Training in FM19: How to develop, motivate and condition players in your training plan

Training scheduleThis sounds like a bold plan full of radical ideas. Please let me assure you that it isn’t. Coming up with your own plan for training in FM19 is rewarding, if you put all the options into context. To help yourself, try to incorporate the three main aims: developing, motivating and conditioning your players correctly.

In the past, managing training was simple. The studio director, Miles Jacobson, has repeatedly pointed out how rare in-game injuries are, compared to real-life ones. For FM16, this proportion of in-game injuries was estimated at 70%.

On the 14th August this year, the rate was largely the same.

However, with training in FM19, it’s been harder to minimise injuries. Even Sports Interactive admitted that “currently the amount of injuries occurring is higher than it should be”.

Now, loads of people, including some I know, have been accumulating injuries as fast as water coming out of a tap. Some blame it on the bug. I wouldn’t claim to know more than Sports Interactive about its impact. However, the system for training in FM19 takes a lot of adapting to anyway; most injuries are caused by overtraining, as per real life.

Training schedule

The most important detail to remember is that the three sessions only make up one day of training in FM19. Remember that above anything else!

Avoiding injuries

It’s easy to get distracted and try to fit in as many sessions as possible. You need at least three consecutive sessions of rest for training in FM19 to match rest days on any previous version. Recovery isn’t equivalent to rest, as the below screenshots will explain.

Recovery.png

Rest.png

Both rest and recovery improve players’ conditions, along with reducing their fatigue and ultimately their injury risk. However, recovery is essentially building up players’ fitness with light training work. Ideal when their muscles have been idle, but counter-productive when there’s any risk of burnout or overtraining.

There’s a simple reason why recovery describes ‘injury risk’ as ‘greatly reduced’, while rest doesn’t allude to it. When players are given a rest from training in FM19, there’s literally no injury risk within those sessions.

As with real life clubs, the physical options are also probably being overused for training in FM19. There’s a reason periodisation was developed, and people developed theses around training with the ball! Obviously, endurance, resistance and quickness are all vital ingredients for players. However, testing their limits, in isolation of a player’s other neurological responses, must be managed extremely carefully.

Let me explain. The physical movements and sharp turns in football are instinctive. It can be knocking the ball past a player, recovering with a goal-saving challenge or making an off the ball run. If players have to run, turn and test their bodies in unnatural ways, they can easily become fatigued and overloaded.

Changing a player’s physical and mental stimuli is a long-term process. Antonio Conte manages it through setting a few days of overloading, then giving the players an extended rest. I’d recommend that if you see strength, endurance and quickness at the forefront of your playing style. Otherwise, it might not be worth the risk, for training in FM19.

Developing players

When you play two or more games per week, it becomes impossible to do this well with training in FM19. There are less training sessions available per week, and most of those should be focused on rest or recovery. The first step is keeping them fit.

However, when you have the time, keep a schedule which prioritises your team’s most fundamental assets. All the technical, tactical, attacking and defending sessions are conducted in positional units, along with select match preparation sessions. Each exclusively cover a specific phase of your team’s game. It’s not the unopposed training of a specific skill.

Ball retention, as a technical session, involves the defending unit recovering possession, while the attacking unit retain it. Possession, as a general session, involves the team practising ball possession skills in isolation.

For training in FM19, make sure your sessions directly emulate something you want your team to replicate in matches.

We also need to talk about match preparation. As you all know, this was an independent element of previous training schedules. For training in FM19, only a few sessions directly prepare your team for the upcoming match; these are displayed below.

Teamwork

Defensive shape

Attacking movement.pngTeam bonding.pngAdd in all the options under set-piece training, which all prepare the team in self-explanatory ways. Please note: match tactics and match practice add nothing in terms of direct match preparation. Match tactics is all about tactical familiarity with your tactic, rather than focusing on the opposition. Match practice is about replicating the match conditions, instead of directly trying to learn something. Both come under match preparation indirectly for training in FM19.

To me, training in FM19 should allow the team to play the way you want without having to adapt to each individual opponent. The goal is to become exceptional at whatever you focus your sessions on. However, if you’re a cynical pragmatist, keep this in mind!

