Each week is devoted to focusing on a particular tactic and is scheduled around the number of fixtures to be played in that seven-day period. In a typical week with one match on a Saturday, each day will typically have two Sessions, with scope for an Extra Session, depending on the overall Intensity, which is representative of a comparison to a percentage of the expected match load per player.
Training can be handled in as much or as little depth as you want:
- It can be handled entirely by your Backroom Staff, using a selection of pre-set schedules and sessions.
- You can pick from those same pre-set schedules and devise your own training calendar.
- Finally, you can be fully hands-on, tailoring each Unit, Session, and Schedule to your full requirements.
You can move seamlessly between these at any time; newer managers might feel more comfortable with leaving the Backroom Staff in charge in the immediate short-term whilst learning more about each aspect of training, and then slowly but surely assuming more control. The more experienced manager, on the other hand, might favour getting stuck into full control and managing every detail.
A maximum of three Tactics can be worked on at any one time; the Primary Trained Tactic will benefit from 60% of the contribution towards the team’s Tactical Familiarity, with the other two each gaining 20%. Familiarity rise and falls depending on the team and player instructions set in a tactic and is remembered across the use of all tactics. For example, if a player is tasked with Short Passing in all three tactics, his Familiarity will be higher in that particular regard, which contributes towards the overall score when extrapolated across all players and instructions.
It's necessary to remember that players can become unhappy if training isn’t meeting their needs. If you give them too much to do or unsuitable individual training, focus too heavily on one positional unit at the expense of another, or negate to work on certain attributes, it could lead to individuals becoming disillusioned with your practices and asking you to do something about it.
Selecting any Session on the weekly Calendar view brings up the full range of Sessions to select from.
Sessions are divided into nine categories: General, Match Preparation, Attacking, Defending, Technical, Tactical, Goalkeeping, Set Pieces, Physical, and Extra-Curricular. Within each category, you have the freedom to adjust how your team prepares on a direct tactical basis; an Attacking Session might focus on specific Attacking Wings, Patient or Direct build-up play, or a more General rounded approach.
Each Session has an explanation of how it benefits the entire first-team squad; for many Sessions, there is an Offensive Unit, a Defensive Unit, and a Goalkeeping Unit. Depending on the Session, one of these will take the Primary Focus, with the others adopting a Secondary Focus as a result. This in turn also affects the balance of attribute development over the course of a Session; an Attacking Unit being given Primary Focus will typically benefit from 60% of the overall focus for that time on the training ground.
For example, if the Offensive Unit is given an Attacking Session, they’ll be the Primary Focus as they work on chance creation and finishing. The Defensive Unit’s Secondary Focus is to work on their defensive strategy against this, whilst the Goalkeeping Unit will work to prevent goals from being scored. Other, more situational Sessions, will have Set Piece takers against the rest of the squad, and so on and so forth.
There are some Sessions undertaken as a Team as opposed to being divided into Units. In these scenarios, the entire squad works together, swapping roles throughout, with the exception of the Goalkeeping Unit, who will remain in their role of trying to prevent goals from being scored in all practical sessions. Analysis sessions, in the classroom, will be a whole-team affair.
Every session outlines the potential benefits to Attributes, whilst also indicating the Injury Risk, Condition, Fatigue and Happiness of the players.
Fatigue is mostly brought upon by physical training. Technical and other attributes have a much smaller or no impact. When Fatigue reaches a certain threshold a player becomes tired and requires rest. If a player is fatigued, any Sessions with a high risk of fatigue will only serve to make the situation worse. However, if he isn’t, he is actually more likely to improve his fitness level to make fatigue less likely in the longer term.
A full pre-season schedule with adequate physical training will reduce fatigue in the long term, allowing for a prolonged, tough season. Conversely, if pre-season is inadequate, without sufficient physical training, fatigue will be negatively impact and the player may tire much earlier in the season.
Schedules are devised on a weekly basis to then be actioned throughout the season. Pay close attention to the Intensity indicators when adding and removing sessions so as to make sure you’re not overloading the team with too much work, making them more susceptible to injury and fatigue; there are also indicators for how beneficial each day is to the Goalkeeping, Defensive and Offensive Units.
Extra Sessions will quickly result in fatigue and tiredness amongst your players; however, it is less of an issue for youth teams, who are more likely to benefit from the additional time spent learning and developing. There is, as always, a fine balance to be had though, and the risk of over-training a young player could result in his eventual burnout.
