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How do you train players who've reached their full potential?

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I have a small issue with this with my goalkeepers in particular. My current goalkeeper's reflexes has gone down from 17 to 14, in exchange for an increase in mental qualities. He's only 26.

Do you just not set an individual focus at all for players aged ~25+? Or do you train them in one specific role?

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Role training, though I eventually concede the physical battle --sooner rather than later, if I can put them in a role that doesn't have many physical demands -- and switch to whatever the most mentally-focused training they're eligible for. It depends a lot on the player. Got a couple extra really effective years out of Keisuke Honda by training him as a Regista.

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Yeah, role training, or a lot of fitness work if they're in decline. Their attributes are still fluid over time.

This makes no sense at all because fitness training doesn't stop the decline nor does it slow it down (it doesn't help in the slightest). How fast someone deteriorates is down to the NF attribute. All you're doing with lots of fitness work is redistributing his attributes to have much more of a focus on the attributes fitness covers, so in this case it would be Acceleration, Agility,Balance, Jumping, Natural Fitness, Pace, Stamina, Strength, Workrate. However you'll find NF doesn't really change that much via training. And you are increasing the risk of injuries. You can only slow decline down if you looked after the player in his earlier years if his NF allows for it but focusing on it when the player is actually in decline doesn't help one bit, its one of those myths that has carried over from an older version of the game.

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If it's a player at the peak of his power (max CA) then to me, training is all about retaining their level of ability, and redistribution to maximize their effectiveness (if only I could find a way to lower my AMC pace and longshot attributes for a bit more technique or OTB)

If they're old, well, I don't know, I always sell my player before their 31st birthday :D

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@Cleon: Does switching to mentals "work?" Anecdotally I got Honda (and Hangeland's) mentals to rise significantly as their physicals declined significantly. Already described what I did with Honda above, for Hangeland I just switched his training to Positioning until he retired.

For a player who relies exclusively on say... Pace/Acceleration, it seems hopeless to try to hang on (they peak earlier in any case). But for the right kind of player though?

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@Cleon: Does switching to mentals "work?" Anecdotally I got Honda (and Hangeland's) mentals to rise significantly as their physicals declined significantly. Already described what I did with Honda above, for Hangeland I just switched his training to Positioning until he retired.

For a player who relies exclusively on say... Pace/Acceleration, it seems hopeless to try to hang on (they peak earlier in any case). But for the right kind of player though?

Why switch it to positioning? It doesn't make much sense focusing on just one attribute that will barely change. While someone is focusing on an individual attribute it means he is training his other attributes less overall which isn't a good thing when someone is declining. You should do what you did with Honda though and maybe get some extra months/years out of them by focusing on something that is more mental based. Mentals are the last thing to decline as a role. You can have someone who is poor physically yet still amazing mentally. This should outweigh any kind of lack of physical decline if the player still has stam/NF. Without stam and NF its pointless trying imo as they'll just tire too quickly. That's why its important to focus on these things in the early years when its easier to see drastic changes in those attributes as it means they'll generally last longer into the late 30's.

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How much do injuries hit players who have reached their full potential? I've been analysing the development of my players in the last day or so but i've noticed a massive drop in technical ability for 3 of my more experienced players.

Paul Aguilar, Rubens Sambueza and Christian Giménez

Start of the Game:

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March 2015:

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Now I've had Aguilar training as a Complete Wing back, Sambueza as an Attacking Midfielder and Giménez as an inside forward for the last 2 years. All 3 are first team regulars (played 150 games between the 3 of them) but all have suffered an injury that kept them out for 3 months each.

Now Aguilar's attributes have dropped by 15 points, 10 of which from his technical, 1 from Mental and 4 from Physical.

Sambueza's attributes have dropped by 17 points, 9 from technical, 2 from mental and 6 from physical.

Giménez's attributes have dropped by 16 points, 9 from technical, 0 from mental and 7 from physical.

Now default training of team is Ball Control but i rotate each week between all the different specialisations and all 3 players are set to have heavy individual training. Coaches were 3 and a half star for each training category apart from fitness (4 star) in the first season and are all now 4 star. I have superb training facilities as well.

