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Youth Development - The Guide

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Happy players train harder and you see better progression. An unhappy player doesn't improve as much as an happy one.

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Happy players train harder and you see better progression. An unhappy player doesn't improve as much as an happy one.

so i should lower their training levels? if so by how much and how long will it be before i see a change in their happiness?

Thanks

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so i should lower their training levels? if so by how much and how long will it be before i see a change in their happiness?

Thanks

Every player is different. Unprofessional players will complain more. If you go to a players profile, training tab it normally tells you why someone is unhappy at times.

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I'm sorry If I do not write in this topic. But I have a question about a young player. I have a Czech goalkeeper, whose potential is estimated at 4 stars, but the current capacity of 1.5 stars. If he ever play in the first team, it will give a great impetus to its development? How to increase the current capacity of the season?

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I'm sorry If I do not write in this topic. But I have a question about a young player. I have a Czech goalkeeper, whose potential is estimated at 4 stars, but the current capacity of 1.5 stars. If he ever play in the first team, it will give a great impetus to its development? How to increase the current capacity of the season?

If you read above, it says that first-team football is what increases a player's "CA" - that is, his 'current capacity of 1.5 stars will go up by playing first team games. Since he's a goalkeeper, I'm guessing chances in the first team are limited; I'd loan him out.

Cleon, what was Marcelo's original 'personality' as described in the information tab, and what did it change to by the time you had finished tutoring him?

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If you read above, it says that first-team football is what increases a player's "CA" - that is, his 'current capacity of 1.5 stars will go up by playing first team games. Since he's a goalkeeper, I'm guessing chances in the first team are limited; I'd loan him out.

Cleon, what was Marcelo's original 'personality' as described in the information tab, and what did it change to by the time you had finished tutoring him?

He started off as Driven which means good determination and a fair amount of ambition. He is now professional which is good professionalism and temperament

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thanks cleon

Did you find out what the issue was? :)

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Great thread as usual Cleon :thup:

Player Development is my favourite part of the game so this will be useful to me.

Thanks :)

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Thanks for another informative thread, Cleon.

One thing I'm not sure on; what effect does the overall work load have? I understand that the pattern of the schedule influences where the CA points are allocated, but why wouldn't you keep the pattern and lower the overall work load? What is the benefit of a heavier schedule?

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Thanks for another informative thread, Cleon.

One thing I'm not sure on; what effect does the overall work load have? I understand that the pattern of the schedule influences where the CA points are allocated, but why wouldn't you keep the pattern and lower the overall work load? What is the benefit of a heavier schedule?

I'm not sure I understand what you mean. If you lower the workload then you achieve that by not training as hard in a particular catergory meaning less focus on those attributes in that section.

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I'm not sure I understand what you mean. If you lower the workload then you achieve that by not training as hard in a particular catergory meaning less focus on those attributes in that section.

Let me rephrase my question so that it makes sense. CA is allocated according to the pattern of work load between the categories. As you've said, training doesn't increase the CA allocated (that's match experience). So what is the benefit of an overall heavy work load?

As an example, if there were say three categories and I had A set to 2, B to 4 and C to 6, the total work load would be 12. B would get twice as many CA as A, C would get 3 times as many. I could double all of them and have a total of 24, but the pattern is the same. The allocated CA wouldn't change, so what is the extra work load doing?

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Let me rephrase my question so that it makes sense. CA is allocated according to the pattern of work load between the categories. As you've said, training doesn't increase the CA allocated (that's match experience). So what is the benefit of an overall heavy work load?

As an example, if there were say three categories and I had A set to 2, B to 4 and C to 6, the total work load would be 12. B would get twice as many CA as A, C would get 3 times as many. I could double all of them and have a total of 24, but the pattern is the same. The allocated CA wouldn't change, so what is the extra work load doing?

It wouldn't get twice as many CA as such, it just means you'd be increasing the likelyhood that those attributes would gain through CA as you are training them harder than A. The workload is how heavy a player is focusing on the training side of things. So the more catergories he has the slider set high the heavier the schedule becomes. You need to find the right balance for the player.

