Let’s Make A Difference – Training FM16 and Beyond

We all bitch about FM from time to time, some more than others! I know I do especially with regards to the training module. So I thought how about we actually try and make a difference to how the game is made and see if SI will take notice? With this in mind I’ve spent the last 3 months maybe longer coming up with new ideas for the training side of the game because imo its lacking and pretty restrictive how it currently is. I’ve spoken to a few other people who I know take training serious on FM and came up with a few ideas on how we’d improve it.What I want to do though is create a fully working concept with the help of the community (yes that’s you:P) and then present it to SI and lets see how it goes. For us to be able to do this though we need to come up with something and be able to explain how it all will work and provide the documentation to back it up. It sounds daunting but it isn’t really, it just involves us all putting our heads together and thinking of a concept that will actually work in practise that is more realistic and flexible compared to what we have now. If we do this then SI will more than likely take it more serious and if its good enough they might make changes based on this or even add it.

I wrote something about this a while back that wasn’t used in Clear Cut Chance at the time so thought I’d post it here to gauge some reactions and hopefully get others to chip in with how they’d change training or what they’d like to see implemented. The stuff written below was done about 4 months ago and I’ve actually changed/adapted some of the ideas which I’ll be sharing with you in a series of articles over the coming weeks. I’ll not add my ideas and the concept we have come up with just yet as I’m really interested to see your own ideas and what you’d like to see implemented for a fuller more immersive training module without the influence of what we’ve come up with.

Here is what I originally wrote about this subject

I know that sliders were removed for FM14 but for me, Football Manager 13 was a step away from the sliders system that many have grown fond of over the years. I think many people knew that sliders were becoming obsolete but didn’t think it would happen this fast and still thought they had at least another year of them. I think the new training module was a big indication of how the game is changing and what the future held when they did away with the sliders from that part of the game. While many feel sliders were unrealistic, I think the main reason for stepping away from them is they just don’t fit the direction the game is going currently. This brings me onto the next point; What next for FM?

The current training module is far from perfect and was added because it was more real life like and less micro management compared to the old training system according to the games developers. But is this actually true? According to all the coaches we’ve interviewed or spoke to for Clear Cut Chance, the current training module isn’t a reflection on real life at all and doesn’t even resemble it. As for the less micro managing argument, I think now you have to micromanage just as much as you did before. Nothing really changed in that aspect unless what they meant by less micromanaging was actually its a lot easier to ignore training now, then I’d agree with that.

Now that sliders have been abolished from the game I think this means that training needs to be linked more closely to tactical side of the game in the coming years. I’m not sure what SI’s plans are for training, but I really hope they do have plans for the current training module. It just doesn’t deliver at the minute in its current state because its far too simplistic, yet very fiddly at the same time.

What we need to see introduced is something that allows us to see the bigger picture of how training is actually working for your players as individuals and as a team. This means that the feedback you get from the game needs to be more in depth and clearer than it currently is. Everything about training is currently bland and mundane. There is no real feedback and its far too easy to achieve great results with little effort.

What’s the point of having different role training schedule if the user is just going to pick the one that trains the most attributes?! Lets take the forward positions for example, there is no real benefit choosing a preset role schedule like advanced forward when the complete forward one covers more useful attributes and a lot more of them. Sure you might see a slight difference in how the player develops but it’s very minimal at best. Anyone who’s followed any of my training projects in the past will see what I’m talking about.

The complete forward training schedule is the better one to use long term because it offers a wider variety of attributes to train (although they are supposedly learnt at a slower rate the more attributes the category has but I haven’t always found that to be true). This isn’t right and it needs to be corrected. The same could be said for the box to box midfielder role too. What needs to happen is to either give us the ability to select which attributes we want to focus on, or make the role trainings actually mean something.  Another thing that needs to happen is a bigger advantage and distinction between team training and individual training. In its current form team training is almost redundant to individual training and there is no real benefit to choosing team training over individual training long term, you could even go as far as claiming its a hindrance. What needs to be done is a clear separation of the two, and the options of favouring one over the other should be made more prominent.

Plan Outline

It would be great to have tactic specific training options to supplement the role options, e.g. Defensive play, defensive transition, attacking transition, attacking play, general movement, tactical understanding etc. This would then provide us with some more fine tuning options. Not only that but individual training which consists of fitness or tactical work should be classed as extra on top of the team training. All the coaches we’ve spoke to seem to indicate that these (fitness and tactics) are all extra work done by adding extra training sessions or time rather than actually taking away from their normal training.

