Player Development Model
When you start getting requests for training advice perhaps my explanations weren’t good enough. Then again, this gives me the perfect chance to lay out a model that I can easily replicate for any club that has the necessary facilities and coaches. To reiterate there is information in other blog posts where I deal with youth training. Here I explain what I do with them at their various ages and when they go on loan. The key point there is how I handle match preparation training and the loads. Player Preferred Moves is also an important facet of training. And here I talk about the knock on effects to Current Ability.
Thats basically some of the background information. Theres information littered everywhere about my training schedules but this blog post will try and fit them all in here. A player will develop optimally given:
- the right facilities and coaching
- quality playing time
- focused training
Facilities & Coaching
You players will still develop if you have average coaches and facilities, but if you want them to develop optimally, you need those five star coaches and you need the facilities. The quicker you get them the better the chances of optimal player development. Thats just one piece of the puzzle. I found as Stafford improved that quite a few of my players weren’t developing optimally, but that was down more to the lack of coaches and facilities. In the last 2 seasons everything is top notch and the difference to player development is glaring. If you want to go down the road of player development, this has to be your first priority and its not cheap. Your club will spend 2.5m quid a season and will need the full complement of 18 coaches. Where you can get youth coaches, get them. You can use filters to great effect to find them, the best way is just to pinch em from other clubs.
Quality Playing Time
Many ask the question – how much time. To be honest as much as you can possibly provide, and to make things even harder..you need to win. You can’t just toss in the players into matches you expect to lose, and hope they develop, cos that won’t happen. Player performances have a knock on effect to player development. If a player does well in a match, he does better in training and then he carries that into game performance. Its all linked.
Personally I use the rule of 25. Once a player can join the senior team, I expect him to play 25 games. I find thats the best number, whether I am right or wrong is subjective. Some players with the right mental attributes need fewer games and others need more. So I use 25 as a good guide. It makes it easier for me to track and so far I’ve found that this works. What I typically do is this:
15-17 Player is in the U-18s team, they learn all their ppms by the time they are 17.
17-19 Players start getting runs in the senior team and they are moved to the reserves. Good players are identified at 19 for promotion to senior sides
19> any player who can’t slot into a senior team is put on loan. There need to be at least 5 players who are going to get a run in the senior team. These players end up playing as covers.
By the time a player is in the reserves his training will focus on his role, because by then his ppms should be covered. A player can learn as many ppms as he needs to, I am not sure what the upper limit is, but one of my players has 8 ppms now. Don’t get fixated by ppms, I find that for the key roles they usually need only 5 ppms, anything more is usually unnecessary and a waste of time. Training ppms takes a player away from player development so he really needs to get back to role training asap.
So when it comes to training youth, you need a clear plan. You must know what position they will play and you must get them to learn their ppms. Waste time and you waste development. Thats basically it when it comes to ppms and player training loads.
Essentially when you train players you need to manage things realistically. They have a fixed amount of time for training
Ok time for me to put my training schedule up for both my senior team and my youth team. First up just some general information on the time a player has for training:
If we look at total time a player has for training, this is affected by injuries, international commitments, personality, coaching and facilities. Now if I assume that he has 100% total time and when you consider that his general intensity is set to very low, low, average, high, very high and then you see match preparation slider set to 0-50% of his time its apparent that a players total time for training is split between General Training and Match Preparation.
Now if a player doesn’t do any specific training, then the coaching team trains him in his natural position, and the amount of time he spends training on that is between 50%-100% So if you were to set his match prep slider to 40% he only gets the temporary boost to his Current ability that “helps” him during a game. Sometimes this boost will kick into his training so that even that gets a short term boost. Training tends to be cyclical so good training performances, lead to good match performances, and good match performances lead to positive training results.
One has to decide how much time they spend on match preparation. Since match preparation boosts are temporary, but necessary for good results, i set it to 40% for the first 3 months, to get my team off to a good start. During this time a side can struggle for cohesion especially if there are a lot of new players match preparation helps to smooth out the edges so to speak.
So after the first three months I usually drop the match preparation intensity to 10%, that still leaves the team some time on match preparation, but the player now spends 60% of his time on either his natural position training or on whatever specialized training you want him to do.
The training schedule I use for my team atm is
|General Trg Intensity||Match Prep||Focus Intensity|
Since a player spends only 20% of his time on general training, one can logically argue that there should be no difference between balanced and having a specialized program. I believe a specialized program allows the development to skew in the direction you want your team to emphasise in, however the 60% of his time that he has left should be wisely spent since this is a big chunk. When you toss in learning new roles and ppms then that proportion drops to 57% on focus training and 43% on ppms; and 60% on focus and 40% on new positions. Its ABSOLUTELY vital that once he has learnt the new position and it shows up on his information panel that you move him out of learning a new position cos that 60% total time he has is valuable.
My approach for youth teams is different, for my youth team I skew this heavily on ball control for the three years they are with me in the U-18 side and then once they hit the senior squad they join the senior program. Its only because I value first touch very highly in my team, Pep Guardiola when he was interviewed answered that the first attribute he looks for in any player is first touch. Even if the player was a great tackler, if his first touch was poor, he’d never play. I follow that school of thought when setting out training.
For me the ages 15-21 are the most important years for player development. This is the time when I usually optimize their development, by the time they hit 21 their direction is fairly clear. I will know if that player is going to be a potentially important member of the team or someone who’s on his way.
My model is very simple. Between 15-17, they are on ball control and learn their ppms. By the time they are 18 the top 5 join the main team, the rest are in the reserves and chances are unless they do really well, they are usually on their way out. Only rarely have I seen a player emerge from the reserves make a strong challenge. The 5 become my focus for development. I repeat the cycle at the start of the next season and by then I should have 10 players to choose from 5 will go on sale and the rest start earning their colors. I usually never train players ppms once they hit 20. By then its full on player development via role specific training. If a player needs to improve specific attributes that are KEY to their position then they focus on those attributes.