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phd_angel

I won't praise my players anymore

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My team plays fantastic. I praise their performance. Next match against a weaker club: disaster.   I then start complaining and demanding more, then players/atmosphere go sour... 

My question is: when should I effectively praise (or keep demanding more from) my players?

Thanks in advance,

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Praise and criticism should IMO be kept for really exceptional circumstances.  If you do one or the other too often, it loses its impact and the players turn off.  Do it rarely and the effect is usually very positive.

I will try and give a mention to a MOM who gets a rating over 9, usually at the end of the game team talk and I will endorse any praise questions from the press.  I do not pay too much attention to the feedback from the staff about good performances and this is often flawed.

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It also depends on the individual. If you praise a player for a good performance and his morale drops because he's self-critical, just make a note and don't do it again.

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Thanks for your thoughts, FrazT and phnompenhandy - duly noted.

Are you referring to the pre, mid, and end of the match speeches for the entire team as well (when you can comment on their collective performance, "should be wining", "nice comeback", etc.)?

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Collective strong praise is also kept for exceptional performances although I will use" good win, boys "for most expected wins.  Even with that praise for the team, I will still individually praise a top MOM performance, particularly if the individual has not reacted positively to the general team talk.

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If my team plays well, I praise them. I just wouldn't do it at half-time, unless they need the confidence.

If the next match is against weak opposition, I demand a win.

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37 minutes ago, HUNT3R said:

If my team plays well, I praise them. I just wouldn't do it at half-time, unless they need the confidence.

 

Naturally a bit contextual. Not praising your crappy Malaga side for leading at HT at Barcelona may spring a little whack reaction...

I know that's not what you meant. But generally on that topic, there's this long-term myth that praise, any kind of praise would be a bad thing and would lead to a disasterous performance in the second half / the next match. It can't alone in the first place. If I would lose against a weak side, I would look at completely different things first and foremost. Often even more obvious ones, like, maybe did I underestimate their quality / overestimate my team's quality, was that loss one of the more unfortunate kinds, and so on (if point drops against a run of play wouldn't be in FM, that'd not be football). And secondly, context, context, CONTEXT. :D As that's how the entire module is coded, in the end.

Edited by Svenc

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Just now, Svenc said:

 

Naturally a bit contextual. Not praising your crappy Malaga side for leading at HT at Barcelona may spring a little whack reaction...

I know that's not what you meant. But generally on that topic, there's this long-term myth that praise, any kind of praise would be a bad thing and would lead to a disasterous performance in the second half / the next match. It can't alone in the first place. If you lose against a weak side, I would at completely different things first and foremost. And secondly, context, context, CONTEXT. :D As that's how the entire module is coded, in the end.

Yes, there are of course exceptions. Context is key.  :)

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I rarely praise them individually, I've noticed it may backfire too often. I once told a player that he was really good in the last game in front of goal because he scored ha hattrick. He didn't agree, he thought he could to better and he dropped on morale instead.

 

Another thing I've noticed regarding pre-match talk is to NEVER ever use the "We owe X for what happened last time"-line. It always give green and everyone is happy about it but in over 600 hours of FM18 I have never won after using that line. Not once. 

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One thing I will never do now is praise at halftime if you have a good lead, say 2-0.  Praise should be logical in these circumstances, but regardless of the team you are playing against, the second half will be a turn-off and you will at best retain the same score and at worst, lose the second half.  If they are winning at H/T I always now tell them not to get complacent and that works well.

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2 minutes ago, FrazT said:

One thing I will never do now is praise at halftime if you have a good lead, say 2-0. 

I've done this with no issues, but again it depends on context. It doesn't make sense to praise a team already full of confidence when the job isn't done.

 

You can always cautiously praise (but depends on their body language though) rather than going overboard.

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The praise doesn't have that effect though. Firstly, we know that the effect of talks lasts no more than a few minutes into each half anyway. Secondly... whether you actually retain a score or not, that is 99.99% totally tactical. When I didn't have an opposition comeback on FM16 for like five months in-game or thereabouts (just 1 goal conceded past the 75th minutes mark too), that had nought to do with talks. That was entirelly tactical, and based on a pretty simple thing. If they don't get the ball back, they can't score... If you don't stop bombing armies of players forward, then that will happen over and over in the 2nd half all the same.

This is a bit of a vicious cycle of perception, and includes AI as well. In most matches, AI won't sit on that HT score that would damn it to the defeat and don't make any change. So the perception that is oft created that comebacks would be primarily caused by something happening in the dressing room, when it is really the AI making significant changes either at HT or throughout the course of a 2nd half. Going far more attacking in general, perhaps even making that switch to 3 central forwards, etc.... Without such, nothing much would happen most of the time.

