How to approach Preseason training on FM23

A few years ago I wrote about how I planned out preseason and the post went down well. 

https://www.viewfromthetouchline.com/2019/11/19/perfecting-pre-season/

But I still see people now asking questions about preseason,

  • What is the best thing to do, 
  • How many games to play 
  • What teams should I play 
  • How many days between games
  • What about training
  • How much should I rotate 

Are all typical questions I see, now I’m not saying my way is the best way and the way I used to do it in the link above is still a decent way. But over the last few months the way I approach pre season has evolved and changed. So I thought I’d take the time to write about it and how my fresh approach works and the thought process behind it.

Preseason Matches and Training

The old way I used to play had a simple thought process which many probably use

Minutes played + easy wins = great fitness condition and good morale 

This always seemed to work and work well. But after having time to think about it a bit more over the years I’ve realised the downside of this is it doesn’t take advantage of training and this is where we work on our tactical ideas and improve attributes. Previously I’d play games Saturday and Wednesday with rest days after both. So we were getting 3 days training on Monday, Tuesday and Friday and the Friday one felt a bit pointless because it was the day after the rest day and the day before a match so you felt limited as to what you could actually do. Also the schedule felt broken. 

  • Two days training 
  • Match day
  • Rest day
  • One day training 
  • Match day 
  • Rest day

So I dived into how I could improve this and what I came up with was a 6+1 plan.

6 days of preseason followed by 1 day of rest per week. 

How this works

The thought process is we want maximum time on the training pitch in preseason but we also need games to increase match sharpness and tactical familiarity, So what I do is separate the squad into two starting XI’s 

Then I arrange fixtures over a 4 week period 

I play double games on weekends. Saturdays the strongest XI play, Sunday the weakest 11 play. (you set this up by arranging preseason cups over 4 weekends as friendlies as the game doesn’t allow you to set up back to back friendlies)

This then gives us a new schedule of 

  • Four days training
  • Two match days
  • Rest day

This might seem like I’m just overworking the players and taking away their rest days but their second rest day comes in when the alternative XI play their game. Previously I’d name a squad of 22/23 and make 11 changes at halftime for the first few games then on the hour mark for the later games. When actually all this does is decrease the amount of minutes players play and mainly focus on the starting XI fitness as a priority. Whereas the new way everyone gets maximum playing time.

Planning the fixtures

The plan is to start with three morale boosting games increasing in difficulty each week before a final test against a similar ability team.  As you can see I’ve chosen my opposition each team playing in a higher division that the last 

  • Game 1 v Really weak non league side
  • Game 2 v Weaker Side
  • Game 3 v Slightly weaker side
  • Game 4 v Same standard as myself

Travelling

As you can see all games were at home. The reason for this is Football Manager takes into account travelling. So with the amount of games I don’t want extra fatigue taken out of the players travelling all over the world for games. The only issue is here for big clubs they all want money spinning tours to the USA and Asia. But this doesn’t have to be a problem. We can just adjust the plan slightly and try to play local sides in these countries all it takes is a bit of research. 

  • Travel will occur if the match is away from home and the distance between the stadiums is more than 15 miles.
  • There are two types of travel, Short and Long.
  • Short means travel during S1 and ES either side of the match on match day.
  • Long means travel during S2 the day before the match and S1 the day after the match

Rest day

I mentioned above that the idea behind it was a plan for 6+1. The 1 being a rest day. So every Monday after 4 days of training and two matches we have a full day of rest. No match reviews, no team bonding. One full day off with all 3 slots as rest.

Training

My plan operates training over a 6 week schedule

  • Week 1 – Fitness
  • Week 2 – Fitness 
  • Week 3 – Fitness and Attacking and defending
  • Week 4 – Fitness and Technical 
  • Week 5 – fitness and Match preparation 
  • Week 6 – tactics 


As you can see here. Monday would be the rest day, Then 4 days of training before 2 match days. Currently I’m at a part time club so we only have 2 days training but the process for a full time day would be to fill all 3 slots each of the training days.

Here is an example for a full time team of how it work work over two week period



As you can see Monday is the rest day post a double game weekend then we have 4 solid days of training followed by another double game weekend.

Match Squad

During preseason you will get injuries or players will get knocks so I plan it like this.


I have my first and second XIs and then subs. Depending on the club I am I might not take any of the XI I’m not using and fill the bench with youth players as subs and only use subs if needed as the plan is to give players the full 90.

Preseason Results


Our 8th friendly got cancelled due to the cup match being arranged so we only ended up playing 7 not 8 but results were great.

Minutes played chart

Had the 8th game not got cancelled due to the cup match the second XI would have had another 90 minutes under the belt.

Current squad fitness


As we are about to start our first game of the season, everyone’s condition is great and sharpness is great apart from two players. Yndeheim who was the third choice keeper and only played 90 minutes in pre-season and Rasmus Kristiansen who was a late signing so he wasn’t here all pre season to get his condition and sharpness up. So overall the plan I set out to do was achieved. The whole squad is in perfect condition ahead of the start of the season. We had time on the training pitch to work on player attributes and tactics. I’m not saying this is the perfect way to approach preseason but I’ve been approaching it like this and have found that it works really well for me. If you give it a go let me know how you get on.

Thanks for reading

Dan

Author

  • Daniel Gear

    Dan Gear is a vibrant member of the Football Manager (FM) community, renowned for his engaging content and insightful tutorials. He illuminates complex FM concepts on "View From The Touchline" and shares engaging narratives through his unique European Journeyman save reveals. Dan's collaborative spirit shines in partnerships with fellow creators like FM Stag, unraveling new FM features. He's a co-host of the engaging "Grass N Gear" podcast, making the FM experience more enjoyable for many. With a blend of humor, expertise, and a knack for community engagement, Dan Gear's contributions significantly enrich the Football Manager community, making him a cherished figure among enthusiasts.

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12 thoughts on “How to approach Preseason training on FM23

  1. Do you coach the preseason games as well? I know a lot of us don’t, would be interesting to see if the numbers were similar if the Assistant were running things.

  2. Isn`t it technically two restdays since all players in the XI that dont play dont have any fatigue accumulated? Or does it “cost” any fitness to be involved in the squad on a matchday?

    1. yes that’s why the post says that “This might seem like I’m just overworking the players and taking away their rest days but their second rest day comes in when the alternative XI play their game.”

  3. Do you have full 6 weeks schedule for full time teams or is it only those 2 weeks spread across all preseason?

    1. Training camps are good, you get a slight increase in the rate at things are learnt. So team cohesion, tactical familiarity etc are slightly boosted when taking part in training camps.

  4. Hey, nice work! One question. You only have pictures for 2 weeks of the training schedules. How should I setup the remaining?
    Week 4 – Fitness and Technical
    Week 5 – fitness and Match preparation
    Week 6 – tactics

    1. This is just for preseason, I’d likely just repeat the same if needed. But personally after 2-3 weeks I’d be doing my “normal” schedules

  5. Great read this! Wonder how I’ve missed it for so long. Are those schedules (particularly for semi-pro teams) still downloadable?

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