Aside from that, how you set up a Schedule is down to the players at your disposal and your managerial philosophy. The ‘Select Schedule’ button is a good way to get started as it allows you to select a pre-populated Schedule for a different period of the season. Pre-Season work might be more demanding physically, whilst Mid-Season and Late-Season work will be lighter in that regard but potentially more focused on recovery, analysis and tactical work. It is, however, entirely up to you.
Professional clubs will have the full week available; Semi-Professional and Amateur clubs will have three days including a match day to work with.
Whilst Units are separated into the aforementioned Attacking, Defensive, and Goalkeeping splits, you get to decide who takes part in each Unit, and what role they attempt to perform during training sessions. This is universal across each session - you can’t place players into different Units for different Sessions – but otherwise you control whether a player is in the Offensive or Defensive setup. Goalkeepers must be in the Goalkeeping Unit. Drag and Drop players between each Unit as desired.
Players from the Reserve or Youth Teams may be invited to take part in a Unit at any time, and will benefit from doing so with an exposure to a higher standard of training, in turn improving their overall prospects of developing towards their potential.
Mentoring, previously a concept known as Tutoring, allows younger players to learn from more senior team-mates by working directly with them during training. A group must feature a minimum of three players before they can begin working together.
The closer they are in profile, the more likely the senior player will be able to translate some of his influence onto the younger player, whilst success is also based off several factors like the senior player’s age and importance within the squad, and how well the players in the group get along.
The influence is an ongoing one; the longer they spend working together in the same group, the more likely it is to succeed, but it isn’t perpetual; there will be a point where the return has been maximised and can no longer be of any use to the younger player.
Players can be assigned new Positions and Roles to train in; they will do this automatically within appropriate Units during Sessions. They can also be tasked with working on a ‘weaker’ area of their game, using training sessions to specifically focus on a small number of attributes that either need improving, or are heavily stressed for their position and role and therefore need further dedication.
Individual training can be undertaken in the following areas:
Injury Rehab: Speed, Agility and Balance, Speed and Quickness, Resistance, Endurance, General (this is only applicable when a player is recovering from an injury)
Set Pieces: Free Kicks, Corners, Penalty Taking, Long Throws
Attributes: Quickness, Agility and Balance, Strength, Endurance, Defensive Positioning, Attacking Movement, Final Third, Shooting, Passing
The intensity of the additional work can also be governed on a Normal, Half or Double basis, which adjusts the overall Individual Training Workload accordingly.
You can, should you also want to, give the player time away from pitch and gym work for anywhere from one day to two weeks.
The ‘Coaches’ tab controls how your coaching staff handles training. Each coach is able to work in every aspect of training, unless they are of a specific type (i.e. goalkeeping or fitness), in which case they are restricted to that area only, if they are solely a Reserve/Youth age group coach, in which case they may only work with those players.
Each member of your backroom staff is likely to be particularly proficient in a particular aspect of training. If this is the case, it is worthwhile to assign them to this/these area(s) only. Proficiency in an aspect of training is graded on a star rating, one star being poor whilst five stars are excellent. A higher number of stars will increase the effectiveness of the training schedules on your players. A coach with high attributes in key areas who is only assigned to coach categories he/she is strong in will result in a much better training schedule.
You can also assign yourself to areas of training in line with the managerial attributes chosen when creating your profile.
In order for your coaches to be as useful as possible to you in your training schedules, you should endeavour to find the correct attributes required for more stars in their area of training.
Strength: Coaches should have a high Fitness rating.
Aerobic: Coaches should have a high Fitness rating.
Tactics: Coaches should have a high Tactical rating.
Ball Control: Coaches should have high ratings in Technical and Mental.
Defending: Coaches should have high ratings in Defending and Tactical.
Attacking: Coaches should have high ratings in Attacking and Tactical.
Shooting: Coaches should have high ratings in Attacking and Technical.
Shot Stopping: Coaches should have a high rating for Goalkeeper Shot Stopping.
Handling: Coaches should have a high rating for Goalkeeper Handling.
Distribution: Coaches should have a high rating for Goalkeeper Distribution.
There is further information available on the finer details of training in our community forum, should you wish to discuss your approach with other managers.