Back on Football Manager 2022 while managing FC Volendam, I was looking to get more in-depth with creating custom training schedules and chose to base them loosely on a combination of the principles of Tactical Periodisation and some inspiration I took from Raphael Honigstein’s incredible book, Das Reboot.

I teased this post with a bit of information about the approach back in Tokyo Verdy – My First Day, but now is the time to flesh that out a bit by talking through Tactical Periodisation, revisiting the quotes that provided the original inspiration and revamping the schedules.

As a disclaimer, this is not a tutorial for the most effective training method in Football Manager. This is just my interpretation of how training looks in the game based on a real world concept. I have had positive results, but there are areas where I sacrifice efficiency for the overall concept. There will be a download link at the bottom of the post for anybody interested in trying these schedules for themselves.

Tactical Periodisation

For a full explanation on Tactical Periodisation, I would highly recommend the below video from Tifo Football, as it gives the history and a great explanation of the concept.

To summarise, it is a training methodology created by Vitor Frade and most famously used by the Special One himself, Mr José Mourinho. The core idea of the concept is that as tactics are the heart of everything that happens on the pitch, tactics should also be the heart of every single training session. There are no dedicated sessions for physical, tactical or technical work. Instead the focus is on the four phases of a football match; Attacking Organisation, Attacking Transition, Defensive Organisation and Defensive Transition. Sessions are based on one or multiple phases of the match, and the physical, tactical and technical work is done within the context of these phases.

Unfortunately, it is not possible to fully recreate this in Football Manager. Although there are sessions dedicated to these phases of play, they do not offer the ability to work on physical and technical attributes and tactical familiarity all at once.

The area of Tactical Periodisation that we can fully replicate, however, is the use of training cycles.

Micro, Meso and Macro training cycles are based on time periods, with the short and medium-term (micro and meso) work contributing towards the long-term (macro) goal.

Micro – A week’s worth of training. The aim is to create a schedule where there is a bell curve throughout the week, with intensity increasing to a peak and then reducing in time to prepare for the week’s fixture. As fixtures are most commonly on Saturdays and Sundays, I have created a schedule to account for both. For any weekday fixtures, the schedule can be tweaked to accommodate.

Meso – I have created four different training schedules, all following the same structure but using different sessions to ensure that every area of the game is being worked on, and therefore more attributes are being trained. In a perfect month where each week has just one game, these schedules will run concurrently, so that by the end of the month every desired session will have been run.

Macro – The Micro and Meso cycles work towards a season-long training regime. The hope is that by consistently running the monthly rotation that covers a wide array of attributes, there should be a good level of development throughout the year, particularly in younger players. Of course, it’s not enough to rest on our laurels, so at the end of each season development will be assessed, and if an area or attribute is seeing little benefit across the board, then tweaks will be made to address the balance.

Team Training

‘Some people felt that we should provide a full, binding curriculum of lessons to be taught at the academies. Others said the coaches should be given free reign to allow for individualism and prevent everyone doing exactly the same thing. Those were the two extreme positions. We met in the middle. We came up with a framework of basic objectives that should be met, without being dogmatic.’

ULF SCHOTT – DIRECTOR OF THE DFB

In the context of the above quote, taken from Das Reboot, Team and Individual Training become the two extreme positions. Team Training will be seen as the ‘full, binding curriculum’ and as mentioned above will consist of four schedules running in rotation. Every Attacking, Defensive, Technical, Tactical and Goalkeeping session is covered over the course of the four weeks, with Physical sessions and Set Piece work done too, and Extra-Curriculars to help with familiarity.

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As well as these schedules, we also have one for weeks where we have a second match.

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In these weeks, the key focus is on Match Preparation sessions and recovery. We don’t do any heavy work as this will impact recovery and risk additional injuries. This schedule is built to follow on from a Saturday game week, however if I’m using this schedule after a Sunday game the Monday of the two game week would be Recovery and Match Review sessions and I would use the Tuesday morning slot for either the Routines or Goalkeeping session.

Individual Training

‘There was, however, as Schott is keen to point out, no comprehensive master plan for the education of Özil, Götze et al.’

RAPHAEL HONIGSTEIN – AUTHOR OF DAS REBOOT

Where team training provides the curriculum, individual training allows for individualism and a bit of free reign. My approach to individual training has changed over the years; where I used to be obsessed with working solely on a player’s weaknesses, now with attacking players I look to accentuate their strengths.

As some of the sessions we are using in the team schedules specify that they work on the attributes for a player’s individual roles, I always ensure that I select a role for a player to train in, rather than just their playing position.

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In order to try and develop as many attributes as possible, or in some cases the attributes I value the most, I assign the same role to every player in a position. More often than not this isn’t the role the player performs in matches, and the role may not be included in our tactic at all, but as I’ve never noticed a negative impact on performances from the lower tactical familiarity it’s a trade off I’m happy to make.

As mentioned at the start of this post, training in this fashion isn’t the most efficient method; by doing this, Current Ability points are being spent on attributes that may not be relevant to the player’s primary role. However, working on more attributes offers a degree of tactical flexibility and doesn’t shoehorn players into one role, and I also feel that players can still be useful in other aspects even if they fall outside of the role asked of them. A winger may still find themselves in positions where they’ll need to finish chances, for example.