Now i can understand the drop in physical stats as they are indeed getting older but Aguilar should be in his prime and Sambueza should still be there even if he is coming to end of his. Still though the drop in technical ability is significant with no offset in mental attributes. I guess the question is can a 3 month injury really have that much impact on technical stats or is something else happening behind the scenes that is like to affect all of my players long term? Could it be that the attributes they start with equate to more than their CA/PA and thus the game adjusts over time or is that not possible?

So any ideas how to better manage more established players in their prime would be greatly appreciated. My younger players have been developing superbly so that bit i'm alright with it's just i don't want to toss those 3 to the scrap heap just yet. I'm very nostalgic with players after all. :)

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Now default training of team is Ball Control but i rotate each week between all the different specialisations

Doing this is pointless and has no benefit, team training is long term not short. So by rotating as frequent as you do then it is having no real effect at all. You should just leave it on balanced which is basically what you are doing anyway. Team training needs at least 12 weeks to have any kind of impact via training, anything less and its training wasted because its not had long enough to actually change anything.

As for injuries, the stats do drop and in some cases it can be qite dramatic. However if its between a 3-6 month period(the injury) then they will easily make the loss of attributes back up again in the next 2 months. The older the player though the less likely he'll ever fully recover.

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Appreciate the feedback Cleon as i know you've done a lot of research on the training and development side of things.

Let me explain the logic I'm applying in a bit more detail (it may not be right in FM technical sense but it's how i would manage a team in real life), when i say rotate i mean decision based on what i've seen in previous matches.

So default if everything is going as planned to concentrate on Ball Control and match prep as teamwork (once tactical familiarity is full)as i feel this is the bread and butter of my style of play. Control the game, press as a team, keep the ball and operate faster than anyone else. The style won't work effectively if our ball control is poor so hence that being the default.

However if in the previous couple of matches we've kept the ball well but either our shooting has been all over the place or movement in the final third has been poor and as such haven't been creating enough chances, i'd change the team training to attacking and match preparation to attacking movement. The individual training role stays the same. That would be the focus until the team got it right on the pitch. If after a couple of weeks they still weren't getting it right then i'd look at switching to tactics to get the team focusing on their decision making, off the ball etc.(Can't remember exactly whether that is covered under attacking or tactics but you get my drift).

The same goes for if the defensive side of my game has been poor I'd focus on Defending team training until i started to see improvement on the pitch.

Fitness would be used during the first part of pre-season or if we'd looked a bit lethargic (walking rather than running to press).

Team Cohesion during the final part of pre-season or if there are few disputes or morale is dropping.

I understand for youth teams you would set team training for a set period as the focus is on player development rather than results but in the first team for me the results and performance of the team are the most important. As such my primary focus of my first team training should be on strengthening the weak points i see on the pitch week in week out. The only way i can see to do that in the current FM training structure is to focus my weekly training on what i deem to be the key areas needing to be focused on by the team as a whole.

Development will still happen as a result of the individual training that happens outside of team training I guess i just wasn't expecting such a drop in attributes from some of my more experienced players and i guess it's whether given their age i'll get any of them back.

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Appreciate the feedback Cleon as i know you've done a lot of research on the training and development side of things.

Let me explain the logic I'm applying in a bit more detail (it may not be right in FM technical sense but it's how i would manage a team in real life), when i say rotate i mean decision based on what i've seen in previous matches.

So default if everything is going as planned to concentrate on Ball Control and match prep as teamwork (once tactical familiarity is full)as i feel this is the bread and butter of my style of play. Control the game, press as a team, keep the ball and operate faster than anyone else. The style won't work effectively if our ball control is poor so hence that being the default.

However if in the previous couple of matches we've kept the ball well but either our shooting has been all over the place or movement in the final third has been poor and as such haven't been creating enough chances, i'd change the team training to attacking and match preparation to attacking movement. The individual training role stays the same. That would be the focus until the team got it right on the pitch. If after a couple of weeks they still weren't getting it right then i'd look at switching to tactics to get the team focusing on their decision making, off the ball etc.(Can't remember exactly whether that is covered under attacking or tactics but you get my drift).

The same goes for if the defensive side of my game has been poor I'd focus on Defending team training until i started to see improvement on the pitch.

