Whether you download tactics or have the desire to create your own Football Manager 2023 tactics, it’s important to maximize the tactical familiarity levels as fast as possible before you can judge how good, or bad, the tactic is. Most often, the success of the tactics is determined by the players at your disposal and the use of player roles and duties. But what if there are other parameters that affects player performances and success that you need to take into account before indicating the tactic isn’t working.
To incorporate any Football Manager tactics as efficient as possible, it’s useful to have a basic understand on how to maximize the tactical familiarity in Football Manager 2023. Today we will give you a tips on how to approach pre-season training by handing you a few tips with the focus on increasing the tactical familiarity levels in Football Manager to improve the on-pitch performances right from the start.
We will even explain how the tactical familiarity works and why you should put attention to it when creating/importing new tactics, as well as giving you further tips on how to improve the on-pitch performances by enhancing the knowledge of your football manager tactics. Hopefully these football Manager tips will let you get off to a great start in your next journey.
What Affects the Tactical Familiarity?
In Football Manager, the tactical familiarity and its different levels represent, through a visual overview, the knowledge level of individual players and the overall team’s familiarity with the selected team instructions, mentality and player’s position, role and duty.
The tactical familiarity will have a huge impact on the player’s performance, especially considering the player’s positioning, vision and movement on the pitch. At poor knowledge, the tactic will not perform as best it could do, whilst at full knowledge you’ll be able to see how your tactics really is.
By getting your team to get accustomed to your tactical style and what’s instructed of them, the likeliness of better results will natural increase.
The tactical familiarity levels represents your team’s knowledge relating to 8 different tactical characteristics. These are;
- Passing Style
- Creative Freedom
- Trigger Press
All these different levels can vary from awkward (poor knowledge) to fluid (full knowledge).
How to see your current club’s tactical familiarity?
You can see your team’s current team tactical familiarity levels either by hovering the mouse button over the Familiarity bar in the Tactics Overview or inside the Training Overview. If you have different tactics imported, you can see the tactical familiarity of all your trained tactics.
PS. Inside the Training Overview, you can even select the primary trained tactic – handy if you’re considering changing to a different system for the upcoming matches.
NB! Do remember that the longer you train on a specific system, your team and its players will “forget” the knowledge of another tactics (formation), role or position.
Let’s take a closer look at what effects the tactical familiarity levels in Football Manager.
How Tactical Familiarity is affected when making tactical changes?
The familiarity levels may fluctuate throughout the save, especially before and after season break but may even decrease or increase depending on tactical changes you make, either before the next match or in the match.
Truth be told, if you wish to maximize the tactical familiarity levels as fast as possible to see how your tactic performs, it’s desirable to load up only one tactic and refrain from making changes until the team is fully familiar with the system.
If you are constantly making changes to your tactics, either by changing player’s position, role and duties, it will take longer time until the team gets fluid with the system. Changing team instructions will also affect the familiarity.
Here’s a quick look at what tactical changes may affect the team’s familiarity with a system:
- Constantly making changes to the Match Mentality, either within the match or before the next match to address a certain opponent will affect the familiarity negatively. I’m not saying you can’t change the mentality, as it might be necessary from time to time to be more attacking or more cautious, but in regard to the topic, just know it will take longer time to get the familiarity bar to fluid. If you wish to be more tactical flexible, you will need to spent more time focusing on it at training, than if you keep to one mentality.
- Solution: Start off with the Standard Mentality. Let your team get fluid with it in training and use the last 30 minutes of the match to enhance knowledge of the Positive or Cautious Mentality. It’s much easier to enhance the knowledge of the Match Mentalities that are in close relationship than to ask your team to learn an Attacking mentality but you’re using a match mentality on the other end of the scale. In fact, the same goes for all team instructions. It’s better to use standard settings than to change from one extreme to the other.
- Why? Changing the match mentality will alter the tempo and width – meaning several levels are being affected with one change.
- The passing style is an important characteristic of your tactical style. When you change the passing directness, from shorter to more direct, the familiarity will decrease. It will even affect the familiarity of creative freedom.
