

  • Coaching was added to the game.

April 15, 2011 Patch

  • Fixed the kicking of coaches for being idle as soon as they stop coaching
  • Fixed a coaching exploit

August 2, 2012 Patch

  • Improved reliability for finding a coach

September 16, 2013 Patch

  • Fixed a noclip exploit related to dueling and coaching

January 27, 2015 Patch

  • Fixed a bug related to overhead icons disappearing (Coach/Student).


  • Although coaches cannot see certain buildings that are unseen by the student or members of their team, they can still see the Teleporter particle effects indicating their location.
  • Coach commands will still be given when the coach is using the main menu or loadout screens.
  • Joining a team after coaching a player will sometimes result in the player still seeing the former student's outline.
  • The game does not distinguish between coaching requests sent from inside an inaccessible LAN game and requests sent from players on public TF2 servers.
  • The coach/student attributes are reset at the end of each map or if one of the parties is disconnected. That means that whenever the map changes on a server, the coach is no longer able to talk directly to the student or guide them with instructions. Instead, the coach becomes a regular player.
  • Alerts do not always appear when in the main menu. Often alerts will only appear once a server is joined, forcing coaches to sign up, then launch into a server before invitations can be viewed and accepted.
  • Once a coach has accepted an invitation to join a student's game as their coach, the coach is removed from the list of coaches, even if they fail to connect.
  • Coaches are counted as Spectators (and therefore as the RED team) when calculating the announcer speech for when control points are captured, thus a coach for a member of the BLU team will still hear "Our control point is being captured" when the BLU team starts to capture a RED control point.
  • When a student activates the Dead Ringer, the coach will be notified that the student has died.
  • After the Meet Your Match Update, when a coach is requested into Casual Mode servers, they will not be able to connect to the server, as it was not through the Matchmaking system (ad-hoc connection).

Unused content

  • There is an unused sound effect that would be used when a student died. It went unused for unknown reasons.