Despite evidence to the contrary being around since 2012 (thanks again Shrewnaldo and Maestro Ugo), there are still plenty of people who believe that players with high Determination and/or Work Rate attributes develop their current ability faster because they apply themselves better during training sessions somehow. After all, if someone is determined and works hard then surely they will reach their potential faster, won’t they? As you may have guessed, the title being a dead-on giveaway, this is not the case.

Just to re-iterate my point; the attributes Determination and Work Rate only apply within matches. These attributes contribute nothing at all to the development of a player during training sessions. The driving factor behind the development of youngster is the Professionalism attribute.

The theory behind it

The attributes Determination and Work Rate exclusively affect a players’ match performances, not his training performances. Determination indicates how long a player will give 100% during the match, whereas Work Rate decides how long and often a player is active during a match, how long and often he gets involved. A players’ performance in training is exclusively determined by his Professionalism attribute.

How I want to prove a point

In order to research the influence of these factors, I created twelve equal newgens in an FM17 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 one exception. In one batch of four, the four players have different values for the Professionalism attribute (1, 8, 14 and 20). In the second batch of four, the four players have different values for Determination attribute (1, 8, 14 and 20). In the third batch of four, the four players have different values for their Work Rate attribute (1, 8, 14 and 20).

In a previous research, I ended up with slightly flawed results. By using SI’s own in-game editor, I was able to access the recommended current ability function, which indicated that a player with every attribute set to 10 needed a matching current ability level of 64.

The idea is to run a holiday save for half a season. During this half season, the players will be kept uninjured and motivated by using FMRTE after each match. Their current ability will be too low for them to reach the first team, so this factor is effectively eliminated. After half a season, I will note their development in the following four areas:

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

The initial results

After six months, extracting the relevant data was not that difficult. I started off with the batch of players with edited Professionalism. This group is the control batch. We should see a steeper ascent in development as the Professionalism attribute rises.

So far, the numbers show us the same. A player with low Professionalism will show some natural growth in attributes and current ability, but the more spectacular growth belongs to the players with a higher Professionalism attribute. For those of you who prefer a more graphic representation, please check out the radar chart below.

The next batch we need to look at is the Determination group. As mentioned earlier, the hypothesis is that it does absolutely nothing for the development. Since the Professionalism attribute for this batch it set to 10, we should see nearly identical progression or negligible differences.

The numbers do not quite match expectations. In terms of the improvement of attributes, there is definitely a case to be made for the ineffectiveness of Determination in the training ground. There is quite a difference in the growth of the current ability, however. This might be linked to the match performances of this batch. The players with higher Determination generally achieved average ratings than their counterparts.

Please observe that I used the phrase “might be linked”, as I am not 100% sure of this new hypothesis. At the time, I am also unsure on how to test this hypothesis in FM17. Any ideas, comments and suggestions are more than welcome. Again, for those of you who prefer a more graphic representation of the results, please check out the radar chart below.

The final batch we need to look at is the Work Rate group. As mentioned earlier, the hypothesis is that it does absolutely nothing for the development. Since the Professionalism attribute for this batch it set to 10, we should see a nearly identical progression or negligible differences.

Again, the numbers do not quite match expectations. The development of the current ability appears to be rather stable, whereas the other results are wildly fluctuating between decent growth and actual regression, with another player appearing almost stagnant. It makes no sense that the player with the lowest Work Rate developed the best. I have no idea what to make of this. Again, ideas, suggestions and comments are welcome. Again, for those of you who prefer a more graphic representation of the results, please check out the radar chart below.

Conclusion (sort of anyway)

I am afraid this article has yielded as many new questions as it has answers. I also realise that the amount of testing done is not nearly extensive enough to be conclusive, but the results so far can be considered indicative. Let’s just see what happens when we compare the top players from each batch.

It is quite clear that the player from the Professionalism batch is miles ahead of the others regarding his development. He has shown more growth in all areas, most notably the mental attributes and his current ability. The other two batches appear to have progressed somewhat similar, which makes sense as their Professionalism attributes were identical. The influence match performances could explain the differences between the other two batches have on the development.

Still, it is quite clear that the training-driven Professionalism attribute is the driving factor behind the development of players, whereas the other two attributes could have an influence through match-based development, which seems to be a minor element in this equation. Again, this makes sense. A player will partake in one, maybe two matches a week, but many more training sessions.