The heavier the workload the more chance of a player getting jaded/tired and you might find he struggles when you get lots of games in succession especially if he has low Natural Fitness. You might find his condition never gets back up near 100% when he has an heavy workload and you can see more little niggles and injuries during matches.

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It wouldn't get twice as many CA as such, it just means you'd be increasing the likelyhood that those attributes would gain through CA as you are training them harder than A. The workload is how heavy a player is focusing on the training side of things. So the more catergories he has the slider set high the heavier the schedule becomes. You need to find the right balance for the player.

The heavier the workload the more chance of a player getting jaded/tired and you might find he struggles when you get lots of games in succession especially if he has low Natural Fitness. You might find his condition never gets back up near 100% when he has an heavy workload and you can see more little niggles and injuries during matches.

Sorry, but I didn't quite grasp that. It sort of sounds like all training do is to distribute points, not increase the total. And that heavy intensity makes it more likely that the points ends up where you want them. But if the distributions is made by the relative intensity between the training categories, why just not lower all sliders (keep their relative intensity the same) and keep them happy and fit? Don't quite see the case for heavy workloads then? What is the upside?

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Sorry, but I didn't quite grasp that. It sort of sounds like all training do is to distribute points, not increase the total. And that heavy intensity makes it more likely that the points ends up where you want them. But if the distributions is made by the relative intensity between the training categories, why just not lower all sliders (keep their relative intensity the same) and keep them happy and fit? Don't quite see the case for heavy workloads then? What is the upside?

You miss understand, it's the likelyhood that those attributes increase.

The workload is just how hard he is working on all areas combined. I'm not sure why so many people are confused, it's simple :confused:

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Sorry, but I didn't quite grasp that. It sort of sounds like all training do is to distribute points, not increase the total. And that heavy intensity makes it more likely that the points ends up where you want them. But if the distributions is made by the relative intensity between the training categories, why just not lower all sliders (keep their relative intensity the same) and keep them happy and fit? Don't quite see the case for heavy workloads then? What is the upside?

Imagine it this way then:

{Gained attribute points in a "ball control" attribute} = {available newly gained ability} * {workload in ball control training}

More workload in ball control training then makes it more likely that you will gain points in the corresponding attributes, but the available points to distribute is determined by match experience.

Does that make it any clearer?

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Imagine it this way then:

{Gained attribute points in a "ball control" attribute} = {available newly gained ability} * {workload in ball control training}

More workload in ball control training then makes it more likely that you will gain points in the corresponding attributes, but the available points to distribute is determined by match experience.

Does that make it any clearer?

Sorry for being stupid :-)

So OK, take your formula. So you get an amount of ability based on match experience and other things not related or influenced by training. How that distributes, and the likelihood of attribute increases is depended on training workload in each category. Does that mean that if you have a more relaxed training schedule, some ability is left unused?

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Sorry for being stupid :-)

So OK, take your formula. So you get an amount of ability based on match experience and other things not related or influenced by training. How that distributes, and the likelihood of attribute increases is depended on training workload in each category. Does that mean that if you have a more relaxed training schedule, some ability is left unused?

It means that the attribute distribution would be more balanced if the sliders were positioned simliar to each other.

Why do you avoid using Intensive for any category?

I don't avoid it, this player just didn't need it. And due to him being a first team regular at such a young age and playing a game every 2-3 days they it simply wasn't worth the risk of tiring him out and having to rotate him more. First team football is a lot more beneficial so having him available to play as much as I can will aide his development much more than an heavy schedule.

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I believe oyz is asking why's there need to increase intensity of training if distribution of CA is only based on the difference in intensity and not on the actual intensity, ie. will you get the same result if you set A to 0 notches and B to 4 notches and if you set A to 2 notches and B to 6 notches.

The answer is, it is not the same. Intensity of each group is important, not just the difference in intensity between groups. Set defence training of your striker to 0 and watch his defensive capabilities drop over the seasons.

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I believe oyz is asking why's there need to increase intensity of training if distribution of CA is only based on the difference in intensity and not on the actual intensity, ie. will you get the same result if you set A to 0 notches and B to 4 notches and if you set A to 2 notches and B to 6 notches.