- The Creative Freedom is affected when you shift from ‘Be More Disciplined’ to ‘Be More Expressive’, or vice versa.
- The familiarity of Trigger Press will decrease when you make alterations to the team instructions Trigger Press (more or less closing down) and/or Line of Engagement (lower or higher).
- Marking is affected by any opposition or player instructions relating to specific man-marking.
- Tempo is affected by the team’s selected match mentality as well as when altering the Tempo settings (lower vs higher)
- Width is affected by your settings to attacking width, as well as the selected Match Mentality
- Position/Role/Duty is affected by the individual familiarity with the selected player role and duty. It takes into account the team’s selected formation. Making frequent changes to the starting XI will let you experience the familiarity takes longer time to get to fluid.
As you see, the knowledge level of each department may fluctuate (increase or decrease) depending on the tactical changes you make, either you change to a different formation, mentality, or add or remove specific team instructions than what you’ve tried to incorporate to your team.
Even though there are teams these days who are tactical flexible and is able to change their pressing, tempo and shape, it requires a lot of work at the training ground.
Formation & Club Knowledge
When you enter a new club you will notice that the tactical familiarity levels will be low throughout the most aspects of play. What you’ll most likely experience is that the levels may vary from team to team, despite using the same tactics. You will even notice that some teams will have a higher familiarity in one department than the other.
The reason is simply. Each club in Football Manager has a preferred formation linked to their profile, as well as a secondary preferred formation. This information is only visible in the FM Editor, but is linked to the most used formation in real life, either from a historical perspective or by the current manager. This is something sports Interactive wish to replicate.
What formation the club and its squad is capable of playing, is something you need to consider when you wish to embark on a save where you want to implement a certain system.
In many ways, the familiarity of a formation can increase or decrease the challenge level of your save. It will be much easier if the squad is a perfect fit to play a 4-3-3, than if you should incorporate a 5-3-2 system. It will take a longer time, both to make the team fully familiar with the new system, as well as getting the perfect squad to play with your preferred tactical style. For instance, it will be much easier to apply a 4-3-3 formation with a Tiki-Taka tactical style at Barcelona, than at Coventry or Brighton.
Player’s tactical familiarity & Positional Abilities
The tactical familiarity levels is not only unique to the overall team. All players have an individual tactical familiarity bar which tells you how competent they are with the selected tactical instructions, formation and player role/duty.
There are three ways to learn about each players’ current tactical familiarity:
- A) Select Player > Development > Tactics
- B) Select Player > Development > Training
- C) … or include a column in the Squad View which describes the player’s tactical familiarity
By downloading the Custom Views megapack by Passion4FM.com, you will receive that column in a number of squad views. For instance by selecting either the
Passion4FM-Training-Setup-Performanceview, or Passion4FM-Squad-View-Player-skills-Assessment. We have even created a new squad view simply in the matter of this piece where you can analyze the effect on training relating to tactical familiarity.
How you set up your formation and the use of player roles and duties will also have an affect on the player’s individual tactical familiarity. Some players will be more suited and more familiar with a specific formation according to their playing experience or overall profile of skills due to their familiarity with certain positions on the pitch.
Their levels of attributes in technical, mental and physical attributes will determine their most suited player role, while their positional abilities will indicate which position(s) the player is most natural in.
Inside the Tactics tab of a players’ Development screen, you will see their positional abilities. Hovering the mouse cursor over the color-coded dots you’ll be able to see which positions on the pitch the player is competent to play in.
Dark grey – Ineffectual
Copper red – Awkward
Orange – Unconvincing
Moss green – Competent
Dark green – Accomplished
Light Green – Natural
If you hover the mouse cursor over the positional abilities of Central defenders and strikers, you will learn more about where the player prefers to play. Some players will be better at playing o a specific side (e.g. right) in a two-man pairing formation, or in the center of a back-three formation. This may help to decide on the formation to be used, along with the star rating of a player’s role suitability.
The Position/Role/Duty section in the team’s tactical familiarity levels is basically a summary of the individual player’s knowledge level of your formation, football philosophy and tactical style.
This means that the player’s performances will be affected by the player role, duty selected as well as the combination of other instructions you ask of him (player and team instructions). Their performances may even be affected by surrounding player roles and their duty, but that’s a topic on its own.