Individual training

This hasn’t changed much since FM18, but I’ll happily share my approach anyway!

Individual trainingTry to train your players where you see them playing. Also, develop their weaker attributes without overloading them. There’s one niggling problem in this plan: what happens if your entire outlook of the squad changes regularly? I never have any idea what I’m doing in advance, so planning a player’s squad role is impossible.

I used to try a scattergun approach of training everyone where they played. I used the rotational players to fill holes. Obviously, that never made any sense. Currently, none of my natural centre-backs play; I try to pick my XI predominantly by their vision. However, taking a long-term view, they’re still the most defensive players in the squad. To avoid shuffling players around every two weeks and ensure they develop, train everyone in line with what they add!

To pick a player’s specific focus, simply look at all the key attributes for each role. Then, pick any focus covering the area they score weakest in. Some defenders are training their skills in the final third; that focus covers both composure and decisions.

Final third.pngIn terms of preferred moves, I try to use the ‘find similar players’ tool. I suggest training one of their preferred moves. See if the coach agrees or suggests a better move.

This is an attempt to avoid every player learning the same obvious moves, which might not maximise their development when training in FM19. You don’t want to end up training every attacking player to get forward whenever possible? Or every fast player to knock the ball past their opponent? Or every aggressive player to dive into tackles?

When you start, your lack of player knowledge is taxing. You can’t easily extract preferred moves from the tool. The closest ‘similar player’ to most of my midfielders was either Paul Pogba or Kevin De Bruyne! That’s why you need to proactively scout players and assemble the right scouting team. Are you ready to dedicate yourself to this game full-time and spend bag loads of the club’s money?

Finally, the only PPM that directly affects a player’s current ability for training in FM19 is ‘attempts to develop weaker foot’. Both-footed players are better, in case you were wondering. The rest set strategic tendencies for players.

Keep your tactic in mind when setting these for training in FM19, but the important objective is improving the individual, directly or indirectly.

Staff

Staff.pngWhen I join a club, there are three tasks before even thinking about transfers: meeting the players, understanding what I can get from the board, and sorting out the backroom team.

Assemble the best backroom team you can acquire and take no prisoners. To begin this process, look at every reasonable target for the specific team and position you’re recruiting for. Then, regardless of the role, try and find the most highly qualified candidate you can. Every specialist should understand the principles of football first and foremost.

After that, I look at their star rating. Finally, I narrow it down by world reputation. Remember, two members of staff can have the same category of world reputation without their reputation being the same. Try manually comparing them. If you’re still stuck, check whether all the remaining candidates are willing to accept the job you’re offering. Also take high regard of the diversity in their skill-set and their ‘developing youngsters’ attribute.

The one remaining task is allocating specialists to your coaching team. With every five members of the team, make your fourth a fitness coach and your fifth a goalkeeping coach. Training is split up into five areas; one of those is fitness, and another’s goalkeeping.

Assigning coaches

Coach assignmentsOnce you’ve assembled your illustrious coaching team, it’s time to assign them! We start with the general coaching areas: possession, attacking and defending. I begin with possession; it’s the most general area of the three. To assign staff, pick out the two with the best mental coaching attributes. Then, in accordance with their preferences and other attributes, assign one to ‘possession- tactical’ and the other to ‘possession- technical’.

The same process follows with defending and attacking, before starting again from possession. This happens until every coach is assigned. Like every other suggestion here, it’s supposed to be a simple, systematic and effective process for training in FM19. General coaches are confined to those three areas; fitness and goalkeeping coaches are also confined to theirs.

Final points to consider

  • Mentoring is not the same thing as tutoring. In groups, players who already train together learn from each other. To keep the bond as close as possible when training in FM19, I have the mentoring groups mirroring the positional units.
  • To mirror real life, there’s more than one focus in every session for training in FM19. Look out for the secondary and tertiary focuses, and how each regime impacts the players!
  • Some variables, such as the personalities of the players and staff, are completely unquantifiable. Keep them in mind, but I’ve never found a way to directly incorporate those factors into my methods for training in FM19.


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