Fitness would be used during the first part of pre-season or if we'd looked a bit lethargic (walking rather than running to press).

Team Cohesion during the final part of pre-season or if there are few disputes or morale is dropping.

I understand for youth teams you would set team training for a set period as the focus is on player development rather than results but in the first team for me the results and performance of the team are the most important. As such my primary focus of my first team training should be on strengthening the weak points i see on the pitch week in week out. The only way i can see to do that in the current FM training structure is to focus my weekly training on what i deem to be the key areas needing to be focused on by the team as a whole.

Development will still happen as a result of the individual training that happens outside of team training I guess i just wasn't expecting such a drop in attributes from some of my more experienced players and i guess it's whether given their age i'll get any of them back.

Yeah training in FM doesn't work like that at all;

All of the above focus on sets of attributes so lets break them down and take a look;

  • Fitness : Acceleration, Agility,Balance, Jumping, Natural Fitness, Pace, Stamina, Strength, Workrate
  • Tactics: Anticipation, Composure, Concentration, Decisions, Teamwork
  • Ball Control: Dribbling, First Touch, Heading, Technique, Flair
  • Defending: Marking, Tackling, Positioning
  • Attacking: Crossing, Finishing, Long Shots, Passing, Creativity, Off the ball

So if you choose a focus this means the emphasis on the attributes listed above will be much greater than normal. You'll notice I left off balanced from the list, the reason for this is because it's like a default setting and make sure all attributes have the same focus on all attributes with no preference. The general training module is great if you want all players to train a specific way for something you are creating and take a more generic approach.

And it takes at least 12 weeks for it to have any kind of bearing. Match training is for the next match but team training isn't. As it currently stands you waste the extra training from general :(

Switching the general focus all the time won't be helping those players either because you are telling them to train different every single time. So what you are doing is constantly shifting the focus but its not having long enough to make a difference in terms of improving attributes but you are having an impact on them decreasing because none of them are being worked on long enough to sustain them. Hence why balance is much better if you use individual focus for roles/attributes.

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Well that's rubbish isn't it. Back to the drawing board :) I mean the approach hasn't done me too badly over previous version and maybe it wasn't directly affecting things after all but it did feel like it was making a difference sometimes and a bit of focused team training could overcome my teams short comings at certain points of the season. Just didn't appreciate that it was having a negative effect on my players development during their mid to late 20s and beyond...

Could this be why my teams seem to gradually gets worse and worse at shooting or passing (on the pitch rather than necessarily attributes wise) the longer my games goes on? Because their training routine is so disjointed?

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Well that's rubbish isn't it. Back to the drawing board :) I mean the approach hasn't done me too badly over previous version and maybe it wasn't directly affecting things after all but it did feel like it was making a difference sometimes and a bit of focused team training could overcome my teams short comings at certain points of the season. Just didn't appreciate that it was having a negative effect on my players development during their mid to late 20s and beyond...

Could this be why my teams seem to gradually gets worse and worse at shooting or passing (on the pitch rather than necessarily attributes wise) the longer my games goes on? Because their training routine is so disjointed?

No general training has absolutely nothing to do with what happens on the pitch, it has no influence over events, its just focusing on attribute training nothing else (team cohesion blends players together but once they are gelled it has no impact after that point, it doesn't accumulate) . It's only match training what has a slight impact on the next match and gives a very slight boost for whatever you focus for it.

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Ok I understand that's how it works in FM but that just seems wrong to me that general training has no impact on what happens on the pitch. Are there any plans for Clear Cut Chance to try and get an insight into how professional clubs approach training in general at all levels? I know you've interviewed a few coaches but i think it'd be an interesting area to get more insight into how clubs go about it and how that compares to FM. I maybe completely wrong and FM very closely mimics how professional clubs manage their trainings but for me how FM works is not how i'd approach managing training.

Part of my job (in the real world :) ) involves create trainings and training people all the time (not football and probably why my logic and approach is different). My approach is always to analyse areas that can be improved and train appropriately. Now often this can be for long and short term gains but it has to be flexible because your issues are constantly changing. There are some things you can be proactive with (in an FM sense for me Ball control, tactics and fitness) but others that you have to reactive with (Attacking, Defending). That's the logic i try to apply in FM but maybe I've just been over thinking it.