If a player has below par performances in a role, there have been occasions where a change of player role and duty may be more fitting to him – improving his happiness and thereby his performances, both in training and on the pitch, in better average rating over the last games, or training rating.
When creating tactics, it’s nothing wrong to try out players in different roles to see what works the best. If you do, you can get a deeper insight to the players performances by going to:
Player > Reports > Form
Other elements that will affect the performance of your tactics
An important aspect of any team sports is to blend the squad together by improving their understanding of each other’s roles within the system. How you want your team to play, regardless of their individual duty and instructions, each players’ movement on and off the ball, positioning in build-up play and behavior in defensive and attacking transition must be adopted onto the players before you can expect success on the pitch.
These intra-squad relationships is a major part of team building and the development of improving the understanding of the team’s tactics and its behavior.
The squad dynamics is a useful tool to visualize the intra-squad relationships and its network of connections between the players within your squad, and their managerial support. Inside the Dynamics section, you will get a better insight to how the network of relationships affect the squad, in both positive and negative ways.
When it comes to the success of your tactics, and how well the performances on the pitch will be, the ‘Team Cohesion‘ together with ‘Club Atmosphere’ and ‘Managerial Support’ section gives you useful information about the current state of the relationship between your players on the pitch and the level of understanding amongst your players relating to the success of the tactics.
The team cohesion will give you useful information about the player’s positioning during matches, their vision and reactions to unfolding events within the matches, as well as the collective state of mind relating to how well the player’s are blending together.
In many ways, the team cohesion represents the level of understanding of each other’s games and the tactics they are being asked to play!
Together with the dressing room atmosphere and managerial support, each of these areas inside the Squad Dynamics page will affect the performance level on the pitch, and whether you are likely to get the best out of them.
Therefore, it will be beneficial to ensure your squad is blending well together if you want to see your tactics perform at its highest level.
To do so, let’s start off with the very first day when you enter a new club and take a closer look at how to approach pre-season training to both maximize the tactical familiarity levels and the team cohesion.
Approaching Pre-Season Training: Tasks & Objectives
Pep Guardiola and Erik ten Hag uses a lot of time on the training ground, both when entering a new club and in the pre-season, to get the players accustomed to the demands of positional play. Increasing the familiarity of the tactics and other subtle changes in patterns of play, and/or formation, must be taken care of in the pre-season by setting up appropriate training schedules. So should you!
Once entering a new club, or embarking on a new season, it’s important to get your club off to a great start. At the time of entering a new club, both the tactical familiarity levels and squad dynamics (for instance relating to team cohesion) is poor. To quickly get your players to become accustomed to the demands of the football tactics you wish to implement and the tactical style you desire to use, it’s important to focus on maximizing team cohesion within the pre-season.
In fact, for the pre-season you should have three primary objectives in mind:
1. maximizing the tactical familiarity by setting up appropriate training schedules. This is important to get the players familiar with their player role and duty, as well as the preferred tactical style. To make the players adapt to their role and duty, it’s beneficial to take care of their individual training.
2. improving the team cohesion and how well the players blend together.
3. improve the player’s match sharpness to make sure they endure both the congested fixture lists as well as avoiding jadedness and fatigue.
The solution for all these three objectives is to play enough consecutive matches as well as setting up appropriate training schedules. To set up appropriate training schedules it’s required to handle training yourself, and be responsible for setting up individual training.
You can take charge of training by heading to the staff responsibility screen. Simply, go to:
Staff > Responsibilities > Training > Lead General Training - Take Control
Let’s take a closer look at what you need to think about in terms of pre-season training.
The Best Training Schedules for Pre-Season
Which training schedules, or sessions, to select to improve tactical familiarity?
Now the question may arise, what kind of training sessions, or schedules should I pick to improve the overall tactical familiarity levels, or specific sub-sections? As you can imagine, the most important schedules in pre-season in terms of tactical familiarity are any sessions that impacts the tactical familiarity in a positive way (green bar compared to red).
