What Drives Youth Development; A Follow-Up

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.

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What Drives Player Development; A Few Factors You Probably Never Considered

When working on the Emulating La Masia series I stumbled across an old article by Shrewnaldo on tutoring. He also describes aspects I initially did not intend to cover with the whole La Masia series but I do feel are important for youth development. Since the article dates back to 2012 and some of the original research by Shrew and Maestro Ugo has been lost, I am looking to re-new their research efforts and see if my conclusions still match theirs.

After all, many of us enjoy a save in which we have a fair few home-grown heroes in our squads. There is nothing more satisfying than having a youngster come through the ranks of the academy and break into first team. To do so, we must turn a player’s Potential Ability (PA) into his Current Ability (CA). Which factors influence how well a player develops? According to many people, determination is what drives development. According to Shrewnaldo, it’s the hidden attributes professionalism and ambition. This article will focus on the impact of both determination and professionalism and how they can help you make the most of those precocious young stars.

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A Little Get Rich (Relatively) Quick Scheme

The following article is not something very spectacular, it’s not a ground-breaking piece of information. It’s a simple flaw in the game that can be manipulated to get rich rather quick. Using this method you can acquire high rates of return for a modest initial investment, with little risk, little skill, and not much effort. It is a way of working that been around for a while but it surprisingly not well documented. I presume this is because it’s a bit of a shady approach to playing the game, but I’ll let everyone decide for themselves on the ethics of playing a video game.

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Emulating La Masia; 05. Requirements

In part five of the Emulating La Masia series we zoom in on the requirements players should have and more importantly, how you can polish the precious raw diamonds your recruitment efforts have yielded, turning them into players who can effortlessly slide into first team. There is some overlap with the previous post, especially the part detailing the tactical identity. There will be a few WTF-moments this post, but bear with me.

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I have set up a four step proces to look at the requirements and tailor all the factors to suit my needs.

  1. Step 1: determine which roles are required;
  2. Step 2: set your training regimes;
  3. Step 3: work with the players ready for first team action;
  4. Step 4: assess the performances of the players;
  5. Repeat ad infinitum if necessary.

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Emulating La Masia; 04. The Club DNA

One of those often overlooked yet absolute crucial parts of Football Manager is the star of part four of Emulating La Masia. In this article we look at determining “how you want to play.” One of the more alluring aspects of football and therefore of Football Manager is the almost infinite number approaches to the games. When executed to perfection, nearly each and every of these approaches can set you on the road to victory and glory. There is no uniform way to play the game and the game is better and more interesting for it.

It is important if not crucial that you choose one clear path to success. If you want to execute a plan to perfection, you need to iron out the details instead of cobbling a concept together and making the details up along the way. Youth development is about long term planning, which means you need to sort out your goals, your philosophy and your means to achieve your set goals. That’s what we will be focussing on in this article.

We will look at creating a tactical identity, a distinctive style and setting long term goals and policies.

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Emulating La Masia; 03. The (Coaching) Staff

The second factor that influences and actively enhances the quality of your youth players is the staff you employ, both to run the daily training sessions and to help with the intake of new youth players. Consistently high-level training-sessions help you raise the attributes of your players, both in general and when you employ specific role- or attribute-training. That means you need to find as many good coaches as you can and use these coaches effectively, whereas the quality of the intake is partially determined by the Head of Youth Department, which makes him a quite important staff member. These are the subjects I want to look at in this part of the series. Where to look at when you recruit coaches, how to use the coaches once you get them and what makes a good Head of Youth Department?

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Emulating La Masia; 02. The Facilities

Part two in my Emulating La Masia series focusses on the first factor that influences and actively enhances the quality of your youth players; the facilities. There are several options the board offers you that help you increase the position and standing of your youth academy. This article will look at these options and how they can help you in establishing a powerhouse youth academy. We will look at the Youth Training, the Youth Facilities and the Youth Recruitment.

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Emulating La Masia; 01. Setting Up Your Own Conveyor Belt Of Talent

Many of the worlds finest clubs have spent hundreds of millions of pounds/euro’s on transfer fees for the world’s best, most elite players in the hope of buying success. Chelsea, both Manchester clubs, PSG, Real, Barcelona, they tend to spend millions to bring in more stars to an already star-studded line-up. Ideally though, a club doesn’t need to rely on splashing the cash but should promote clubs from within, from the academy.

Barcelona used to have its own conveyor belt of talent in La Masia, its renowned youth academy. The harsh reality of the moment is that the Catalans’ academy is not producing young footballers of a good enough standard to walk tall in the first team right now. I feel sorry for any youngsters in the Juvenil A (U19) or Barca B teams that play in a forward, attacking role at present because there’s quite a few years left yet of the Messi-Neymar-Suarez trident and unless any one of the three suffers a catastrophic season-ending injury, no one is going to get a look in up front.

The fact is that there are plenty of graduates coming through but the conveyor belt is supplying Europe’s other clubs and not the team for which the players were developed. Perhaps it is the need for immediate and continued success that is driving the business model of the club in terms of its transfer policy at the moment.

That’s beyond the point I am trying to make though, as I want to focus on setting up such a conveyor belt of talent in Football Manager. If you want to look at a club structure which focusses on setting up a great youth academy system, which factors need to be considered, which steps should be undertaken and what the correct course of action is. (more…)

Preparing For A Major International Tournament

International management in FM is one of those subjects not many people write about. You could say it’s the Meg Griffin of FM. To be fair, we have always considered it a welcome distraction to get through the summer months in FM, when we were unable to organise friendlies and we had completed our transfer market antics. At best, it was a good way to speed up progression on the leader boards by adding additional silverware to the collection.

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It’s the attitude many managers take to international gaming, but it shouldn’t be like this. After all, there is no greater glory than winning a major international tournament for ones country. Men who have decided important international fixtures, be it in a positive or negative way, are forever reminded of this by both fans and pundits. In a glorious career where he has won nearly everything, Andrés Iniesta’s crowning moment was the winning goal in the 2010 World Cup final. Similarly, in a glorious career where he has won nearly everything, David Beckham will forever be haunted by his failure to win any silverware with England.

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International management also appears to be unpopular with the Football Manager crowd. Whilst we admit that there are some kinks in the proverbial cable regarding international management, we do feel that international management deserves more attention and we have gathered some useful tips and tricks for you if you decide to give international management a go in Football Manager. So join @FM_Samo from Occasional FM, @diegomendoza1969 from Pass The Bloody Ball and @strikerlessguido in an article to see how you can improve your experience.

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From Minnows To World Champions; The Importance Of Strategic Long Term Planning

I’ll be brutally honest here, I am generally not one for story-telling. I suck at it. I generally linger too long with the write-ups, which takes away the fun of playing or I play so fast that I have to grind through an impossible amount of updates before I am up-to-date again. In both cases, I end up with no motivation what-so-ever to continue the story. In this particular case, I might make a slight exception because I can tie the story in with some actual gameplay strategies and because the story spans nearly two decades. I can summarise the entire story in one tweet to start us off and captivate the masses.

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