General Training

During general training the players in your squad will work on improving their attributes. The attributes that a player spends the most time on during this training depends largely on his preferred playing positions on the pitch. Goalkeepers, defenders, midfielders and forwards have their own basic training schedules that give preference to the most important attributes for each position, while more versatile players have a more balanced basic schedule.

You can modify general training by selecting a main focus and an intensity level.

Main Focus

You can adjust the basic training schedules for your squad as a whole by selecting a general training focus from the main focus drop-down list.

Most of these focuses work by slightly increasing the preference given to training the attributes related to that focus. Note that this does not increase the overall amount of training, but simply increases slightly the amount of training of certain attributes and decreases slightly the amount of training of the other attributes. These focuses and their related attributes are as follows:

  • Balanced – No changes will be made to the basic training schedules.
  • Fitness – Increases the preference given to training Work Rate, Acceleration, Agility, Balance, Jumping Reach, Natural Fitness, Pace, Stamina and Strength.
  • Tactics – Increases the preference given to training Anticipation, Composure, Concentration, Decisions, and Teamwork.
  • Ball Control – Increases the preference given to training Dribbling, First Touch, Heading, Technique and Flair.
  • Defending – Increases the preference given to training Marking, Tackling and Positioning.
  • Attacking – Increases the preference given to training Crossing, Finishing, Long Shots, Passing, Creativity and Off The Ball.

The Team Cohesion Focus

The Team Cohesion focus works differently to the other focuses, as it does not increase the preference given to training particular attributes. Instead, with this focus your players will work on their team cohesionoff the pitch, which helps new players settle in faster and improves player relationships, whilst also improving general morale as a result.

Your players will spend slightly less time working on attributes than they would if using any of the other focuses, and so Team Cohesion is less useful for long-term player development.

However, it can be a very useful focus to use for a few weeks if you have recently made new signings or if your squad is suffering from poor player relationships and bad morale.

Choosing a Focus

By selecting appropriate general training focuses you can increase the priority given to training attributes that are more important for your team’s tactical style. 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 second suggested focus in each case could be used, say, for one week in every three week period using the weekly drop-down lists on the left of your squad's training calendar.

If you are managing a team in lower league levels then using the Fitness focus more often would be 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.

Attributes That Cannot be Trained

The attributes that cannot be given extra preference by any of the general training focuses are the set piece attributes Corners, Free Kick Taking, Long Throws and Penalty Taking, and the mental attributes Aggression, Bravery, Determination and Leadership. 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 attributes can also improve through natural development, first team experience (at your club or out on loan to another), tutoring and event-based development.

Intensity Level

You can also set the intensity level of your squad’s general training. This affects the effort that your players are required to put into general training as a whole. A higher intensity will increase the overall workload of team training, which is shown at the bottom-right of the screen, as well as each player's individual workload. To optimise player development you should set the intensity level as high as you can before causing unhappiness or fitness problems among your players. If such problems occur for more than a few players then you may need to reduce the intensity, as discussed further in the Training Reports guide.

Fixture Congestion

During light fixture schedules of no more than one match per week you may want to take advantage of the extra training time available by increasing the intensity level to help your players improve more quickly. This higher intensity level should only be used temporarily however, to avoid longer term issues with unhappiness and fitness.

In contrast, during congested periods of two or more matches in a week there will be less time available for general training, and you may have to concentrate mainly on match training and trying to keep your players fit. You should therefore temporarily decrease the intensity of general training so as not to tire your players, or simply schedule more time for match training if you prefer.

You can vary the intensity level for specific weeks by using the weekly drop-down lists on the left.

You should also carefully consider the rest days that you allow during busy periods. For more details on rest days see the Match Training guide.

Individual Training

You should ensure that your players’ individual workloads generally remain light enough for them to be able to undertake personalised individual training without becoming unhappy. You can view each player’s training happiness and workload on his individual Training Report on the right of the Individual Training screen or on his personal Development screen.

These individual workloads are determined by the intensity of general training initially, and then increased by each type of individual training added. Therefore, if any players are unhappy with their indvidual workload after individual training has been set, you will either need to reduce individual training for those players or, especially if a large number of players are unhappy, reduce the intensity of general training or increase the time scheduled for match training.

For more details see the Individual Training guide.

Under 21 & Under 18 Squads

Your under 21 squad will undertake general training with your first team squad but your under 18 squad will train separately. You should therefore set up your under 18 squad's general training on its own separate Team Training screen. To do this you will need to ensure that you are in charge of general training responsibilities for your youth squad on the Club section of the Staff Responsibilities screen.

For more details on training your young players see the Youth Training guide.

Pre-Season Training

During the close-season your players will go on holiday and so will not undertake any training or play any matches, except for any who go away on international duty at tournaments. This means that when they return for pre-season training, many, if not all, of the players in your squad will have suffered drops in attributes, will have low levels of condition and will be lacking in match fitness.

The Squad Fitness pie chart on the Training Overview screen will give you a summary of player fitness, while you can also check condition and match fitness using the Fitness view on the Squad screen, or on each player's individual Training Report.

During pre-season it is therefore particularly important to prepare your players physically in time for the start of the new season so that they will regain fitness, which can help to reduce instances of jadedness and injuries during the season. This can be achieved in general training by concentrating on building up your players' physical attributes using the Fitness focus and by setting the intensity level to Very High.

This intensive fitness training should take place from the day your players return from holiday to about two weeks before the start of the season, or longer if players are not fit by this time. You may find it preferable to set the focus and intensity for each week using the drop-down lists on the left so that this training will end automatically when desired.

Deciding the Length of Pre-Season

At the end of each season you will be given a chance to decide the length of the following pre-season. This can be set between four and seven weeks. A longer pre-season will start earlier, giving your players more time to build up fitness levels in general training and to increase tactic familiarity in match training. It will also reduce the length of the close-season, reducing the time during which players’ attributes will fall.

However, a longer pre-season can lead to players becoming jaded later in the season and requiring extended leave (given on the Extended Leaves section of your club’s Players screen), especially if they have been away on international duty at a tournament during the summer.

Pre-Season Friendlies

Your players will also need to play in friendly matches to gain match fitness. However, you should not arrange too many friendlies as each match will reduce the training time available. Two fixtures per week is an ideal number to give your squad enough matches to gain match fitness ready for the new season, whilst also allowing enough time for training.

A friendly match with another club, or another squad from your own club, can be requested from your squad's Fixtures Schedule screen by clicking the Arrange Friendly button above the list of fixtures.

Further Reading

Inverting the Pyramid - guaranteed to give you a greater tactical knowledge and understanding.

The Manager: Inside the Minds of Football's Leaders - learn how to think like a football manager.

Will You Manage? - tells you the skills needed to be a great manager and gives essential tips for fantasy football success.

FM 2015

This guide has not yet been updated to reflect new features and changes in FM 2015.

Is your team suffering from an injury crisis? The Player Fitness guide has now been updated to help you improve your fitness management.

Tactics Resources

Inverting the Pyramid - guaranteed to give you a greater overall tactical knowledge and understanding.

Soccer Strategies - learn the advantages and disadvantages of using different formations in defence and attack.

Soccer Systems and Strategies - teaches you about different tactical strategies.

Coaching the Tiki Taka - learn about the tiki taka style in detail.

Transition and Counter Attacking - find out how to play against different opposition systems.

Match Strategy and Tactics - learn how to adapt your tactics to the opposition and different match scenarios.

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