In fact, you want the knowledge bar of ‘Familiarity’ to be as high as possible on the training schedules you create, or applies. This means, that you might need to pick certain training schedules to enhance knowledge of a specific area to reach fluid levels.
The same applies to ‘Team Cohesion’ and ‘Sharpness’, as well!
Pretty self-explained, but let me walk you through it even though. Below is a quick list of training sessions to select to impact one or more Tactical Familiarity levels in a positive manner.
- all competitive matches will enhance the familiarity of the tactics too. Whether it’s league fixtures or friendly fixtures does not matter.
– 100% priority on all Tactical Familiarity Levels
– players will see a reduction in sharpness
General Training – Performed as a team
- Overall – a holistic training session that impacts Mentality, Passing Style, Creative Freedom, Trigger Press, Marking, Tempo, Width, Position/Role/Duty – Recommended session!
– 100% priority on all Tactical Familiarity Levels + most Player Attributes
– the whole team train together as one unit something that is desirable in pre-season
- Outfield – a holistic training session that impacts all Tactical Familiarity Levels with 60% impact for outfield players while 40% on goalkeepers.
- Attacking – Creative Freedom
– 60% priority for outfield players
- Possession – Passing Style & Tempo
– 60% priority for outfield players
- Defending – Trigger Press & Marking
- Tactical – Mentality, width, Position/role/Duty
– 100% priority for all players
Match Preparations – Upcoming Match
- Match Tactics – 100% priority on all Tactical Familiarity Levels (Mentality, Passing Style, Creative Freedom, Trigger Press, Marking, Tempo, Width, Position/Role/Duty) – Recommended session!
- Match Practice – 100% priority for all players on all the different Tactical Familiarity Levels – Useful session!
– increases familiarity slightly more than Match Tactics schedule
– reduces sharpness
- Teamwork – all Tactical Familiarity Levels
– 100% priority for all players
- Defensive Shape – all Tactical Familiarity Levels
– 60% priority defensive unit
– 20% priority attacking unit
– 20% priority goalkeeping unit
- Attacking Movement – all Tactical Familiarity Levels
– 60% priority attacking unit
– 20% priority defensive unit
– 20% priority goalkeeping unit
Attacking – Positional units
- All the different sessions within this category will impact: Passing Style & Creative Freedom
– Familiarity will increase to a minimal extend.
Defending – Positional Units
- Defending Engaged, Defending Disengaged, Defending Wide & Defending from the Front will impact: Trigger Press & Marking
– Familiarity will increase to a minimal extend.
Tactical – Positional Units
- Attacking Shadow Play + Defensive Shadow Play: impacts Mentality, Width & Position/Role/Duty
– Familiarity will increase to a minimal extend.
Which training sessions you select will depend on your tactical style, but there are two primary training categories which stands out relating to maximizing the tactical familiarity levels. It’s the Overall General Training or the Outfield, as well as the ones within the Match Preparations category – specifically Match Tactics and Match Practice along with any fixtures.
It’s also beneficial to remember adding the Match Reviews session the day after Match Day since this session will also improve the knowledge of all the Tactical Familiarity Levels. When you have selected Match Day in your training schedule, a Match Preview session will automatically be added. This is not the case of Match Review, which you have to add yourself!
2. Which training sessions to use to improve team cohesion?
The team cohesion can be improved in two ways:
- Through training by making sure the squad, or the player’s within the different training units train together.
- By ensuring players play together either via friendlies or competitive matches for a longer period of time. This will also affect player partnerships. Making a lot of signing in a short time will affect the team cohesion negative, quicker than you’re able to improve it.
The training schedules you should consider to see the greatest increase in team cohesion are;
- Teamwork – Greatly Increased
- Match Practice – Greatly Increased
- Match Preview – Increased
- Match Review – Increased
- Match Tactics – Increased
- Defensive Shape – Increased
- Attacking Movement – Increased
- Team Bonding – Increased
– also affect Teamwork
PS. Almost every training sessions where players train together as a team, or within a defensive or attacking unit will see team cohesion increase slightly. The Extra-curricular Community Outreach will see Team Cohesion slightly increase, but could be considered as it affects the Teamwork attribute positively.
