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Approaching Pre-Season - My take On It


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Pre-Season

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;

  • Morale
  • Fitness
  • 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.

Morale

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.

Fitness

Every player at the club must be match fit before the season starts. If not then you’ll find they tire more quickly and increase the risk of picking up injuries or little niggles from games. I can do without this so I ensure everyone is fit all the time. By getting everyone match fit it means you can throw them into the first team should you suffer injuries/suspensions early on in the season and don’t have to worry that they aren’t fit. It also becomes easier to maintain throughout the season

Tactic Familiarity

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 11 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 2-3 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.

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.

Those are the things I concentrate on. But to show you how it all plays out in FM here is my pre-season took from my Sheffield United saved game.

Friendlies

This is how I’ve set up the friendlies, as you can see there is quite a few in a short space of time which is more beneficial and allows me to make sure every single player is match fit and plays games.

Friendlies.png

I could squeeze more games in if I wanted but I think anything around 10 is fine. I do realise I’ve only got 9 but that’s because I am playing in the Community Shield, I don’t take that competition serious and class it as a glorified friendly.

Another thing you could do which I haven’t done is set up friendlies for the reserves/u18’s as well if you have very large squads. That way you can get players up to fitness quickly. Plus if you do reserve friendlies you can add some of your first team to the side just to gain fitness. It’s a great way of utilising them for people who have larger squads.

Training

It’s important that you change the slider to how it is in this screenshot if you want to learn tactic familiarity as quick as possible. If you don’t need to learn tactical familiarity then you don’t have to have it as extreme as this 50/50.

Training.png

As you can see I am concentrating on fitness for the general training and tactics as the match training. I don’t have what I class as a large squad so I expect my players to be match fit with-in 3-4 games. So by the 10 day I can then change the focus onto team cohesion for the remainder of pre-season.

This is how my familiarity currently looks;

Tactic%20Familarity.png

I expect almost all of these to be fluid before the first game of the season.

After three friendly games my match fitness levels for the players is as follows;

Match%20Fit.png

I should point out here that I went on a training camp which the board arrange so while you are at a training camp things learn slightly faster than they do during the time you don’t go to a camp. So if you don’t go to a camp it normally takes around 4-6 games rather than the 3. Nonetheless the basics are still the same.

After four games my tactic familiarity now looks like this;

4gamestacticfam.png

And at the end of pre-season this is what it looks like;

endofpreseasonTF.png

And that is it, my approach to how I handle pre-season :)

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I have just bought FM13, done rather poorly with swansea 1st season. Finished 15th, due to other teams being worse mainly. Im playing good football, but not scoring.

Anyways, I didnt pay much attention pre season last year, and Im assuming it is a reason as to why I did so badly. This year I want to put much more of an emphasis on pre season and this post is really help full. I used to just arrange as many glamour friendly games as I could to earn as much cash as possible. Not any more.

On top of this, I have an opening 6 fixtures of Spurs (A). Chelsea, (H), Arsenal (A), Cardiff (A), Liverpool (H) and Fulham (H). I need to give myself every chance of earning points or Im going to struggle this year again. I have a defensive, keep ball based tactic im working on, im talking really negative, only aim is to recycle possession, offering no real threat to try and pinch a win. In the season I would switch to it only in games where a draw is a good result, (Spurs, chelsea, Arsenal & Liverpool, for example) Or games my fans wont accept a loss in, E.G Cardiff away.

The point I am trying to make is, would you plan your pre-season around using this negative, keep ball football for the opening five games, in an aim to get some morale boosting early results?

I need a bit more time to get to grips with the layouts of the new training module. At the moment, 90% of my players are unhappy with high training, although I have reduced workloads down and removed player specific individual training, overall workloads are low, but after 2 months they are still complaining...

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I have just bought FM13, done rather poorly with swansea 1st season. Finished 15th, due to other teams being worse mainly. Im playing good football, but not scoring.

Anyways, I didnt pay much attention pre season last year, and Im assuming it is a reason as to why I did so badly. This year I want to put much more of an emphasis on pre season and this post is really help full. I used to just arrange as many glamour friendly games as I could to earn as much cash as possible. Not any more.

