What Drives Youth Development; Another Attributes Experiment

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.

The approach

In order to research the influence of these factors, I created six equal newgens in an FM16 save with the help of FMRTE. All four have similar positions and age. All of their attributes, including hidden, are set to 10, except for the variables I want to research. In this case, there will be two scenario’s to look at. In the ambition experiment, I will alter the hidden attributes Professionalism and Ambition in six of these players to different values, respectively 1, 8, 14 and 20. In the experiment where I look at the interaction between Professionalism and Ambition, I will create six players and edit their attributes as so:

  1. Player 1: 1 Amb, 1 Prof
  2. Player 2: 8 Amb, 8 Prof
  3. Player 3: 14 Amb, 14 Prof
  4. Player 4: 20 Amb, 20 Prof
  5. Player 5: 1 Amb, 20 Prof
  6. Player 6: 20 Amb, 1 Prof

As before, I will holiday the save for half a season and see how the players have developed. I will note their development in four areas:

  1. Technical;
  2. Mental;
  3. Physical
  4. Current ability.

My expectations

My expectations have changed a bit, mostly because of new information that has come forward. This comment was rather interesting and detailed.

Just to add to discussion, I used to be a researcher a few years ago, so the discussion around the Determination attribute has always amused me, as long as I was a researcher until FM11 or 12, the determination attribute was an in match only attribute. It was related to how a player reacted during matches to coming under etc. I checked with a mate of mine that started researching after FM15 and he says the determination attribute is the same now. It might be different the years between I did research and the when my mate started researching. The attribute that are essential for development are Proffesionalism. Other factors that are important are playing time, club, facilities and coaches. Ambition has more to do with development, but most how a player do decsions about what clubs to choose, search bigger opportunities etc.

So what I am expecting is that the player with the highest value for Professionalism will develop the most. Players 5 and 6 will serve to check the limited influence of Ambition. If all goes according to plan, Players 1 and 6 will have roughly the same development, which will be what I earlier referred to as basic development but which is probably, as a commenter mentioned, the game re-adjusting the attributes to match the CA I have set.

The increase in attributes without any change in CA is not “basic development” but just the game engine trying to adjust the attributes to correspond the CA that is too high for a player with all attributes set to 10.
As far as I know all development affects increases CA which in turn increases attributes in according to team and individual training.

I think it’s also given that determination is purely on-pitch attribute nowadays (this was changed a few years a back), but players with high determination tend to play better (especially when trailing, after making mistake etc.) and gets better ratings -> develop more.

It is still a bit of mystery to me how much ambition affects development but it seems have some effect – not just nearly as much as professionalism. Some times though young players with high ambition end up playing at too high level too early and not getting enough games -> development stalls.

The ambition experiment

Let’s start off by simply introducing the six newgens I have created. All six are identical except for their Ambition and Professionalism attributes.

3dev06 3dev05 3dev04 3dev03 3dev02 3dev01

Six months into the game the players look like this.

3dev14 3dev13 3dev12 3dev11 3dev10 3dev09

When we add up the total points of progress pro area and check FMRTE to see how their development in CA has been shaped, we end up with the following numbers.


A more graphic display will show the results more clearly.

Player 1: 1 Amb, 1 Prof Player 2: 8 Amb, 8 Prof Player 3: 14 Amb, 14 Prof Player 4: 20 Amb, 20 Prof Player 5: 1 Amb, 20 Prof Player 6: 20 Amb, 1 Prof

Player 1: 1 Amb, 1 Prof
Player 2: 8 Amb, 8 Prof
Player 3: 14 Amb, 14 Prof
Player 4: 20 Amb, 20 Prof
Player 5: 1 Amb, 20 Prof
Player 6: 20 Amb, 1 Prof

When we look at the final results of this simulation, there are a few expected results and one anomaly. The players with higher professionalism generally progressed better, as players 3 and 4 have shown us. Player 5 shows us that whilst Ambition does influence development, it’s not a major factor. The anomaly in the equation is player 6. By no means should he have developed less than player 1, who has similar Professionalism but even lower Ambition.

Professionalism appears to be the driving attribute behind the development, as it dictates how hard a player trains during his daily sessions. Ambition drives how likely a player is to want to get to bigger clubs and bigger leagues which inherently have better facilities and coaches which themselves have a positive influence on the player’s development.

12 thoughts on “What Drives Youth Development; Another Attributes Experiment

  • Hi Guido,

    I’m playing FMT on my IPad so I have no possibility to see the hidden attribut in the Editor. What arme indicators for high professionalism?

    • There are basically 11 hidden attributes which you cannot see on the players information screen. All of these attributes influence how a player might perform and what kind of attitude they have. The 11 hidden attributes are
      Consistency: How well a player is going to perform to their maximum week in, week out
      Controversy: How controversial the player is. (Mostly in regards to talking to the press)
      Dirtiness: How far a player is willing to go to break the rules in order to win a match
      Important Matches: How well a player can deal with the pressure of a large, important game. A champions league final for example
      Injury Proneness: How likely a player is to pick up an injury
      Loyalty: How likely is a player going to stay at one club.
      Pressure: The players ability to deal with stressful situations
      Professionalism: The players approach and mentality on and off the pitch
      Sportsmanship: Judges how well the player is going to play fairly and how moral they are on the pitch.
      Temperament: The likelihood of a player putting in needless fouls and getting needless bookings when they get frustrated
      Versatility: How well a player can play in different positions other than his natural one.

  • Interesting study, and I’m not surprised to see Professionalism so important. And I can sympathize about the late-coming interest in statistics and math. It wasn’t until I discovered Economics that I cared about either of the other two. 😛

  • Really interesting read- always interested in ways to improve my academy as always something I have struggled with. Going ok so far on a Bayern save I have going currently.

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