NB! Any Rest sessions will reduce team cohesion and greatly reduce sharpness.
Setting up Training Schedules for Pre-Season
One of the first tasks at the start of a new save is to set up appropriate training schedules for the pre-season. If you head to the Training section, the Calendar will show you all the pre-set training schedules for the coming months decided by the Assistant Manager.
You can add, remove or change any training sessions for the upcoming weeks by clicking on the session.
Preset Training Schedules
As we learned from above, some training sessions affects both Team Cohesion and the Tactical Familiarity Levels to a greater degree meaning they are highly recommended sessions for pre-season training.
However, if you are unsure how to set up your pre-season training there are a number of preset training schedules you can select that will do the job just fine.
To change a training schedule for the upcoming week simply select the drop down arrow in the header above the week. Then you got two options, selecting a preset training schedule, or creating one on your own. Or, you can use one of our updated pre-season training schedules, which we will talk more about below.
The preset training schedules for pre-season gives you a number of options to provide you the perfect balance between intensity and impact on sharpness, tactical familiarity and team cohesion. You can choose to increase the work load week by week by designing a training plan for the coming month with improving tactical familiarity in mind.
The assistant manager will also give you recommendations of pre-season schedules to consider, but if I should consider using pre-set pre-season schedules, I would simply consider the ‘Normal – Mid’ schedule, or the Tactical – Mid/Late.
These schedules puts the highest attention to Tactical Familiarity and Sharpness without affecting injury risk and condition too much.
The Normal Mid training schedule with no matches could be a great schedule to use as an example when customizing your own pre-season schedule. It includes four Physical training sessions, four Outfield training sessions, plus two Overall sessions, as well as a Match Practice.
Creating your own schedules
Creating your own schedules gives you a better chance to tailor the training schedules to your tactical style and requirements of your playing style. You can select the best possible training sessions for what you like to obtain and balance the intensity for each training unit in a better way than what the Assistant Manager will do.
To create your own schedule, simply locate the Scheduls tab underneath Training. Click the Create New Schedules (instead of selecting a preset).
When you create your own schedules for pre-season it’s 3 types of training sessions to consider:
- General Training (Overall, Outfield, Tactical and specific sessions relating to your tactical style e.g Possession if you use Tiki-Taka tactics)
- Physical training schedules (General – Physical, Endurance and Resistance)
Quickness greatly increases the injury risk. Then it’s better to use Physical (General) which works on all attributes.
- Match Preparations (Match Tactics, Match Practice and Teamwork)
When I create training schedules for pre-season, I always consider the intensity of each unit. I look to include one training session per week which lets the defensive and attacking unit work on their individual roles.
The goalkeeping general training session is a great example of a training session to use, in this particular case. You can also select one of the other Goalkeeping training sessions.
At the same time, I try to include at least four Physical training schedules per week. At the first weeks of pre-season, you can add more physical training before changing the focus over on more Team Cohesion and Tactical Familiarity as the start of the season is closing in.
You should also ensure the training intensity isn’t too hard. A red bar represent the same intensity as a full match. The higher the bar becomes (orange), the more impact on the players’ condition and fatigue there will be.
I like to balance the workload and the training intensity by scheduling a lighter training day, the day after a hard one.
Here’s an quick example on how you could set up a pre-season training schedule where focus is as much about Tactical Familiarity as Sharpness.
Using Custom Training Schedules – Passion4FM’s Pre-Season Training Schedules
The last option you have is to download custom-made training schedules, such as passion4FM’s Pre-Season training schedules that are specifically made to maximize tactical familiarity, team cohesion and sharpness.
The new and improved pre-season training schedules includes a few variants with different intensity settings. Setting it up is quite easy too. I’ve described its use in the naming of the schedule. All you need to consider is how hard you want the intensity of the training to be. That will mostly depend on how long your team’s pre-season period lasts.
Primarily, the idea is to let you get all the schedules required for the first one and a half month to get your team off to a good start both in terms of preparations for the upcoming season and the tactical style you’re going to play, but also to improve happiness and Team Cohesion which is important for on-pitch success.
My idea when creating these schedules is that you’ll boost tactical familiarity within the end of first transfer window.