On top of this, I have an opening 6 fixtures of Spurs (A). Chelsea, (H), Arsenal (A), Cardiff (A), Liverpool (H) and Fulham (H). I need to give myself every chance of earning points or Im going to struggle this year again. I have a defensive, keep ball based tactic im working on, im talking really negative, only aim is to recycle possession, offering no real threat to try and pinch a win. In the season I would switch to it only in games where a draw is a good result, (Spurs, chelsea, Arsenal & Liverpool, for example) Or games my fans wont accept a loss in, E.G Cardiff away.

The point I am trying to make is, would you plan your pre-season around using this negative, keep ball football for the opening five games, in an aim to get some morale boosting early results?

I need a bit more time to get to grips with the layouts of the new training module. At the moment, 90% of my players are unhappy with high training, although I have reduced workloads down and removed player specific individual training, overall workloads are low, but after 2 months they are still complaining...

If you've got time then you might want to read this thread to learn more about training and how it works;

http://community.sigames.com/showthread.php/343043-Ajax-Youth-Development-%E2%80%93-When-The-Real-World-Meets-Football-Manager

As for your other questions about preparing for negative football - I'd just approach it with whatever tactic I was going to play for the coming season.

It sounds like you've already given up before the season as started and already think you've lost those games. You should have a read around the forum or use the important links thread at the top of the forum and have a look at some of those topics to see how other people approach the game. You might find a few tips :)

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Cheers for the advice. Very much appreciated.

TBH, I have just come off the back of a 15 season save as West Ham on FM12 which was all too easy, I was expecting FM13 to be not too dissimilar. Uhh... Its a lot more in depth, with more of a focus on Football, if that makes sense? In previous FM's id get so caught up in sliders and stats, pass numbers, and little green arrows that i forgot, Football is a simple game really.

Im enjoying so much more trying to play organic football that makes sense in the situation I am currently in, with the players I currently have. No team promoted would play a 433 Attacking, balls to the wall formation knowing that they will score 30+ goals from near post corners. I think the way this plays now, it is as tough as the team you decide to play as. Results feel realistic, or atleast have a realistic reason when a shock happens. (I beat Liverpool 3-1 at anfield, after a European game when they had an injury crisis.) Im really enjoying it so far

Oh yeah, I read through that Ajax thread, and it was a MAJOR influence in swaying me to buy the game this weekend. (And GAME's £17.50 DLC offer) Its a great read and your a credit to the community here. I have always been fascinated by the Ajax philosophy, from youngsters, to the way they handle transfers and blood players into the first team. When things go well, the results are spectacular. I loved the Ajax team of Bergkamp, Overmars, Blind, Davids etc.. Phenomenal.

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As ever, a useful overview. The main thing I take from it is:

"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."

A simple but critical clarification. My tactical familiarity is generally pretty poor - after 15 La Liga games I'm still only accomplished with my formation (60%), which is frankly crap!

Everything else is at 100%, so I find it odd that just this one element is so far behind - any ideas?

Note this is the same formation as I used for around 20 games at the tail end of the previous season too - surely they'd be more familiar than that?!

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As ever, a useful overview. The main thing I take from it is:

"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."

A simple but critical clarification. My tactical familiarity is generally pretty poor - after 15 La Liga games I'm still only accomplished with my formation (60%), which is frankly crap!

Everything else is at 100%, so I find it odd that just this one element is so far behind - any ideas?

Note this is the same formation as I used for around 20 games at the tail end of the previous season too - surely they'd be more familiar than that?!

Are you training a different formation at the same time?

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Are you training a different formation at the same time?

Yes......two backup tactics are available with very different shapes, but with very similar fluidity profiles - 100% on everything but formation at around 60%.

If I chop them does everything become rosy?

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Yes......two backup tactics are available with very different shapes, but with very similar fluidity profiles - 100% on everything but formation at around 60%.

If I chop them does everything become rosy?

That is why its taking longer than the rest because you are learning 3 different shapes :)

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Quick question. Do you leave your players on their individual focus during this preseason period or lighten it up?

Take them off if they are learning individual roles but leave them on if they are working on individual attributes :)

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Cleon,

First, it's good to finally see you post pictures of how you approach pre-season training. Second, the difference with me is that I don't set up that many friendlies.

