During general training your players will mostly work on improving their attributes. Along with individual training, it therefore plays an important part in shaping player development and also affects the rate of development.
The extent to which a player works on each attribute during general training depends largely on his preferred playing positions on the pitch. Players in different positions have different basic training schedules that weight attributes according to their relative importance. For example, a defender will work more on those attributes that are important for defending.
You can modify these training schedules by selecting a main focus and an intensity level.
Your under 21s squad will undertake general training with your senior squad but your under 18s squad will train separately. For details on training the players in these squads see the Youth Training guide.
An analysis of how to set up general training in pre-season is provided in the Pre-Season Preparation guide.
You can alter the extent to which your players work on different areas by selecting a general training focus from the Main Focus drop-down.
These focuses work by changing the weighting given to different attributes in each player's training schedule. This does not increase the overall amount of training or how hard players are worked, but simply increases the amount of training given in certain attributes (or team cohesion in the case of the Team Cohesion focus) at the expense of the amount of training given in the other attributes.
The focuses and their effects are as follows:
- Balanced – No changes are made to the basic training schedules.
- Fitness – Increases the weighting given to Work Rate, Acceleration, Agility, Balance, Jumping Reach, Natural Fitness, Pace, Stamina and Strength.
- Tactical – Increases the weighting given to Anticipation, Composure, Concentration, Decisions and Teamwork.
- Ball Control – Increases the weighing given to Dribbling, First Touch, Heading, Technique and Flair.
- Defending – Increases the weighting given to Marking, Tackling and Positioning.
- Attacking – Increases the weighting given to Crossing, Finishing, Long Shots, Passing, Off The Ball and Vision.
- Team Cohesion - Increases the extent to which players work on improving team cohesion (both on and off the pitch) and decreases the extent to which they work on attributes. The weighting given to each attribute is the same as in the basic training schedules.
The Team Cohesion Focus
The Team Cohesion focus is different to the other focuses as it actually reduces the extent to which your players will work on their attributes and therefore has a negative effect on player development. Instead, it allows you to prioritise the short-term benefits of better team performances and higher morale.
It can be a very useful focus to use for a few weeks if your squad does not yet have a high level of team cohesion. This is likely to be the case after you have made a lot of new signings in a short space of time or after your players have returned to training following the close-season break. Although, during pre-season you may first want to give your players intensive fitness training using the Fitness focus.
However, it is a less useful focus to use once team cohesion has reached a high level or if you want to focus heavily on player development. It will have no effect if team cohesion is already at its highest level.
Team cohesion is explained in more detail in the Player Morale & Relationships guide.
Choosing a Focus
By selecting appropriate focuses you can increase the priority given to training attributes that are more important for your team’s tactics. This way you can mould your squad over time to become more suited to the type of football that they are instructed to play.
Suggested focuses that could be used for the different styles explained in the Tactical Styles guide are as follows:
- Counter Attacking - Defending, with some Fitness
- Passing Through The Defence and Attacking With Creative Wingers - Tactics, with some Attacking
- Attacking The Flanks - Attacking, with some Fitness
- Running At The Defence - Ball Control, with some Fitness
- Playing To A Target Man - Fitness, with some Attacking
The focuses given for each tactical style above are only suggestions and you may have your own interpretations. Furthermore, appropriate focuses will depend on exactly how you implement your style.
The second suggested focus for each style could be used, say, for one week in every three week period using the weekly drop-downs on the left of your squad's training calendar.
By alternating between two focuses you can increase the priority given to a greater number of attributes, although the resultant changes in attributes will be less noticeable. Therefore, you may prefer to use only one focus if you want to achieve greater changes but in fewer attributes.
The more focuses you alternate between the less effect each will have, and the closer the results will be to what would be achieved by simply using the Balanced focus. It is therefore suggested that you either use the Balanced focus only or use no more than two alternative focuses (in addition to using Fitness during pre-season if desired and using Team Cohesion if and when desired as discussed above).
If you are managing a team in lower reputation league divisions then using the Fitness focus more often is advisable as physical attributes will be of greater importance.
The General Training Focus pie chart on the Training Overview screen shows you what percentage of time has been spent on each focus, which can help you to manage your desired split between focuses.
The Long-Term Nature of General Training Focuses
Player development is a long-term process and it will typically take around three months or longer to see noticeable attribute changes as a result of using a single general training focus. If you alternate between two focuses then it will take even longer to achieve noticeable effects.
Attributes That Cannot be Trained
The attributes that cannot be given extra priority by any of the general training focuses are:
- Free Kick Taking
- Long Throws
- Penalty Taking
Furthermore, these attributes are not trained as a part of the basic training schedules either.
However, Corners, Free Kick Taking, Long Throws, Penalty Taking and Leadership can each be trained as an individual training focus, while some attributes can also improve through natural development, tutoring (Determination only) and event-based development.
You can also choose how hard your players are worked in general training by selecting a general training intensity using the Intensity Level drop-down.
To achieve good performances in general training and to enhance player development you should set the intensity to as high a level as you are able to before causing too many training happiness or fitness problems among your players. The appropriate level depends on how much match preparation training is scheduled (and therefore the resultant team training overall workload and individual workloads), how much individual training you intend to set and the personalities of your players.
Managing individual workloads is discussed in more detail in the Training Reports guide.
During light fixture schedules of no more than one match per week you may want to take advantage of the extra time available for general training and the lesser need to recover condition for matches by increasing the intensity level. This higher intensity level should only be used temporarily however, in order to avoid lasting issues with unhappiness and fitness.
In contrast, during congested fixture schedules of two or more matches in a week your squad will have much less time available for general training and recovery between matches. In particular, if you have as many as three matches in a week then you may want to concentrate mainly on match training and trying to keep your players fit. To do this you can temporarily decrease the intensity of general training or schedule more time for match training, or a combination of the two.
You can vary the intensity level for specific weeks by using the weekly drop-downs on the left.