The answer is, it is not the same. Intensity of each group is important, not just the difference in intensity between groups. Set defence training of your striker to 0 and watch his defensive capabilities drop over the seasons.

That's what I wondering about, yes. Just that relative difference would be a little different than your example, as your example is based on absolute difference between categories, not relative difference.

What I don't see clearly is this:

Lets assume there were only these two categories. What would play out differently if their intensity were 3 and 6 notches respectively, and not 4 and 8 notches?

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Intensity matters either way.

If we assume there are only two categories and 4 and 8 is the optimal overall intensity, 3 and 6 notches would give you less growth for the buck (match experience).

Training also maintains current ability. If all the training does is redistribute CA gained in a match, in theory once the player has reached his PA, you could set all training categories to 0 notches and see no difference at all. In reality, player attributes would start going down.

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Intensity matters either way.

If we assume there are only two categories and 4 and 8 is the optimal overall intensity, 3 and 6 notches would give you less growth for the buck (match experience).

Training also maintains current ability. If all the training does is redistribute CA gained in a match, in theory once the player has reached his PA, you could set all training categories to 0 notches and see no difference at all. In reality, player attributes would start going down.

Indeed, it can prolong a players career and allow him to play into his late 30's - early 40's if you keep the balance right and can stop the decline of attributes.

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Thanks folks!

Just to make sure I have this right. You would prefer to train them as hard as possible as long as they're not unhappy with workload and as long as their condition on match day is affected negatively?

Is there any other useful way of dealing with the unhappy about workload message?

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Something like that though it depends on a lot of things, usually on a player stamina and natural fitness, his position, how injury prone he is and how often he playes. In England, and Spain to a lesser extent, there's potentially 70+ matches per season for top teams. In Ukraine, if you reach all the finals there's about 50.

A DC usually runs about 8km a game, a FB who's bombing forward can run more than 11km a game.

If you're still a beginner, keep it simple - set the training you like and reduce or increase overall intensity until you find balance. In general, your top players, who have reached their PA, and are expected to play every few days, should have lesser overall intensity, to keep them fit for matches and reduce injury risk. Younger players may be given sligthly higher intensity training.

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Amazing thread Cleon (as per for yourself) you put out many great threads for every FM (personally i think it's all luck ;)) i normally ghost read but never post in the thread as i don't have questions & i'm more of your plug & play player with downloaded tactics & schedules.

Reading through it has inspired to giving a go to training my own players i am using FuriousUK schedules but looking at the way you have shaped your players in your Santos save really want's me to give it a go.

A Few questions:-

What is the minimal slider setting to stop a decrease in that stat.

Also if you had a player training happily on medium would you start putting the workload up & seeing what workload the player is happy with?

Is there anyway to copy a training schedule? So i can then apply to a player & tweak accordingly.

On my current career save i have 3 or 4 ageing players (Fletcher, Vargas & Dawson but i like there experience & mental stats. What sort of schedule would benefit the veteran players but not tire them out to much as always physical stats are dieing.

Do you still use the same Pre Season schedule as per your WM Thread? I've never used pre season schedules on FM is there an actual benefit to them?

Do you have a rule of thumb regarding young players? (i.e 15-17 U18s, 17-19 Reserves & 19 - 24 Loan/first team/sell)

Injuries how to avoid? Is there any extreme setting that should be avoided such as setting a slider to intensive. What workload best avoids injury or is it a bit luck but mainly player based on hidden stat injury prone?

Sorry for the third degree.

Still a bit apprehensive about completely messing a player up but if i can start to replicate the training performances you have and distribute player stats to where i think there needed for that players position & personal instructions i should in theory be more successful in the long run.

Great Thread Cleon KUTGW!!! :applause:

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Amazing thread Cleon (as per for yourself) you put out many great threads for every FM (personally i think it's all luck
;)
) i normally ghost read but never post in the thread as i don't have questions & i'm more of your plug & play player with downloaded tactics & schedules.