Question: If you set up so many friendlies and have only one day between each of them, then wouldn't your players not spend any time on general training (and/or individual training) when the split with Match Prep is at 50/50? Because as we can see from the screenshot, Match Prep when set to 50% takes place the day before a game and on the same day as the game (in other words, it takes 2 days). So basically, with so many friendlies packed so close to one another, your players spend all their time on Match Prep training, not General and/or Individual training.

Another point, IRL teams usually spend at least 1 week and sometimes even 2 weeks worth of fitness training before they even play the first friendly match of their pre-season. I follow that model into FM - 1 week of fitness training, during the second week of fitness training we play 2 friendlies, then 1 week of ball control (plus 2 more friendlies) and 1 week of tactics (yet 2 more friendlies). I schedule my friendlies every 4 days and my Match Prep is always set to Tactics Only at 50% until the first official game of the season when it switches to Attacking Movement at 20%.

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Cleon,

First, it's good to finally see you post pictures of how you approach pre-season training. Second, the difference with me is that I don't set up that many friendlies.

Question: If you set up so many friendlies and have only one day between each of them, then wouldn't your players not spend any time on general training (and/or individual training) when the split with Match Prep is at 50/50? Because as we can see from the screenshot, Match Prep when set to 50% takes place the day before a game and on the same day as the game (in other words, it takes 2 days). So basically, with so many friendlies packed so close to one another, your players spend all their time on Match Prep training, not General and/or Individual training.

Another point, IRL teams usually spend at least 1 week and sometimes even 2 weeks worth of fitness training before they even play the first friendly match of their pre-season. I follow that model into FM - 1 week of fitness training, during the second week of fitness training we play 2 friendlies, then 1 week of ball control (plus 2 more friendlies) and 1 week of tactics (yet 2 more friendlies). I schedule my friendlies every 4 days and my Match Prep is always set to Tactics Only at 50% until the first official game of the season when it switches to Attacking Movement at 20%.

In pre-season the match training is the most important aspect for me because of tactic familarity. I need that fluid as soon as possible so my team know how to play when the season kicks off.

I don't play friendlies 1 day after each other, normally its 3 days per game. But sometimes when you go on a training camp you try and fit as many games in as possible in the 10 days period or however long you get because players learn faster than normal, so it makes sense to make the most of this.

I'm guessing in your approach though that when the season starts you are still far from fluid?

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In pre-season the match training is the most important aspect for me because of tactic familarity. I need that fluid as soon as possible so my team know how to play when the season kicks off.

I don't play friendlies 1 day after each other, normally its 3 days per game. But sometimes when you go on a training camp you try and fit as many games in as possible in the 10 days period or however long you get because players learn faster than normal, so it makes sense to make the most of this.

I'm guessing in your approach though that when the season starts you are still far from fluid?

No, my tactics familiarity is fluid by the time the season starts. The only aspect that is not fluid is "formation" because I have 2 different formations set up for my team. And I leave my Match Prep higher than you during the regular season - at 20%.

How do you deal if you are managing a club where you have a lot of international players (both first team and youth) called up during parts of your pre-season? You know, Confederations Cup, Copa America, World Cup, European Championship, Olympics, Qualifiers and International friendlies. When I'm managing Barca, I have lots of players who are called up at various international levels for various matches. I also like to give them a proper rest of maybe 2 weeks before I start my pre-season, but I also like to play all my friendlies before they are called up again in mid-August. My players don't return from holiday until second week of July and usually most key players need at least a week of additional rest before we start again. Thoughts?

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Started a new save today and played 14 friendlys with the things you described above, and for the first time my tactic seemed to work in the first matches of the season.

Never thought it would work with that many matches in such a short period, but now I learned that you don't have to play in all matches your best players, to get the tactical familiarity up :)

One question, looking to your 352 formation in the Opening Post. I'm really wondering how you would play against a team that plays the 4-3-3, since you use 3 central defenders, and your wingers aren't that defensive at their instructions?

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Very interesting thread indeed, especially the amount of friendlies you choose to play, I've been doing the standard couple easy games, a couple of competetive matches before ending with a drubbing of the local pub team.

How early into the new season do you start your Preseason training? From my understanding of it players get jaded easier towards the latter end of the season if they're exposed to an intense preseason for a long period, something that's bitten me before especially with a small squad. Your friendlies start on the 11th so are you bringing them back a week before to get into the swing of things, or are you bringing them back around that date and throwing them straight into the friendlies?

