South American Journeyman Recap #23

Hey guys, how’s everythings? Welcome to the 23rd Monday Recap on the #SouthAmericanJourneyman. After last episode’s “The Decision” now it was time to get to work with Cienciano getting them back to where they belong. Let’s see how that went!

Climbing the Andes

We ended last episode on a high, undefeated from 3 matches; however, our form wasn’t precisely scintillating as getting 5 points from an available 9 wasn’t gonna lit the world on fire. Even when our objective was to avoid the drop, I was looking for a string of results to consolidate our form in the league.

March began with a couple of hard fixtures. We faced two sides playing international competitions in Universidad Vallejo and León de Huanuco, managing tricky draws, after which we were absolutely destroyed by surprise of the tournament Unión Huaral 5-1. Taking our second win of the season at Municipal Deportes.

It took a battering of old time rivals Universidad de Cusco to kick the team into gear and start a streak. A 3-1 win vs. relegation candidates Binacional was followed by solid results at Comerciantes (including a goal for the home side from former Nacional youngster and Castolo favourite Manuel Monzeglio) and a comeback vs. title candidates Alianza Lima.

It was all thwarted by a terrible 3-0 defeat at the Clásico del Sur, with derby rivals Melgar taking the points and ruining our form. It makes for a tragic piece of information that we’re yet to get a clean sheet on oficial competitions, with points out to the necessity of improving the defense in the coming winter market, in order to take on the Clausura (Closing Stage) with a much more solid team. In all, we sit 7th with 19 points after 11 matches. 

With 6 matches remaining in May and June, my objective is to remain in the top 8 before the Copa Bicentenario (the national cup) group stage starts in late June, so we can get some reinforcements and look to challenge the second part of the season.

I get coaching with a little help from my friends

So, you may realise that, competition wise, I haven’t done much. The reason for that is not that I haven’t been playing FM that much (I have), but rather that I haven’t been playing FM the same. From the day I first installed FM until about a week or so ago, I always left my general training to the Assistant Manager. 

There are so many great training guides but I…can’t…just…reeaaach…ugh.

It wasn’t done out of laziness (ok, maybe a little), but rather out of the complexity. Football Manager is a spectacularly complex game, with a myriad of different aspects and mechanics to consider, and out all of them I felt like training was the worst in terms of difficulty to learn/benefits reaped. And I was a happy boy, oblivious to the charms and the terrors of the coaching world. That was, of course, until my friend FM Parloq decided to ruin my life.

Parloq (whom some of you might know for his collaboration with the DF11 graphics pack) is old time FMer, and he has been working on a training guide for our Spanish-speaking FM community. He decided to give us a try of the fountain of knowledge as beta-readers for the guide. Ignorance is bliss. Immediately I was trying stuff at the schedule planner, a screen in FM that I hadn’t ever used.

When did ever opening a box of previously untapped knowledge end wrong for the investigators?

My first attempts were built around the idea grouping similar sessions together in order to cover different areas of the game in one go. My intention was to create, say, a possession schedule, with all or near all modules concerning ball retention and movement in one block. 

However, I quickly found out that it was very difficult to organize different sessions into a cohesive group, each working on different things from different angles, with varying degrees of overlapping. I also was pointed out that I wasn’t using enough general type sessions, which provide a wide spectrum of attributes covered and help get all the bases covered.

After various failed attempts, I changed my approach. I decided to take a page from José Mourinho’s book and tried to mimic his periodisation method; instead of concentrating on similar types of sessions to form overcompassing schedules of work, I decided to focus on particular aspects of the game, and work around them.

This is the schedule I got together to work on the crossing aspects of the game. As you can see, every bit of training is aimed at or related to that specific tactical situation. The attacking, defending and tactical general sessions provide an overall coverage, and then we move on to specifics.

On Tuesday, the attacking unit works on attacking on the wide areas and taking the chances that arise. On Wednesday, the defensive unit focalises on defending from said crosses (don’t forget, the attacking unit is still working on their chance creation from wide areas), and then the Attacking Corners routine aids our set plays game as well as focusing on the attacking side of the aerial game. Thursday work is set around the mental and tactical aspects of a match, and the goalkeepers work on their Anticipation, Positioning and Reflexes, all vital to saving close chances coming from crosses.

Mondays remain a purely physical day, though I’ll scale back on it as the season progresses and let the players rest more often. For now, a General Physical session works as the umbrella module, with the Quickness, Resistance and Endurance specific sessions rotating week to week.

I can’t say for sure this is a good approach, but working on the coaching and training side of the game has really opened my mind to the possibilities of it all. I can only thank FM Parloq for that.

So I’ll head back to FM to keep working on my training schedules and hopefully get to the halfway point of the season soon. 

Until then, thanks for reading

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