Guido is the founding father of Strikerless and main nutjob running the show.


Alan Butterworth · May 20, 2017 at 12:48 pm

Great again. Many thanks. You set all attributes to 10 and so this test did not show the effects of ambition on development. My own tests seem to show that professionalism is the most important factor in development followed closely by ambition. Determination is a factor but only in that players with higher determination get better match ratings and more game time. I have not tested work rate as I have never thought this to be a factor in development.

    jimbokav1971 · May 20, 2017 at 4:01 pm

    That’s really interesting.

    “followed closely by ambition.”

    That’s not my experience however I am certainly willing to consider it. Have you published your experiment anywhere? Would love to read it.

      Alan Butterworth · May 20, 2017 at 5:15 pm

      No, not published. Professionalism is the most important and it is the relationship between professionalism and ambition that affects development (as well as training, games, tutoring). I used 10 versions of Martin Ødegaard in different save games. Ignoring development try 20/20 20/15 20/10 20/5 20/1 prof/amb and reverse. Higher professionalism produced better results than when ambition was higher.

      StrikerlessGuido · May 20, 2017 at 5:58 pm

      I may have to sign you on for team Strikerless it seems 🙂

      Senortubbs · May 23, 2017 at 1:50 pm

      Is it possible Ambition is an unpredictable factor because of how it can be used in player interactions? When praising or warning players for training performance you have a few choices that would seem to target their personality attributes;
      Keep it up to stake a claim for first team football – appealing to ambition?
      Achieve what your talent suggests you will – ambition?
      Improve if you want to stay at this club – Loyalty?

      I hypothesize that the best development gains come as a result of working hard in training, and that along with training happiness and coaching, a players personality attributes influence how hard they work;
      Professionalism the best because it causes them to work hard without any intervention
      Ambition and/or Loyalty also possibly useful because you can appeal to them in interactions to spur them on to work harder? Have I raised enough questions yet?

jimbokav1971 · May 20, 2017 at 3:57 pm

Vet good yet simple article.

If you had asked me before testing what the results would yield, then I would have suggested hat the Professional group would vastly out-develop the Determination group who would in turn narrowly out-develop the Workrate group. That’s exactly what has happened.

I however draw slightly differing conclusions from the evidence.

For example, I don’t think that the workrate induced player ratings have had an impact on player development, (however small). I just think that….. (oh God I hate myself for even saying this so am going to have to word it VERY carefully)….. I think that determination has a small impact on player development, (TINY IN COMPARISON TO PROFESSIONALISM), but still it has created a small improvement when compared to the workrate group, (which offers absolutely no benefit to player development).

I am reluctant to suggest something that involves more work for you, (especially when I am too lazy to do any of this myself), but what you need to do is run the test again but ensure that there is a batch of players that play no games and just train. Ideally you would run a test with a few different comparison groups that would allow another area of development to be tracked.

1. Players who play no games at all.
2. Players who only play Youth games.
3. Players who play a small number of Senior games.
4. Players who feature regularly for the Senior team.

But that’s a different experiment I guess.

Anyway, love the article as always.

    StrikerlessGuido · May 20, 2017 at 5:59 pm

    I reckon I can do the experiment, but it will take time. Probably at least a week to simulate this, since I have to manually do all the games haha.

    StrikerlessGuido · May 20, 2017 at 6:37 pm

    I’d imagine a setup like this would be workable.

    1. Players who play no games at all. – 1 Det10, 1 Det20, 1 Prof10, 1 Prof20, 1 Wor10, 1 Wor20
    2. Players who only play Youth games. – 1 Det10, 1 Det20, 1 Prof10, 1 Prof20, 1 Wor10, 1 Wor20
    3. Players who play a small number of Senior games. – 1 Det10, 1 Det20, 1 Prof10, 1 Prof20, 1 Wor10, 1 Wor20
    4. Players who feature regularly for the Senior team. – 1 Det10, 1 Det20, 1 Prof10, 1 Prof20, 1 Wor10, 1 Wor20

    That would put me on 16 players to handle. Agreed?

      Alan Butterworth · May 20, 2017 at 7:33 pm

      You are giving yourself a heck of a lot of work , Guido. If you think like the game developers they would not just make one attribute responsible for development. I really believe that what counts is the relationship between a range of attributes. There are too many variables for us to say definitively what visible attributes work best with professionalism and other character traits. Good luck to you sir!