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At the first post, at the screenshot of training seems like "schedulling" is greyed out and can't be changed. Is this the case?

At least in my training screen I can't change it, or at least I don't know how to do it. Can you help me out or it's a matter of facilities?

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great tread. just 2 questions:

- when do u substitute a player? at half time or when his condition drops below a certain value?

- won't the players get complacent after these wins or find it hard to motivate themselves against weaker opponents?

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Even if you play 11 friendlies and smash every team 6-0 you probably aren't going to see complacency creeping in. If you play 11 competitive matches and smash every team 6-0, then yes, you are probably going to have to start increasing pressure on players, seeding doubt about your chances, rotating in hungrier squad players, etc.

But for preseason it shouldn't matter.

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this is a quality thread with some really good points. Cleon is a genius with his tactical threads.

Fuhrerul, im no FM genius but i tend to substitute players anytime after the 70 min mark but only if there below 65% or playing really bad. You might wonder why i say 65% but this is a figure i just come up with. I believe changing to many players can unbalance your team but not changing players can lead to late goals through fatigue.

I also have a problem sometime with complacency against smaller teams, i pin this down to team talks. Im still not on top of team talks but i tend to never go in agressive and have a go at my team unless i really need to. In my history of this game player morale is a major part of the game.

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Nice thread, interesting point about training multiple formations hindering how quickly tactics are learned. I never considered that! I sometimes just train formations as a bit of an insurance policy just in case i get an injury crisis and can't play a certain way, won't be doing that so much anymore :).

My game is with the Mighty Blades too, i've set out with the plan to only sign loan players and free agents and use them to help develop my academy lads -It's encouraging to still see the likes of Maguire, Whitehouse and Diego have the potential to make the step up! Just out of interest, what are the future re-gens like?

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this is a quality thread with some really good points. Cleon is a genius with his tactical threads.

Fuhrerul, im no FM genius but i tend to substitute players anytime after the 70 min mark but only if there below 65% or playing really bad. You might wonder why i say 65% but this is a figure i just come up with. I believe changing to many players can unbalance your team but not changing players can lead to late goals through fatigue.

I also have a problem sometime with complacency against smaller teams, i pin this down to team talks. Im still not on top of team talks but i tend to never go in agressive and have a go at my team unless i really need to. In my history of this game player morale is a major part of the game.

i asked about pre-season friendlies because in those games i usually replace the whole team at half time in the first games against weaker opponents and replace players like u said in the last 1-2 games against a tougher opponents. but if i play only against weaker sides then i could replace all the players at half time

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i guess with friendlies it all depends on how your doing in that specific game. if you play alot of friendlies close to each other i do change my team at half time but sometimes i keep players on till there 65%. friendlies in my eyes are about fitness but also about getting morale up so you dont want to lose to many so playing your storngest teams sometimes helps this.

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No, my tactics familiarity is fluid by the time the season starts. The only aspect that is not fluid is "formation" because I have 2 different formations set up for my team. And I leave my Match Prep higher than you during the regular season - at 20%.

How do you deal if you are managing a club where you have a lot of international players (both first team and youth) called up during parts of your pre-season? You know, Confederations Cup, Copa America, World Cup, European Championship, Olympics, Qualifiers and International friendlies. When I'm managing Barca, I have lots of players who are called up at various international levels for various matches. I also like to give them a proper rest of maybe 2 weeks before I start my pre-season, but I also like to play all my friendlies before they are called up again in mid-August. My players don't return from holiday until second week of July and usually most key players need at least a week of additional rest before we start again. Thoughts?

Are you sure you are all fluid in everything bar formation? I've never seen anyone be able to get everything fluid with less than 10 friendlies because you don't have enough match training. So you can't be?

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Started a new save today and played 14 friendlys with the things you described above, and for the first time my tactic seemed to work in the first matches of the season.

Never thought it would work with that many matches in such a short period, but now I learned that you don't have to play in all matches your best players, to get the tactical familiarity up :)

One question, looking to your 352 formation in the Opening Post. I'm really wondering how you would play against a team that plays the 4-3-3, since you use 3 central defenders, and your wingers aren't that defensive at their instructions?