Reading through it has inspired to giving a go to training my own players i am using FuriousUK schedules but looking at the way you have shaped your players in your Santos save really want's me to give it a go.

Thanks you
:)
A Few questions:-

What is the minimal slider setting to stop a decrease in that stat.

It depends as every single player is different. What's optimal for 1 player isn't for the next and so on. The best thing to do is experiment and keep a very close eye on the attibute and track them using the graph option. Keep checking every 2-4 weeks. That's what I'd do anyway.
Also if you had a player training happily on medium would you start putting the workload up & seeing what workload the player is happy with?

You could do yes this is a very good way of seeing what a player's limit actually is. I don't do this though as majority of my player's actually play a certain amount of games. And as I'm a fan of training player's less intense when actually a squad player.
Is there anyway to copy a training schedule? So i can then apply to a player & tweak accordingly.

Go training tab, schedules then manage schedule. Here you can export a schedule you've created as many times as you want and call it different things.
On my current career save i have 3 or 4 ageing players (Fletcher, Vargas & Dawson but i like there experience & mental stats. What sort of schedule would benefit the veteran players but not tire them out to much as always physical stats are dieing.

Again every player is different but focusing on their physical attributes should stand them well as they get older because if you can stop those dropping fast then you'll prolong his career. I like well balanced but with lots of aerobic
:)
Do you still use the same Pre Season schedule as per your
? I've never used pre season schedules on FM is there an actual benefit to them?

The conditioning schedule that is already in the game is great. By using a pre season schedule you decrease the risk of tiredness towards the end of the season and reduce the risk of injuries due to the players been better prepared. You also stop the natural decline of the stats during the off season and should get them back how they were for the season if you use pre season schedule.
Do you have a rule of thumb regarding young players? (i.e 15-17 U18s, 17-19 Reserves & 19 - 24 Loan/first team/sell)

Nope I treat every player differently, I'll be putting more exmples up once I get the time to give you more of an insight into how I approach it though.
Injuries how to avoid? Is there any extreme setting that should be avoided such as setting a slider to intensive. What workload best avoids injury or is it a bit luck but mainly player based on hidden stat injury prone?

Keep a track of any training injuries that happen and make sure it's not related to strength or aerobic, the rest should be fine really.

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@Cleon , thanks for the quick reply! Just started my very first schedule :p made a Veteran schedule for Vargas got loads more to do but looking forward to getting more involved with this side of the game.

vargas.png

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Individual focus Quickness.

So i can get away with using the conditioning schedule during pre season?

Anyways i'll stop clogging up your thread with my crap.

Thanks for the inspiration <3

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Marcao's physicals are simply astonishing. Such an increase in those attributes. Definitely need to give tutoring a bit more of an effort with my new Chelsea save, will have some great mentors in there already. I am excited after reading your thread, should be fun. Over the last two FM's I have come to put more effort into the schedules of youngsters, really is crucial in their development.

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The conditioning schedule that is already in the game is great. By using a pre season schedule you decrease the risk of tiredness towards the end of the season and reduce the risk of injuries due to the players been better prepared. You also stop the natural decline of the stats during the off season and should get them back how they were for the season if you use pre season schedule.

So do you have all your (first team squad) players on the conditioning schedule until, say, the week before the first competitive game of the season? And the conditioning schedule already in the game is just as good for wingers as for CB's?

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So do you have all your (first team squad) players on the conditioning schedule until, say, the week before the first competitive game of the season? And the conditioning schedule already in the game is just as good for wingers as for CB's?

I use it until every single player is match fit and has good condition. Depending on how you set up the friendlies this is normally around 7-10 days before the first league match. So then I'll just revert them to their normal schedules that I created. I even do the same for the u23's and u20's.

The conditioning schedule is pretty much universal that comes with he good and will be good enough for any player to use :)

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@Cleon , thanks for the quick reply! Just started my very first schedule :p made a Veteran schedule for Vargas got loads more to do but looking forward to getting more involved with this side of the game.

vargas.png

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Individual focus Quickness.

So i can get away with using the conditioning schedule during pre season?

Anyways i'll stop clogging up your thread with my crap.