Naturally, it's not entirelly cosmetical. Ideally, it all goes hand in hand. However, the OP seems to overestimate things right there, so, just saying. A talk will never, ever be the root cause of a mental collapse or anything. The "don't get complacent" team talk is oft misudnerstood as well btw, which is naturally also the game's fault. It translates to "You are only just playing decent enough, just about meeting expectations, so don't get complacent and let them get back into this." If therefore a team would be playing real well in the context of that match (Bayern just leading 2-0 against Darmstadt is different to Burnley leading 2-0 at United), that's not what it is meant for. That's where praise kicks in -- or, not saying anything at all. Which after all, is an option too. =) There is totally room for praise all over the place. It just depends. Everything else is a myth.

Edited by Svenc

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I would almost always praise a 2-0 half time lead, or at minimum the "played well with room for improvement" if it was an easy game. Full time I would usually praise a 2 or more goal lead too. It seems to cause less problems for me than being overly demanding. I've never individually praised a player ever, I always do the team as one. 

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7 hours ago, Svenc said:

The praise doesn't have that effect though. Firstly, we know that the effect of talks lasts no more than a few minutes into each half anyway. Secondly... whether you actually retain a score or not, that is 99.99% totally tactical. When I didn't have an opposition comeback on FM16 for like five months in-game or thereabouts (just 1 goal conceded past the 75th minutes mark too), that had nought to do with talks. That was entirelly tactical, and based on a pretty simple thing. If they don't get the ball back, they can't score... If you don't stop bombing armies of players forward, then that will happen over and over in the 2nd half all the same.

This is a bit of a vicious cycle of perception, and includes AI as well. In most matches, AI won't sit on that HT score that would damn it to the defeat and don't make any change. So the perception that is oft created that comebacks would be primarily caused by something happening in the dressing room, when it is really the AI making significant changes either at HT or throughout the course of a 2nd half. Going far more attacking in general, perhaps even making that switch to 3 central forwards, etc.... Without such, nothing much would happen most of the time.

Naturally, it's not entirelly cosmetical. Ideally, it all goes hand in hand. However, the OP seems to overestimate things right there, so, just saying. A talk will never, ever be the root cause of a mental collapse or anything. The "don't get complacent" team talk is oft misudnerstood as well btw, which is naturally also the game's fault. It translates to "You are only just playing decent enough, just about meeting expectations, so don't get complacent and let them get back into this." If therefore a team would be playing real well in the context of that match (Bayern just leading 2-0 against Darmstadt is different to Burnley leading 2-0 at United), that's not what it is meant for. That's where praise kicks in -- or, not saying anything at all. Which after all, is an option too. =) There is totally room for praise all over the place. It just depends. Everything else is a myth.

Svenc, thanks a lot for your thoughts. I was intrigued with your comment on "context, context, context." I think I get it, but would you please elaborate on what are the main elements of context that affects performance?

In your comment above, I see a tension between the talk opportunities for a coach to impact the match vs. the AI (and the context) determining the match. But, it kinda feels that your view of the game tends to be deterministic (or fatalist) and the coach can't do much. Care to react to my provocation?...

Thanks once again,

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Context is indeed everything. My context is that playing an Academy Challenge, my players are extremely young - mostly 18 years olds, with 16 year olds getting a bit of game time. So I am generous with the praise (post-match, individual praise, monthly training reports, awards), not to affect pitch performances but to mould their personalities, in particular to get them to like "daddy". I like to think in the long run it will increase their loyalty when other clubs come snooping around.

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The main issue I am having with player interactions is that the context isn't clear.

On the one hand, Oxford City have a media prediction of finishing 17th. As a consequence the majority of match previews refer to the opponent being strong favourites and our need to pick up points in our fight against relegation (even when we were in the top half of the table).

On the other hand, the pundit's observations pre- and post-match consider the teams to be evenly matched.

This means that it is difficult to gauge, for example, whether being level at half-time is exceeding expectations or not and whether the players should be treated to praise/encouragement/rollocking?

I have reported this as a bug.

Edited by The Enforcer

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I often play with very young squads. Praise and generally calming-down talks tend to have a very strong effect and produce amazing performances, because they are stressed and eager to please and if you dig into them they'll shut down.

However, I keep an eye on the team morale. If we’ve been winning and everyone is flying high, I stop praising. I don’t put them down either; sometimes I’ll just skip the last team talk to avoid praising them or having to say anything else. If we are flying high I’ll also put more pressure on my senior players to perform. At half time if they are under-performing I will lean on them.

Sometime it is the opposite with senior players. You can't praise too much 'cause they are pros and know how they are playing. If you praise a senior too much he'll think he has you in his pocket and will start slacking.

 

On 1/26/2018 at 19:10, phd_angel said:

I praise their performance. Next match against a weaker club: disaster. 

Absolutely 100% dig into your team when playing against weaker opposition. IRL I don't believe it needs to be this way, but in FM your players often turn into defeatist morons when facing any manner of smaller opposition. So point fingers, threaten, fine, yell, and more. Make it crystal clear that there are expectations and failure to meet them = pain. Go a bit easier on the young players (like using "calm" instead of "assertive") but still let them feel some pressure. It doesn't hurt to go out with a couple of players feeling nervous.