These are the roles I use to train attributes:

Goalkeeper – Sweeper Keeper (Attack)
Full/Wing Back – Complete Wing-Back (Support)
Centre-Back – Wide Centre-Back (Support)
Defensive Midfielder – Segundo Volante (Attack)
Central Midfielder – Box-to-Box Midfielder (Support)
Attacking Midfielder – Shadow Striker (Attack)
Winger – Inside Forward (Attack)
Striker – Complete Forward (Attack)

As well as setting each player a role, we also assign every player at the club an Additional Focus, in order to further increase a specific set of relevant attributes.

In defensive players, I still want to work on weaknesses. Well rounded defensive players are less likely to make mistakes, and therefore we’re less likely to throw away points. Fairly routine.

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In the case of Felipe Motta, we have a very well rounded centre-back already, but he has obvious weaknesses in his pace and strength, both things that opposition could exploit. I’d be looking to work on these in rotation, in order to give me more confidence that he could play in a higher line and be more dominant against opposition strikers.

In attacking players, I used to do the same. A winger who can’t finish? Get them working on it, just in case I ever need to use them as an Inside Forward. A great technical striker who is on the slow side? They won’t make much of an Advanced Forward like that, work on that speed! Now, I want to turn a player’s best attributes into elite attributes.

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These are the attributes of Iván Acosta, a young winger who’s on the brink of breaking into the first team. At 20, he still has time on his side to develop further, and I would expect his technical attributes to improve as they’re being worked on within our team schedules. However, where Iván is best is in his physicality. He offers incredible pace and agility but also good power. However, if we could continue to increase his already elite acceleration and also turn his pace and agility into that nice shiny yellow, we’d have a truly unstoppable winger, rather than just a very good prospect.

Glorious Green Arrows

As I mentioned at the start of the post, this isn’t a tutorial on the most effective training method in Football Manager. However, it’s always gratifying to see progress being made, and I’m pleased to say that progress is high in a lot of cases.

Hidemasa Koda – 21 years old

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Despite a drop in a couple of attributes, Koda has developed very nicely despite only ever being a rotation option. His mental growth is especially impressive, most notably his incredible rise in concentration.

Junma Nishihata – 18 years old

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Junma Nishihata came through our first youth intake but wasn’t immediately obvious as one of the brightest prospects within it. However, his excellent growth has seen him start to challenge for first–team minutes. Despite major improvements in every department I’m most impressed by his increased physicality, with a jump in pace of 4 making him much more of a handful.

Hisaya Sato – 27 years old

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I’m genuinely surprised and impressed by Hisaya’s improvement, despite it not being as high as the others.  He’s exclusively been an emergency back-up in my time at the club and although not yet in his prime as a goalkeeper, he’s not exactly a youngster. As a club homegrown player he does make every matchday squad as our sub keeper, so maybe this exposure could be pushing him along?

Hayato Miyazaki – 17 years old

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Hayato was the star of our first intake and despite a horror show on his enforced and premature first-team debut, he’s been consistently solid in the youth and reserve sides and is developing to the point where he could be ready to start challenging for some cup games. I’m particularly enjoying the development in his distribution, with passing, vision and throwing all improving well. Hayato is already quite a domineering goalkeeper at 6’2” and with good command of his area, but increased strength will only serve to increase his ability to intimidate opponents.

Try for Yourself

If you’re interested in giving these schedules a try for yourself then you can do so by downloading them here.

Included is a readme file with full installation instructions, including where to put the files on your PC and how to import them for use in the game.

As match days can often vary, some tweaks may be required to the schedules from time to time. Of course this can be done in any way that you see fit, but there is one tweak that I make on a regular basis that I feel is worth mentioning.

If a Saturday game week is followed by a Sunday game week, then the Monday of the second week will show two rest sessions and a Team Bonding. In this instance I would move every day back by one so that the empty day is on Friday, and then fill this day with two sessions that may have been missed out on in a recent 2 game week, plus the Team Bonding as the extra session.

I hope that you have found this look into my training methods interesting, and if you do decide to try them for yourself then please let me know how it works out either on Twitter or here in the replies. Until next time…

Author

  • adam_otbfm

    Adam, known in the Football Manager (FM) realm as @adam_otbfm, is a fervent gamer and content creator. With a penchant for football simulations, Adam delves into the intricacies of FM, sharing his findings on his blog "On the Break." His creative ventures include replicating football legends like Kaka in the virtual pitch, showcasing a blend of nostalgia and modern gameplay. Adam's musings extend to social platforms like Twitter, where he actively engages with the FM community, sharing his gaming journey with @SJK_Seinajoki. His insightful content and avid participation enrich the FM community, making him a valued member in this virtual football world.

5 thoughts on “Tokyo Verdy – Tactical Periodisation Lite

  1. I want to import it, into my FM23-Save, but it isnt visible in the import screen. Is it possibly only available for FM24?

    1. I’m not sure unfortunately, as I created these schedules from scratch in FM24. If they won’t import to FM23 my only suggestion would be to recreate the schedules from the screenshots provided – as far as I’m aware there are no new sessions included in FM24.

  2. What sort of training do you use when you have no game week? Do you still continue with the week 1-4 rotation

  3. Training is something I still definitely need to spend some time on. something like this could well be a solid foundation to start figuring out how to structure etc.

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