Individual/Group player training

Role training should remain but rather than having individual attribute training it should focus more on smaller groups of attributes instead. So it could be something like.

Technique focus – Passing, dribbling, first touch etc

Defensive – tackling, marking, concentration, composure

Without the ball – closing down, marking, positioning,

Communication – Teamwork, work rate, decisions

Speed – Pace, acceleration, agility, balance

These are just some examples  to give you an idea of what I am talking about. Or alternatively you could add something that allows 3 or 4 players (small groups) to work together to work on these attributes.

And if you wanted to work on Fitness then this should come as added time and the players would do an extra session a day or whatever we can select.

New match training

Offensive Organisation

Defensive Organisation

Transition from Defence to Offence

Transition from Offence to Defence

It could even be an added option called Team Functions and work along side match/general training. It could focus on.

Attack – Defending – Transition

Depending which one of those you select it would train.

Build up play/scoring – covering and defending space

Match training is a good idea in theory but limited in what it actually does. I believe that doing something like this would allow you to actually build towards how you want to play or set up for the coming game. After all, FM is becoming more and more about adapting and changing for every game and is reflecting real life more in that sense. So the build up to a game should also reflect this and training should be focused on the game you play next.

A manager should be able to decide how often and how long a training session is. FM treats every manager the same in this regard but in reality everyone trains a different length. I remember we had a manager at Sheffield United who liked his players to train two 2 hour sessions and we had another who linked two 1 hour and 20 minute sessions. I think Nigel Clough currently works longer than both those. So it should be down to us as the manager to decide upon these factors.

Staff

The number of staff you employ should make a real difference on the game, but currently it doesn’t really matter if you have 30 coaches or 4. You can still see significant development irrespective of the number of coaches. Making staff actually play a bigger part in actual development or players needs to be added to the game. The more spread and poorer the coach, the less improvements I should see.The more quality coaches I have, the better/faster the development should be. All that matters for staff at the moment is the workload aside from that you can basically achieve the same development whether it’s a 5 star coach or a 3 star coach.

If I decide to go the player development route then I should have to put actual thought into the backroom staff I’m assembling.

Attributes

The development rate of these should be slowed down and happen at different times. It’s quite common currently to have a high potential player and have him hit that potential before he’s 22. It’s really a far too common occurrence for any top club. What I’d like to see is the mental side of development slowed down a little. This should come more with age and experience. I know the game kind of works like this now but its still all a bit too rapid and doesn’t make much sense. Some players will be mentally strong when they are younger but not every single one after a few years of development, which is what we currently see.

That is the basic outline of the original idea. So what are some of your ideas? Please post them in the comments section below.

9 thoughts on “Let’s Make A Difference – Training FM16 and Beyond”

  1. Great initiative!

    I don’t have too much to offer in terms of training, as I feel it’s very complex and hard to model. I do however want to take the opportunity to talk a bit about two things I find to be intimately connected to training, namely scouting and attribute growth. These three aspects are all vital for a realistic player development simulator and I think that if we overhaul one, we should also look at the other two.

    Basically, my problem is that it’s too easy to see the potential of players, and what their attributes will look like in 10 years time. This is very far from realistic. Instead we should try to identify the characteristics that make players stand out from the crowd and attract interest from clubs. And try to base the scouts recommendations on that (as well as current ability, ofc).

    Firstly, let’s talk about stat development. As you mention, the base development rate for mental stats should be slower, but with more bursts of sudden, fast, development. I would also like to see some for of potential for fast development of strength, stamina and balance in the early twenties (I feel a lot of players develop their physical presence on the pitch quickly in that age).

    Now to my main point, how the scouts perceive youngsters and their ability.

    Scouting and current ability

    Reasonably fine as is, especially with new skill intervals and longer scouting times necessary for a fully fleshed out report.

    Scouting and potential ability

    I honestly don’t think scouts should be able to see the actual PA at all. Instead, they should look at current ability and look for “key characteristics” that make players stand out to scouts and coaches IRL. It could be combinations of attributes, such as speed and technique, vision and decision making, strength and aerial ability, and so on. Or, it might be stats based – they simply score lots of goals or assists. Finally, it could be based on perceived personality (I’ve heard several stories of players being touted as future stars simply because they BEHAVE as future stars.

    Players that develop early in those key areas will then be hyped whether they have the PA to match or not, and players who have a more well-rounded (steady) development but high PA will be more late bloomers that come to fame once they have become fully developed.

    What do you think about that?