If you consider the pre-season lasting for six weeks, which in my mind is the most ideal, it gives you two weeks to work on players match sharpness, condition and reducing the likeliness of fatigue before you spend a month maximizing tactical familiarity and team cohesion by more focus on friendly fixtures.
How to set up pre-season training?
The first week after the players come back from holiday I prefer to use a training schedule that primarily focuses on increasing the player’s physical state. At this time, there are no other focus on tactical familiarity than the match against your B-team or Under-23s. I prefer to have no other matches scheduled, but some teams have already scheduled a friendly fixture within the first week.
The intensity of the training schedule increases slightly by increasing both the injury risk and conditions. Normally you’ll have one friendly scheduled this week, so you could select the 1 Match schedule.
Both Week 1 and Week 2 are training schedules with less focus on familiarity but more on condition and sharpness. Basically, they gives the player’s the foundation to tolerate more extensive training in the upcoming weeks.
The only difference is that Week 2 is slightly harder with a bit more focus on tactical familiarity.
1 Match: (Week 2 and/or 3)
After the first two weeks, or in the second week depending on how long until a competitive match, I prefer to set up the first friendly. The match will be played on Saturday giving you a minimum of two weeks building up match sharpness.
2 Match: (Week 3 to 5)
After the first three weeks, shift your focus towards increasing tactical familiarity levels. For the next two weeks you’ll be playing two friendly matches per week, Wednesday and Saturday.
Teamwork: (Week 5-6)
The last week before the season kicks off is given to Team Cohesion. The Teamwork schedule is a perfect option in this instance. You can use the Teamwork schedule in the first weeks of the season to fully make the squad gel together.
This will give you a Training Calendar that will look like this:
Individual Player Training
To increase each players tactical familiarity and make the player proficient with his player position, it’s recommended to setup the player’s individual training as early on in your save as possible.
You can set up the individual training for all players by heading going to:
Training > Individualtab
Or you can even have full control of individual training with a custom squad view, such as the brand new Tactics & Training Analyzer squad view by Passion4FM.com, or the Training-Setup-Performance squad view.
Regardless of where you prefer to set up individual training, what you need to remember, or what I’ve found the most advantageous is to:
- select the same position/role/duty as what you use in the tactic
- Leave the training intensity to Automatic
For instance, if your Football Manager tactics features a Mezzala, instruct your preferred player in that position to work on Mezzala Support rather than (MC) Playing position. When a player works on the position, they will only get familiar with the position, not the role or duty. The game will also put more attention to basic requirements of a central midfielder than specific attributes required to play as a Mezzala.
The same goes for all your players. Select the role and duty which is identical to your tactics.
By doing it this way, the familiarity of Player/Role/Duty will increase faster – meaning it will take shorter time before all tactical familiarity levels becomes fluid.
Training alone will not let you able to maximize the tactical familiarity levels as quickly as possible. You need to schedule enough friendly fixtures. How many matches you play in the pre-season depends on how long until the first match of the season. Sometimes, it’s impossible to play that many matches which is required or favored to reach fluid knowledge of your tactics. You might need to use the first matches of the season to fully get your team to familiarize with your tactical instructions.
Personally, I prefer to try to schedule between 6 and 8 friendly matches where you play two matches a week for a longer period. Here you can mix and match playing against minor and bigger clubs each week to let all your players within the squad the chance to improve their match sharpness.
Applying all these tips above, you’ll be one step closer to make your team fully fluid with your tactics by the end of August / start of September – giving you the chance to fully analyze the tactics and its performance over the next matches without worrying of the negative effect tactical familiarity may have over your tactics, and the player’s positioning and performance.
From then on, it will be easier to assess which players fit your system, or not, and take necessary actions by either modifying the tactics or its use of player roles and duties.
Download Passion4FM’s FM23 Pre-Season Training Schedules
A megapack of pre-season training schedules to maximize tactical familiarity levels, team cohesion and sharpness in Football Manager 2023.
I hope you have found this guide to tactical familiarity levels useful. Let us know if there are other Football Manager guides you like to read, or you got some specific things you wonder about in FM23.