But hey at least i know now to pay less attention to it on a weekly basis. :)

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Ok I understand that's how it works in FM but that just seems wrong to me that general training has no impact on what happens on the pitch. Are there any plans for Clear Cut Chance to try and get an insight into how professional clubs approach training in general at all levels? I know you've interviewed a few coaches but i think it'd be an interesting area to get more insight into how clubs go about it and how that compares to FM. I maybe completely wrong and FM very closely mimics how professional clubs manage their trainings but for me how FM works is not how i'd approach managing training.

Part of my job (in the real world :) ) involves create trainings and training people all the time (not football and probably why my logic and approach is different). My approach is always to analyse areas that can be improved and train appropriately. Now often this can be for long and short term gains but it has to be flexible because your issues are constantly changing. There are some things you can be proactive with (in an FM sense for me Ball control, tactics and fitness) but others that you have to reactive with (Attacking, Defending). That's the logic i try to apply in FM but maybe I've just been over thinking it.

But hey at least i know now to pay less attention to it on a weekly basis. :)

I always though training was vastly different but its not really. Don't get me wrong real life and FM are still worlds apart but what seems to be lacking in FM are the options we have and what we can focus on. In real life the coaches we've spoke to feel FM is quite similar and with a few adjustments would be quite close to how it happens. By that they mean things like transition training, more group training, more match training and so on. In the next edition of CCC we have an interview with one of the best conditioning coaches in the world who works with top clubs, players not only in football but in other sports too. It's the best interview we've done so far imo and gives a great insight into the physical/conditioning side of training and how it works. Hopefully we can carry this on and do it for other aspects too and be more specific.

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Is there a "quantifiable" difference on the evolution of attributes between Balanced and Team Cohesion (once the team is gelled), and if yes what is its order of magnitude ?

And before the team is gelled (making the assumption Team Cohesion once gelled is not just a total waste) ?

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Is there a "quantifiable" difference on the evolution of attributes between Balanced and Team Cohesion (once the team is gelled), and if yes what is its order of magnitude ?

And before the team is gelled (making the assumption Team Cohesion once gelled is not just a total waste) ?

Huh? Team Cohesion has nothing to do with attributes. It just helps the players get a understanding of each other on the pitch, so it's how well they understand each other. So you'd use it when you have new signings or preseason etc. Once they've gelled it has no purpose though and you'd be wasting training if you didn't select something else. Balanced means all attributes have equal focus on them.

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You still got the question :) : I was wondering if team cohesion had also an effect on attributes or if it was plain zero. And then if it "changed" once the team was gelled, which is not the case.

To be fair, no effect at all is quite a pity. What do they do while training team cohesion, sit down and discuss ? :)

Apologies for deviating the subject, my problem was more general, even if there is a lot of information here about training, both for old and young players, thanks for that

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I always though training was vastly different but its not really. Don't get me wrong real life and FM are still worlds apart but what seems to be lacking in FM are the options we have and what we can focus on. In real life the coaches we've spoke to feel FM is quite similar and with a few adjustments would be quite close to how it happens. By that they mean things like transition training, more group training, more match training and so on. In the next edition of CCC we have an interview with one of the best conditioning coaches in the world who works with top clubs, players not only in football but in other sports too. It's the best interview we've done so far imo and gives a great insight into the physical/conditioning side of training and how it works. Hopefully we can carry this on and do it for other aspects too and be more specific.

Yeah completely agree and hopefully the work you guys are doing with Clear Cut Chance and the ideas you provoke aids SI with that evolution of FM and brings FM closer to real life. I think what i've seen within the FM scene since FM2014 has come along is this drive for people to dig deeper and deeper into the world of football and try and apply what they've learnt to FM. Some people go as far to apply concepts not often used in football and trying to apply them to how they play the game. I guess FM is still a game and as indepth as it is it's not quite keeping up with the desire of the player to dissect and implement every little piece of detail. This i guess has probably led to more frustration of players with this version than previous ones i can see FM2015 being no different.

Be interesting to see what changes, if any, are made to training in FM2015

Anyway look forward to the piece in CCC and keep up the good work. :)

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