Thanks for the inspiration <3

Feel free to clog up the thread with any questions you need, I don't mind it's what the thread is for :)

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One thing I'd like to add: the level of training will impact on performance as well. People were asking the difference between training attacking, for e.g., on medium versus high, or intensive, thats the big one.

Like if I have a midfielder who takes a lot of shots. Well, the midfield training is by default set up to focus firstly on ball control, then on physicality (aerobic, strength). To increase the effectiveness of the players' shots you need to increase the amount of time they practice shooting. So a midfielder who has great long shots but doesn't practice much shooting will do worse in this regard than the same midfielder, with more shooting practice!

Found this out for eg. with my best attacking mid, who I moved into a forward role (accomplished...), and started training to learn the new position. Performances were ****. Took him off the midfielder training, put him on striker training, the goals have kept flowing, and its 3 years on. But what i found interesting is that his performances where actually quite bad WHILE I was trying to teach him to be a better striker! The extra practice time benefitted him more than learning the position better!

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I'm not doubting you but is that really how it works? I thought training was only about shaping the attributes of the player.

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I'm not doubting you but is that really how it works? I thought training was only about shaping the attributes of the player.

It is. Training has no impact on player performance in a game. I wish it did :(

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I have another quick question on training. It's been mentioned that Professional players complain less about their training workload.

I have a player who seems to contradict that. He is listed as being a model professional with 18 determination but each month I get a message saying he is unhappy with his training workload so each month I reduce it by 1 or 2 notches overall. It's now at the lower end of medium overall and he is still complaining!

Are other attributes taken into consideration in training? Work Rate, Controversy, Temperament etc? Since he is very high on professionalism it's conceivable his temperament and controversy is also quite high which might counteract his training performance

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I have another quick question on training. It's been mentioned that Professional players complain less about their training workload.

I have a player who seems to contradict that. He is listed as being a model professional with 18 determination but each month I get a message saying he is unhappy with his training workload so each month I reduce it by 1 or 2 notches overall. It's now at the lower end of medium overall and he is still complaining!

Are other attributes taken into consideration in training? Work Rate, Controversy, Temperament etc? Since he is very high on professionalism it's conceivable his temperament and controversy is also quite high which might counteract his training performance

Can it be that you have him do all sorts of other things as well (individual focus, ppm, new position, match prep, etc), and that it's the total amount of stuff he's complaining about?

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Cheers for the response!

He's a goalkeeper so no PPM and no new Position. Match prep is interesting as in his Info page he says the team should be working more on Match prep (All tactics are fluid so I've set it to teamwork and very low apart from days prior to matches where I set it to High/Attacking or Defending). Could that be what the Training report news message is referring to when it says the player is unhappy with the training workload?

I'm away from home just now so can't check the wording of the news message but from memory its just 'unhappy with workload. Is it possible for the player to be unhappy with the workload because it's too low?!

Edit - Also have Training focus on throwing on high setting

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Hey, just signed an unreal youth, and I can't find somebody suitable to tutor him due to his determination being so high. I don't want any of my senior strikers tutoring him, so I was wondering that if I signed this striker Denis Godeas, who has twenty determination, is a model pro, but doesn't have good stats, would it benefit or hinder my regen?

2012-04-27_00003.jpg

2012-04-27_00004.jpg

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His reputation will have to be higher than that of your prospect and he'll also have to have a higher squad status for him to be able to actually tutor him. If you do manage to have them paired and the youngster improves his personality it will obviously benefit him, however I don't think tutoring can really affect a youngster negatively (if the tutor has a better personality of course), even if the players fall out in the end.

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Losing determination is never good, but when its at 18 going down to 16 isn't such a big deal. But I remember I had a promising attacking mid and tutoring him (for preffered moves, mainly!) from 2 different players brought it down from a superhuman 19 or 20 to a very human 14. I never had the same passion to develop him after. Or tutor, in general! 75% of my youths are brought up without tutoring, so I make sure to sign youths who already have a good personality, and high determination!

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Cheers for the response!

