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 typically has two Sessions, with scope for an Extra Session, depending on the overall Intensity, designed to take into account for the workload each player is undertaking.
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 while 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 benefits from 60% of the contribution towards the team’s Tactical Familiarity, with the other two each gaining 20%. Familiarity rises and falls depending on the team and player instructions set in a tactic and is remembered across all tactics. For example, if a player is tasked with Short Passing in all three tactics, the 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 neglect to work on certain attributes, it could lead to individuals becoming disillusioned with your practices and asking you to do something about it.
● Training is run via weekly schedules.
● Each schedule is made up of Sessions.
● There are three Sessions per day; Session 1, Session 2, and Extra.
● Each session is available for training in a wide variety of exercises.
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 Attacking Patient, Attacking Direct, Attacking Overlap or Defending from the Front.
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 takes 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 typically benefits 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 are 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, while the Goalkeeping Unit works to prevent goals from being scored. Other more situational Sessions 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 remain in their role of trying to prevent goals from being scored in all practical sessions. Analysis sessions, in the classroom, are a whole-team affair.
Every session outlines the potential benefits to Attributes, while also indicating the Injury Risk, Condition, Fatigue and Happiness of the players. These are collectively referred to as Impacts.
Fatigue is mostly brought about 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 only serve to make the situation worse. However, if they aren’t’, they are actually more likely to improve fitness levels to make fatigue less likely in the longer term.
A full pre-season schedule with adequate physical training reduces fatigue in the long term, allowing for a prolonged, tough season. Conversely, if pre-season is inadequate, without sufficient physical training, fatigue is negatively impacted 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 to make sure you’re not overloading the team with too much work and 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 quickly result in fatigue and tiredness among 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 maintained, and the risk of over-training a young player could result in 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, while Mid-Season and Late-Season work is lighter in that regard but potentially more focused on recovery, analysis and tactical work. It is, however, entirely up to you.
Professional clubs have the full week available; Semi-Professional and Amateur clubs have three days including a match day to work with.
While Units are separated into the 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 benefit from 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 influence onto the younger player, while success is also based on 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 ongoing; 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 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 Rehabilitation: Quickness, Agility and Balance, Strength, Endurance and General Rehab (this is only applicable when a player is recovering from an injury)
Set Pieces: Free Kick Taking, Corners, Penalty Taking, Long Throws
Attributes: Quickness, Agility and Balance, Strength, Endurance, Defensive Positioning, Attacking Movement, Final Third, Shooting, Passing, Crossing, Ball Control, Aerial
Goalkeeping: Reactions, Tactical, Technique, Sweeping, Distribution (Long and Short)
The intensity of the additional work can also be governed on a Normal, Half or Double Intensity 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) – such coaches are restricted to that area only. If they are solely a Reserve/Youth age group coach, they may only work with those players.
Each member of your backroom staff is likely to be particularly proficient in a specific 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 and five stars excellent. A higher number of stars increases the effectiveness of the training schedules on your players. A coach with high attributes in key areas who is only assigned to coach categories they arestrong in will result in a much better training schedule.
You can also assign yourself to areas of training in line with the managerial attributes you chose when creating your profile.
What’s the best practice to adopt for training for a beginner?
It is most advisable to run a proper pre-season programme, first and foremost, in order to work towards peak physical condition for as many players as possible when the season begins in earnest. You can do this either by using one of the tailored templates made available in-game, or by devising your own approach, but a strong start will support the rest of the campaign.
During pre-season, players are at their minimum level of fatigue, unless they’ve spent the off-season on international duty. When fatigue is low, players tasked with hard physical work (which increases fatigue) improve their long-term fitness, staving off the potential for jadedness to occur, and carry these positive effects further into the season proper. However, once they begin to feel fatigue, these same sessions only serve to bring about more negative impacts far more quickly.
Under-working the players during pre-season or over-working them once it’s underway merely leads to increased levels of fatigue. Striking the proper balance once matches are underway is crucial; ensure there is a Match Preview session before every fixture if you want the Pre-Match Briefing and the additional benefits that come with film study and analysis of the upcoming opponent, while a recovery session the day after a match is advisable for players to rest and recover.
Finally, in terms of sessions, try to only use the Extra slot when you have a long stretch (a week or more) without a match. Rest is as important as everything else you do.