Pre-season is one of the most important times at the club because if you get this right you can start the season in the right frame of mind and hit the ground running. The majority of my success on FM is down to how I approach pre-season as I believe I set up the best I possibly can for me and my club and the style I play. So why is it important? Well let me show you how I approach it and then you can see why
I break preseason down to;
- Tactic Familarity
- Team Cohesion
The above is what I class as really important and are all the things that will make the biggest difference over the season especially at the beginning.
Having players with high morale is always a bonus and its a really good idea to get it as high as possible straight away. To achieve this as soon as possible what I do is make sure any friendlies I play are against extremely weaker opposition. The reasons behind this is I want the team to score a lot of goals. I don’t see the point in playing hard friendlies and risking affecting a players morale. So setting up the correct friendlies is vital for me to allow me to build on morale. the more goals you score in pre-season the better imo.
Probably the most important thing to concentrate on for me. The sooner everything is fluid the better because it means your tactic will play better and the players are used to every aspect of it. You can get tactic familiarity fluid before the start of the first game of the season if you play properly. It takes around 12 friendlies to do this and while this might seem like an excessive amount of games to play, it isn’t really. Remember that I am picking very weak opponents to play so this means it doesn’t matter if I have to play my youths or not. No matter what side I put out I should win. I tie this in with getting everyone at the club match fit. So I tend to play a game every 3 days to get both fitness and tactic familiarity up.
I’ve seen people post saying they set general training focus to tactics to get familiarity levels up however that doesn’t actually work despite the misleading name. What you have to do is set the match training focus to tactics. This is what gets tactic familiarity up.
If you are one of the lucky clubs who gets to go to training camps then while these are on you gain tactic familiairty/fitness a lot quicker.
To build tactics familiarity the best you can you need to ensure you have;
- Set up around 12 friendlies.
- Do not allow rest before or after a game.
- Make sure you have someone taking control of the ‘tactics’ catergory in training.
- Signing new players will reduce tactic familiarity, so the more signings you make the longer time you need to become fluid in all areas.
- You must set the scheduling bar in the training section all the way to the left so its set on 50%. The end of the bar is 50% and not the middle like some assume.
- When you’ve set up the friendlies check on the training calendar to make sure you have a training day before each game. If not cancel the game because its pointless.
- Changing team instructions also makes familiarity go slower.
If all this criteria is met and you’ve done it correctly then you should have almost full tactical familiarity. In the first season though it can be hard to achieve in some leagues due to the dates of when the game starts. It’s much easier to achieve from the 2nd season onward.Team Cohesion
If I’ve promoted players from my youth/reserves team into the first team or bought any new players then I focus on this heavily as the general focus once my players are fit. It helps them settle into the team quickly and get an understanding. This is vital because it helps with language barriers if you have foreign players who might not understand the language of the country you play in and his team mates.
I like to set up very easy friendlies against very weak sides. This means my team should win them easily and winning builds morale, so if I can beat a non league or amateur side 10-0 then this is what I’ll do. I want to ease the players into the new season while building confidence. I don’t see the point of playing against sides who I might lose against and lose morale, so rather I’d focus on building this up during preseason.