He's a goalkeeper so no PPM and no new Position. Match prep is interesting as in his Info page he says the team should be working more on Match prep (All tactics are fluid so I've set it to teamwork and very low apart from days prior to matches where I set it to High/Attacking or Defending). Could that be what the Training report news message is referring to when it says the player is unhappy with the training workload?

I'm away from home just now so can't check the wording of the news message but from memory its just 'unhappy with workload. Is it possible for the player to be unhappy with the workload because it's too low?!

Edit - Also have Training focus on throwing on high setting

The news item you get won't say anything other than he is unhappy. If you look in the bottom left of the players training page, it will give you a bit more info about why he is unhappy with training. My guess is that it's either the match prep being too low, or (as he's a GK) he thinks the ball control training is too low. That's the common complaint I've had with GK's.

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I've brought this up in another thread, but this one appears to be the 'go to' thread for Youth Development

It's a concept I picked up from another thread here that has also been lost along the way. In effect what it is, is that players have tendencies to improve certain stats faster or better than others.

What is suggested is that we can determine what these tendencies are by looking at the Training Levels of a player. When a player has a high training level despite low training or more importantly for us, low training level with high training level we are miss-matching the schedule with what is in the players natural growth. So in this regard I do a monthly check of the players to see if they are training optimally.

As an example, I'm using a reserve player on a non-player specific schedule to show you how my constant update process would work, and then I'll show you Cleverley's schedule which required minor updates. (unfortunately I'm into my second month of the season which means my players are already on adjusted schedules)

keane.jpg

Here you can see the player is on my standard Fullback training schedule. What I want you to look at is the position of the sliders to the Training Levels, specifically the comparison the Ball Control and Attacking levels and sliders. (I can confirm that the player has been on this schedule for at least two months with no changes or injuries and as you'll notice his overall progress is good so there are no issues with his overall improvements)

The schedule he has is on 9 clicks Ball Control and 11 clicks on Attacking, but if we look at his Training Level you'll see that he is still twice as likely to increase in Ball Control attributes than Attacking ones. I suppose one could hold two theories on this, either it means we need more Attacking training to get his crossing and passing up, or we are wasting our time with Attacking training. I've taken a view that it is latter, what I would do in this instance is drop down his Attacking training by 2/3 clicks and transfer them to Ball Control where he appears to have an affinity for gaining attributes.

Here's Cleverley's situation:

cleverley.jpg

Here the training is clearly biased towards Defending over Shooting despite the player having the same training intensity in the two categories. So this month I make the slight adjustment of moving two notches from Shooting to Defending.

My goal in all this is to make sure that when the player gains CA I maximise the the attribute increases I receive. I would guess the CA cost of Shooting attributes for Cleverley at this time significantly higher than Defending attributes and thus it makes more sense for us to distribute the players CA gain where it will be most optimally utilised.

This system may not work in those instances where you are trying to mould a player and are theoretically fighting against his natural attribute gain.

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LlamaZA, can you provide screenshots of both players' attributes at this time? That would help understand whether, say, Keane's not benefitting from Attacking training due to already having good numbers for crossing, passing, etc., while his numbers for things like first touch, technique etc. are lower allowing Ball Control training to cause a greater gain. And similarly for Cleverley. I'm pretty sure this is the case, but would be very interested if it wasn't.

This system may not work in those instances where you are trying to mould a player and are theoretically fighting against his natural attribute gain.

I'll try paraphrase this to what I think you mean - correct me if I get it wrong. (Also, this is based on the above hypothesis that the reason Keane's training levels vary so much for two categories given a similar number of clicks is because of his attributes in one category already being higher.)

The way you're training these two players is to 'fill the gaps' in any attributes that they are weaker in; e.g. Keane might have great passing and crossing, but his poor technique and first touch are holding him back from being a quality attacking full back. Cleverley might be a good attacking midfielder with an eye for goal, but you'd like him to be able to contribute more defensively.

This is in contrast to further 'specialising' the players (something you might still do later once you deem the 'gaps' to be 'filled') - seeing that Cleverley is already looking like a good attacking midfielder, and so focusing upon those attributes in the aim of making him a lethal attacking mid, but not really a useful defensive presence. Specialising will require high focus on categories that the players already have high attributes for in order to make further improvement - what you describe as "fighting against his natural attribute gain".