It's a 3-7-0 I don't use strikers. Ill be explaining everything though in great detail in my latest thread that I've posted about :)

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Very interesting thread indeed, especially the amount of friendlies you choose to play, I've been doing the standard couple easy games, a couple of competetive matches before ending with a drubbing of the local pub team.

How early into the new season do you start your Preseason training? From my understanding of it players get jaded easier towards the latter end of the season if they're exposed to an intense preseason for a long period, something that's bitten me before especially with a small squad. Your friendlies start on the 11th so are you bringing them back a week before to get into the swing of things, or are you bringing them back around that date and throwing them straight into the friendlies?

Who told you that players get jaded with a long pre-season? That's not true at all, players get less jaded if you have a proper pre-season. I schedule my 1st friendly for the day they come back to training for maximum effect and to use my time wisely at a training camp :)

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At the first post, at the screenshot of training seems like "schedulling" is greyed out and can't be changed. Is this the case?

At least in my training screen I can't change it, or at least I don't know how to do it. Can you help me out or it's a matter of facilities?

I take it you are a part time club?

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great tread. just 2 questions:

- when do u substitute a player? at half time or when his condition drops below a certain value?

- won't the players get complacent after these wins or find it hard to motivate themselves against weaker opponents?

I sub players based on a number of things, poor performances, change on player to offer something different, he could be injured, low condition etc. If anyone got below 70% they'd be off instant though. Tired players = someone tired and not able to carry out the required tasks.

Pre-season results don't matter for me and as the opposition are so weak complacency shouldn't really be an issue at all :)

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Very great read. I've always held off playing against weaker sides in pre-season to protect the team against complacency. I'm assuming that because fitness levels and cohesion

are high, the players play with confidence?

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Who told you that players get jaded with a long pre-season? That's not true at all, players get less jaded if you have a proper pre-season. I schedule my 1st friendly for the day they come back to training for maximum effect and to use my time wisely at a training camp :)

Yeah, the day after I wrote this I realized I'd completely misread one of the ingame hints & tips...Thought I'd got one over you there :lol: On another note, I'm a few games into the new season on my game and having setup a similar preseason to your own the difference in the players is really noticeable. They look zippy and up for it, whereas in previous seasons I've always struggled through the first few matches just putting it down to it being early season.

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Excellent thread as always Cleon. Learnt another 1-2 new things which I'll apply during my second pre-season as the first one is now over (not disastrously but not in the perfect nature yours would).

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Take them off if they are learning individual roles but leave them on if they are working on individual attributes :)

Could you state the reasons why you suggest to do this as I was under the impression that the player spends the same amount of time on individual training regardless upon whether he is set to individual role or specific attribute.

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Could you state the reasons why you suggest to do this as I was under the impression that the player spends the same amount of time on individual training regardless upon whether he is set to individual role or specific attribute.

I didn't suggest it, someone asked me what I did :)

Because I learn roles with an heavy focus. Then add onto that all the friendlies I do and how heavy I have general training then the schedule is just too heavy and I risk injuries. Pre season I want to avoid picking up needless injuries or tiring the players out more than I need to.

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I didn't suggest it, someone asked me what I did :)

Because I learn roles with an heavy focus. Then add onto that all the friendlies I do and how heavy I have general training then the schedule is just too heavy and I risk injuries. Pre season I want to avoid picking up needless injuries or tiring the players out more than I need to.

Reason I asked is because I mainly have a number of young players on specific attribute development and just wanted to make sure that they are still receiving the same amount of training as if they were on individual role.

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Reason I asked is because I mainly have a number of young players on specific attribute development and just wanted to make sure that they are still receiving the same amount of training as if they were on individual role.

They will be learning a minimal amount for the position they play but the greater emphasis is on the attribute you are learning :)

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They will be learning a minimal amount for the position they play but the greater emphasis is on the attribute you are learning :)

Hmmm now I'm unsure what to do in regards to there training :(

I have been following your Ajax thread and have enjoyed reading it although I was under the impression that they received the same amount of training. Currently I am witnessing attribute increases of +1 over 2-3 months :(

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Just tried this approach with full match training and was amazed at how quickly my tactical familiarity got to fluid. I now have enough time to work on other training and team cohesion in the off season to be fully prepared.

This was all with a 5-week pre-season too.

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