      StrikerlessGuido · May 20, 2017 at 8:45 pm

      You’re right but I like digging into the mechanics of the game a bit 🙂

Azgas · May 21, 2017 at 7:46 pm

But is it possible that determination and work rate affect indirectly?
Surely players with high values in those attributes would (on average) do better during matches and get better ratings but I’m not sure if that affects the progress of CA or not.

    StrikerlessGuido · May 22, 2017 at 6:56 am

    I’d say it is possible that they contribute to development because match experiences have an influence and yes, players with good attributes will generally perform better in matches. Can’t say anything conclusive at all though, since I lack the relevant data.

Sigtekorn · May 21, 2017 at 10:02 pm

Some blogger has done an experiment showing that the ratings youth players get has no or very little influence on how they develop. So players getting poor ratings developed just as well as the ones with better ratings. It was the actually amount of game time that mattered most.

Senortubbs · May 22, 2017 at 10:21 am

Great article and would be fascinating to see the effects of game time. One hypothesis could be that a highly professional player develops amazingly with training alone, whereas all players can develop if given lots of the right kind of game time (and from there would be where good “in-game” mental attributes might contribute).

Speaking of which, has anyone ever found a way to improve a player’s professionalism? Surrounding them with professional players and coaches? Tutoring by professional players? Regularly chastising them for poor training performances and praising them for good ones? Would be a shame if the most important attribute for development was a random initial dice roll that can at best be improved by having an amazing youth development coordinator.

    Luke · May 22, 2017 at 11:47 am

    Tutoring can be used to improve professionalism up to the level of the tutor assuming they don’t fall out. There are occasionally step changes based on random events, winning things at a young age can sometimes reduce it. I don’t know about the effect of praise/criticizing. A model professional head of youth development can generate some great characters.

      Senortubbs · May 22, 2017 at 12:31 pm

      Good to know. I’ve never seen clear evidence that tutoring changed anything directly other than Determination and PPMs. Does it affect any other personality traits?

    Luke · May 22, 2017 at 1:44 pm

    It affects adaptability, ambition, determination, loyalty, professionalism, temperament, sportsmanship and controversy. (I may have forgotten some hidden attributes). It will also reduce certain attributes if the tutor has lower attributes. You can see using the In-game editor.

      Senortubbs · May 23, 2017 at 1:29 pm

      Ahh yes, good point. I just did a survey across my current save and found that it tutoring clearly affects Determination, Ambition, Controversy, Loyalty, Pressure, Temperament and indeed Professionalism.

      I have an interesting trend developing that it does changes Adaptability and Sportsmanship, but only in some of my 12 test subjects I have right now. That is to say that about half of the subjects that are showing changes in other attributes aren’t changing in Adapt and Sportsmanship despite their tutor being substantially better or worse. More interestingly the ones that aren’t displaying changes are the same. I’m going to watch this closer, could easily be just a fluke.

      Attributes that definitely don’t seem to be changing are Aggression, Bravery, Consistency, Dirtiness, Important Matches, Injury Proneness and Versatility.

Luke · May 22, 2017 at 11:52 am

By increasing the work rate, you will be increasing the current ability of the player, so they are more likely to play which could lead to development. Interestingly Determination is not included in the current ability calculation so it is a free attribute which doesn’t get capped when the potential ability is reached. Again a higher determination would likely lead to more playing time if the assistant is in charge.

Mike England · May 22, 2017 at 8:49 pm

I did an experiment on this a while back, as part of a discussion on the SI forums. Here:

The findings were that Determination, Professionalism, Ambition, and Injury Proneness account for about 50% of the variability in player development. The remaining 50% is due to factors that I did not track (most likely playing time and some purely random factor).

There was a lot of resistance to the inclusion of Determination in the list. My understanding is that the SI programmers have stated that Determination is not used in the attribute increase logic (sorry, can’t find a link for this). So Determination’s effect must be a secondary effect, perhaps tied to an increase in playing time.

It would be interesting to look at playing time data for your experiment, to see if it is correlated to determination.

ivan · July 29, 2017 at 10:18 am

This solves a giant mystery I’ve been wondering about for years now. Thank you for this marvelous article.
I was wondering ,where do you see the “professionalism” parameter? Is it in attributes or a part of personality? Where exactly can you see that when you click on the player? Or is it just in editor?
Thanks in advance 😀

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