It's a balance. If you over do it the young players shut down and the seniors start thinking "I don't get paid enough for this" and go back to slacking, but if you walk the line you can get them to perform well enough to take the points.

 

On 1/26/2018 at 19:10, phd_angel said:

I then start complaining and demanding more, then players/atmosphere go sour...

The trick is to get the hang of it so that you preempt the situation instead of reacting to it. Like you identified, if you over-praise they under-perform, then you get over-aggressive to correct and they start shutting down. The trick is to avoid the overs and unders. Don't over-praise and do set expectations, then they won't under-perform. If problems start, don't over-correct.

And whatever you do, don't let player morale drop below yellow because of something you did. Ideally, if you are treating the players correctly you can keep them in the green zone, even if you have to fine them. I do that all the time, fine for bad lazy performances or stupid red cards. Then you defend your action and they back down and stay green. So keep that in mind: when you have to correct their behavior, be strong but you should be able to keep their morale green. That means they accept their part in it, and your firm management hand, and respect that the decision is for the good of the club. If you send their morale off into the orange zone then it means they don't agree, don't understand your reaction, and feel victimized by your tyrannical behavior.

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23 hours ago, phnompenhandy said:

I am generous with the praise [...] to mould their personalities, in particular to get them to like "daddy". I like to think in the long run it will increase their loyalty when other clubs come snooping around.

Solid point.

I do the dance with any new players and young players. Constantly looking for opportunities to give feedback (positive AND negative). Every interaction that goes well (that the player accepts) raises their respect and appreciation for you (and maybe for the club?). This has a huge effect in negotiating contracts and being able to fend off offers. But most importantly, it shapes your relationship so that you can get away with making some man-management mistakes and not upset them quite as bad.

I used to do that all the time, make management mistakes. Like confuse a player that is being tactically outplayed (my fault) for what I thought was a lazy performance. Or fine a red-carded player when the team feels that the red card was a mistake by the ref. But if you take the time to build a relationship with the player, their reaction to the grievance is far more contained, and at times they'll even let you win the argument even if they think you are wrong.

Players with good rapport will react better to team talks too. So when you get aggressive to correct a perceived issue of complacency, you'll have more leeway to be rough before they start shutting down.

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On 27.1.2018 at 17:39, phd_angel said:

But, it kinda feels that your view of the game tends to be deterministic (or fatalist) and the coach can't do much. Care to react to my provocation?...


Wasn't trying to say. It's just that talks in general tend to be highly overrated in general. F'r instance, my comment about opposition comebacks. Players tend to attribute that to having given "praise" to players at a half time lead, upon which their team, so that perception goes, would totally switch off and crumble in the second half. Firstly, a talk can't do that itself. Secondly, giving praise is fine, it depends on when you give it, as else the option would be a trap, and silly. Thirdly, without the AI opposition manager typically changing and chopping things up, oft including multiple subs which should spring the clue, a majority of such comebacks would never transpire. If they wouldn't go far more attacking, oft even switching formations, adding attack duties, pushing further players forward, then that added pressure just wouldn't happen much, and without it, a good deal of comebacks. Which is the opposite of the game being "deterministic". It's just that the talks itself aren't anywhere close in that pecking order of things that influence the ebb and flow of a match. They don't push players up in numbers, nor do they do vice versa, etc.

At best they slightly affect the mental state of players, and mainly the first couple of minutes in each half. Upon which the run and events of play take over (bookings, goals for/against, etc.) It is your job to asses what is tactical, man management related and what isn't. Every now and then, you will lose against worse opposition, that's just the way it is. There is the danger for you that perception bias kicks in. You're going to form the opinion that "uh, oh, better not praise, because I just KNOW what's going to happen then". And as losses against worse teams happen, you're stuck in that circle of perception that this was the team talk as the root cause (it can't and never is -- it can contribute some, but that's it). You auto-confirm your beliefs, sorta... and be it by the simple fact that such matches may happen. :)

 

Edited by Svenc

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On 1/26/2018 at 20:10, phd_angel said:

My team plays fantastic. I praise their performance. Next match against a weaker club: disaster.   I then start complaining and demanding more, then players/atmosphere go sour... 

My question is: when should I effectively praise (or keep demanding more from) my players?

Thanks in advance,

Almost all answers to this question from others will (1) be subjective, and (2) lack context. So with that in mind, I would say go with your gut, and learn from past experiences.

Edited by Cap'nRad

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3 hours ago, Cap'nRad said:

I would say go with your gut, and learn from past experiences.

That's the 10-year learning curve approach. The problem with following your gut when you haven't developed one is like asking people to follow the manual that is a blank notepad you are supposed to fill in as you go. What his gut is telling him right now is that he hasn't yet developed a gut instinct for how to handle the players.

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