As the “Inside My Mind” series is shaping up nicely, I am still looking for a name for this new tactic. So… it’s poll time!
In the “Inside My Mind” series I want to take you along on the road go down when I develop a tactic. In the previous post of the series I looked at the theoretical process, but I promised to actually apply said process on a real tactic, to put the theory into practice. I want to take you along on a journey to create a new tactic and that means I’m going to start by putting the first steps of the process into practice. I am going to show you the concept that underlies most of my tactics, as well as walking you through the process of coming up with a basic shape, the team style and the first setup of the roles.
In Football Manager, the process of creating your own tactic is one of the simplest things imaginable, especially since the inclusion of the tactics creator, it takes a little time to create your own tactic. You start the creator, walk through a couple of steps, select whichever option appeals to you based on the description and presto, an instant tactic. From start to finish, the entire process takes a few minutes to complete.
Creating a tactic takes minutes, but there’s no actual guarantee your tactic will work and work consistently. That is a process that takes far more time and it’s an end result that is a lot trickier to achieve. It’s a constant balancing act and a continuous process of observation, rethinking and tinkering with various settings and roles until you get it right for the specific players, specific opponents and specific circumstances you are facing. Chucking together random roles and instructions within a specific shape will most likely end disastrously.
“Inside My Mind” is going to be a series that takes you into the process of how I create a tactic. Let me be clear upfront that this is by no means the only way to create a tactic or the ultimate way to create a tactic. As the title indicates, it’s how I create a tactic and I reckon there are some interesting aspects to my approach. Naturally, it will not be all theory and I will apply the concept in a real case of a tactic I am developing. This first post, however, will remain theoretical and will simply focus on the process.
So far, my Emulating La Masia series has looked at various factors that help you in developing your youngsters. However for all the promise of youth development and improved standards, the development of players is the ‘easy part’, it is integrating them into the first team which matters most. Teams like Manchester City, Chelsea, Real Madrid and ironically enough in recent times Barcelona snap up top talents on a global scale and excel in various youth competitions, but in my eyes youth development is not about winning competitions, it’s about preparing players for professional football and I cannot remember too many academy players breaking into the first team in recent years at any of these sides.
Although the academy teams of these clubs can be regarded as being amongst Europe’s best and in terms of facilities and coaching they most certainly are, what is the point of having a youth academy if you do not attempt to produce players for your first team? If their youth development efforts are so impressive then it begs the question as to why there are so few youth academy prospects breaking into the first team.
Clubs need to find a way to bleed more youngsters into their team, to bridge the gap between youth and senior football much more effectively and as sides like Chelsea and Man City are showing, for all the money spent on facilities, coaching, and wages if they cannot integrate these young players into the first team squad then what really is the point? In terms of this article, we will look at the influence of first team football on the development of our youth players.
In this installment of Emulating La Masia I want to focus on an often overlooked factor in a player’s development; the tutoring by a more experienced squad member. If you want to look at the importance an experienced player can make in terms of tutoring the youngsters, look no further than the Ajax ’95 team. After the sale of Bergkamp to Internazionale in 1993, Van Gaal re-signed the experienced Frank Rijkaard to complement his young Ajax team featuring academy graduates Frank and Ronald de Boer, Edwin van der Sar, Clarence Seedorf, Edgar Davids, Michael Reiziger, and Winston Bogarde, as well as mercurial foreign talents Finidi George, Nwankwo Kanu and Jari Litmanen, and veteran captain Danny Blind. The team regained the Dutch championship in 1993–94, and won it again in 1994–95 and 1995–96 to become the first Ajax side to win three back-to-back championships since 1968. The height of Van Gaal’s success came in 1994–95, where Ajax became the first, and to date only, team to complete an entire Eredivisie season unbeaten. The team also won its first European Cup since its glorious 1970s era, beating Milan in the 1995 UEFA Champions League Final 1–0, with the winning goal scored by 18-year-old Patrick Kluivert.
It’s rather funny really. Back in school, I hated mathematics and statistics as courses, so I wonder what my old maths teachers would say if they read my current statistical research. I guess it showcases the importance of motivation. Anyway, back to driving factors of youth development. This is a series that could go on for a while, as there are still quite a few factors I need to look at. The main reason why I did this series is to back up the Emulating La Masia series. I was hoping to use some of Shrewnaldo’s earlier research, but it appears to have disappeared together with the old TheDugout forums. That left me with no other choice but to do replicate his research in order to back up my own findings.
I have quite a few ideas on simulations to run in the future. The influence of first team action, the difference between coaches training, the importance of the facilities at a club and several other attribute combinations are all factors I intend to look at sometime in the future. However, these simulations take a bit of time and well… I do enjoy playing FM as well and all the time I spend simulating is rather precious time I cannot play the game, so I can’t and won’t promise anything in terms of a timeframe.
I do enjoy the feedback and interaction with the community this series has brought so far. Both through social media and the comments section, people are adding their thoughts to the mix, leading to new and refreshing insights. I have had to reconsider my basic development theory in favour of a much more logical current ability adaptation. So please, if you have your own ideas or suggestions, feel free to contact me and add your own thoughts. So far, there are few definitive answers so all ideas and suggestions could help make a difference.
As the title suggests, this article focusses on another attribute combination. We’ve had a look at Ambition, Professionalism, and Determination as individual factors, we have even had a look at the Determination / Professionalism combination. What I haven’t done is look at a combination between Ambition and Professionalism.
As quite a few people (thanks for that!) have read yesterday, I have started simulating scenario’s to match Shrewnaldo’s research from a few years ago on factors that drive youth development. Yesterday’s post showed us that the hidden attribute Professionalism seems to be a driving force behind proper development, whilst Determination, by many considered an absolutely crucial factor, yielded slightly more peculiar results, with some improvements across the board, but the range of this development being rather flat and oddly favored towards lower determination.
Naturally, such results demand a follow-up post. As Shrewnaldo pointed out earlier, I haven’t looked at the influence of ambition and as Ben (@ZeGerman) pointed out, it should be interesting to see if I made a direct link to Determination and Professionalism, altering both attributes in a batch of players to see how they interact. All in all, that should give me enough to do to keep busy tonight and hopefully uncover some more data.