    1. I’d like to see us come up with a system that allows for everything to be linked, so scouting, training and tactics go hand in hand. This would also then allow people to focus on concepts and squad build this way automatically to create a philosophy for the club. Most clubs these days no matter how big or small have a club philosophy its become a lot more common in recent years that teams are building foundations for long term in mind. Teams still do the short term option but in the background there’s also the long term projects being placed for 5 and 10 years time.

      I think in game terms though it all needs to be better linked. It seems weird building a tactic and not having to do any training for it at all, as that’s not how it works at all. Hopefully people will like the ideas we’ve come up with so far when we post them in a few weeks, or they can see better ways of doing things 🙂

  2. So I guess what we’re talking about producing is something for training analogous to what WWFan, Millie et al. produced for Tactics, which led to the Tactics Creator (and ultimately the roles & duties that now have emerged as a force within the game).

    One area I would like to see improved in training is that of tactical familiarity. At the moment it’s a pretty vague and nebulous area in game, and it’s something that could be hugely expanded particularly with respect to whether it’s referring to individuals, units of players (defence, attack etc), the overall team shape, even set pieces etc…

    We definitely need more input into training; it doesn’t want to become a chore, and whatever comes has to put gameplay front and centre. The tactics creator works because it supports the creation of sensible, working tactics; we need a training creator or system that allows us to train players with the same level of control and ease.

    1. Would you rather see the week/days leading upto a game focusing training on the various game plans for the opposition you are facing? This could then replace tactic familiarity which is a big ball ache imo and pretty pointless once its fluid.

      1. Absolutely; there ought to be a much greater emphasis on improving your own team’s specific weaknesses (e.g. you conceded two goals from set pieces in the last match, so you could elect to spend a certain proportion of time to working on that, another block on defensive shape etc.).

        Focus could also be made then to try and counter the upcoming opposition – so work on how to deal with their likely formation, specific threats (e.g. watch out for that Ronaldo bloke, you at DL need to be picking him up and watching for x, y or z). This could then tie in with info from scouting reports (and giving room for those being good or not depending on scout quality etc.)

        As you say, the current tactic familiarity is pointless – it’s too gamey. Everyone focusses on maximising it and then that’s you done for the season, at least. Pointless. Changing this to what we’re looking at here would be far more realistic, and would tie in more to other parts of the game better (tactics, scouting…).

        It also lends itself naturally to different setups across the levels of the game. A club with a lot of facilities and full time players would need to have a lot more options and time to play with, while a non-league side might well only be able to focus on one thing due to the time restrictions, lack of scouting etc.

        It would be nice to see a role for technology and facilities in here – think of big news stories this season, the changes van Gaal has ordered with new pitches at Carrington, various managers getting players to watch more video reviews of their performances – and then what the players might think of your approaches and how well they engage…

        It needs to avoid being a chore, but I think it could be really interesting.

        1. Nice to see us on the same page and wanting the same kind of things here 🙂

          I also agree that it needs to avoid being a chore and be something that is understandable and easy for anyone to get into. I think between us all we should be able to come up with something really good and that would be a realistic option to SI if we plan it all carefully and can explain how it will all function.

    1. Ok, Cleon. I just finished reading an article of tactical periodization : a training approach. And, after finishing it I had some ideas of how SI can create deeper training module in the next generation of FM. Then, I remember that you had posted some new ideas in terms of training module overhaul.

      One major idea of mine , is, to have a section of training which give them to focus on (as what you mentioned above), 4 phases of play, def trans, att trans, def aspect, and attack aspect.

      In defensive transition, players are focused on how to transform the shape from attacking-minded shape to defensive-minded one with emphasis on space control (pressing). So, this kind of focus would impact to the tactical familiarity (as one area to be impacted), especially to the closing down fluidity level. In attacking transition, the players would be focused on more technical attributes, like passing and technique, and mental attributes, like off the ball and flair. Etc, etc 🙂

      Another specific section, is, we focus to train each formation (create this section manually). So, if we have 3 formation, they would have different time to reach the familiarity level, depending on which one we focus on it more time than the others.

      Or another idea that we can create (manually) a training section where we focus the players on how to cope against specific formation. For example, we train the players to exploit the middle when we will face a team with diamon wide shape of play or 4-4-2 flat. Or we train the player to play a bit deeper, lower tempo, and possession-based to drag the “parking bus” team. So, when in the match we decide to implement another polar idea, it might make bad impact on players in-game morale, as they getting confused, because we suddenly-unplanned change the tactic.

      That’s just my raw thoughts. I’m planning to make more detail of them so I can see my idea of training section/module would be comprehensively linked to other aspects/feature in FM.

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