Yes? No?

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LlamaZA, can you provide screenshots of both players' attributes at this time? That would help understand whether, say, Keane's not benefitting from Attacking training due to already having good numbers for crossing, passing, etc., while his numbers for things like first touch, technique etc. are lower allowing Ball Control training to cause a greater gain. And similarly for Cleverley. I'm pretty sure this is the case, but would be very interested if it wasn't.

I'm just going to type out the relevant attributes since its easier and clearer:

Keane

Attacking:

Crossing - 8

Passing - 10

Creativity - 4

Off the Ball - 9

Ball Control:

Dribbling - 4

First Touch - 11

Heading - 12

Technique - 11

Flair - 5

Cleverley

Defending:

Marking - 10

Tackling - 10

Positioning - 10

Shooting:

Finishing - 13

Long Shots - 14

So in short - no, its not because the player has higher/lower attributes already. In both cases the player is not saturated in either set of attributes, and Keane is tending towards those attributes he's higher in while Cleverley he's preferring the lower attributes.

I'll try paraphrase this to what I think you mean - correct me if I get it wrong. (Also, this is based on the above hypothesis that the reason Keane's training levels vary so much for two categories given a similar number of clicks is because of his attributes in one category already being higher.)

Your hypothesis is wrong :(

The way you're training these two players is to 'fill the gaps' in any attributes that they are weaker in; e.g. Keane might have great passing and crossing, but his poor technique and first touch are holding him back from being a quality attacking full back. Cleverley might be a good attacking midfielder with an eye for goal, but you'd like him to be able to contribute more defensively.

This is in contrast to further 'specialising' the players (something you might still do later once you deem the 'gaps' to be 'filled') - seeing that Cleverley is already looking like a good attacking midfielder, and so focusing upon those attributes in the aim of making him a lethal attacking mid, but not really a useful defensive presence.

No, in fact it usually ends up being the opposite to a 'fill the gaps' method. The player has a tendency to prefer areas where he is already strong. Cleverley has high training schedule and level in Tactics where his attributes range from 12 to 15.

My method tends to be a specialising method and I use Individual Training Focus to fix any weaknesses.

I think the key lies in the position the player prefers, Keane is a natural CB and thus prefers to train Heading over all the other attributes listed, so has a preference for Ball Control training. Cleverley is being trained as an MC and perhaps this is the cause for him 'wanting' Defending training.

Specialising will require high focus on categories that the players already have high attributes for in order to make further improvement - what you describe as "fighting against his natural attribute gain".

Fighting against his natural attribute gain is more based on what the player is tending towards, factors that I think are relevant are; his positions, the roles he plays, and his age. I don't think players tend to try gain in weaknesses, imagine you were training Hernandez in real life - he'd probably gain a lot more from an hour of finishing practice (something relevant for his position, something he enjoys doing and something he already has some skill in) than he would from 2 hours of learning to man-mark (no relevance, and since he has no skill or finds any enjoyment in it, he'd probably be more frustrated and not pick up anything)

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Your hypothesis is wrong

Yeah, seems that way. So everything beyond that point became wrong as well, because as I said my paraphrasing was based on that hypothesis.

I think the key lies in the position the player prefers, Keane is a natural CB and thus prefers to train Heading over all the other attributes listed, so has a preference for Ball Control training. Cleverley is being trained as an MC and perhaps this is the cause for him 'wanting' Defending training.

I like this perspective already. It makes a lot more sense and is a more realistic 'engine' for player training that my "training-by-numbers" approach. Thanks :)

Fighting against his natural attribute gain is more based on what the player is tending towards, factors that I think are relevant are; his positions, the roles he plays, and his age.

So if a player's positional familiarity were to change - say a newgen followed the career path of Gareth Bale, starting as a natural fullback before being retrained into a natural winger / wide mid - then their 'preference' for certain training categories could also change? i.e. whereas before he would have had low training levels for, say, 'shooting', he might now have a higher training level for that?

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