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Football Manager Myth Buster: Player Development

Myth Buster feature image

Hey guys and welcome to a different type of post, as today we aim to break a myth that even had the most experienced of Football Managers fooled. Football Manager player development is a complicated topic for most, so much goes into raising youth in the correct manner on Football Manager, you’d be excused for misunderstanding what goes into a players development and what directly effects it.

To clarify, today’s post is all about Football Manager Myths, set in place long ago, myths that have stuck and become ingrained within the community, myths that even I fell for (hangs head in shame.) We’ll start by outlining the myth and then set about putting it right.

The Myth: Determination and work rate effect player development

Before we start and while you pick your jaws up from the floor :), let me do a few shout outs to the real pros that pointed this myth out and did all the research to set us straight. Firstly Shrewnaldo, who wrote a fantastic piece back in 2012 detailing a few experiments which we’ll use today, secondly Maestro Ugo who also carried out an insanely long experiment on The Dugout. This Myth was expelled by people like Shrewnaldo and Maestro Ugo a while back, but it still lived on within the community so I felt it right to highlight their work and open it up to the FMS community.

OK so back to that baffling statement, determination and work rate do not effect player development in Football Manager. My prediction is a hand full reading this will think, ‘yeah, annnnd’ while the majority will want evidence and undeniable proof, well we have both.

As mentioned I used to think determination and work rate directly affected player development, after all if someone is determined and works hard then surely they will reach their potential faster, won’t they? No, and here is the proof.

Shrewnaldo hosted an experiment back in 2010, which is still very relevant today. Below is the outline for his experiment proving determination has no effect on player development. Please note this screenshot is taken from The Dougout and the full post can be found here.

determination experiment.

While Shrewnaldo didn’t carry out a similar test on work rate, Maestro Ugo hosted a mammoth experiment on The Dugout back in 2011. Maestro Ugo ran a save recording the changes to 4000 regens, from this data he could determine which attributes effect a players development without question. This is a fairly complicated experiment, so I won’t re-host any details here other than the fact that work rate had no effect on player development. If you want to see the experiment and more data its available here.

What does effect player development in Football Manager

We now know for certain that determination and work rate have no real baring on player development, but what does? From reading both the articles linked above we can say game time, professionalism, ambition, injury proneness and of course luck effect development.

I want to show you Shrewnaldo’s spider graph demonstrating how professionalism effects development, as you can directly compare it to the minimal effect determination had in the previous spider graph. The same experiment was carried out, only difference being the professionalism attribute varied where determination did previously. A clear picture is painted, the higher the starting attribute for professionalism the quicker the pupil develops.

proffessionalism effect on development

How will this affect me?

For those who didn’t fall for the myth in the first place, well you’ll probably feel good about yourselves :) But for the rest of us, there are many parts of the game that will be seen in a new light.

For instance, in the past you may have looked at the determination and work rate attributes to see a direct representation of your players potential or ability to reach it, now you should just see their willingness to get about the pitch and determination in an actual match environment.

You should now be looking directly for a players personality as an indicator for how he’ll grow, attributes that are of course hidden so you will want to get a rough idea through his information screen and coach/scout reports…you can use this article here for pointers on what the personality descriptions actually mean. Remember we are looking for professional players and ambitious individuals.

You should now look for tutors with high professionalism and ambition to tutor your youth, instead of worrying about determination dropping, in the past I never even looked at this when considering a tutor so could have been seriously damaging my players growth without realizing. If you select a tutor with low professionalism or ambition to tutor a kid with resonable attributes in that area, those attributes will drop. Sure an experienced tutor will help the tutees CA increase short term (ergo presenting the appearance of a good tutor) but what you may miss is the personality change in your tutee that will stop him reaching full potential in the future. If they take on the tutors poor professionalism and or ambition they will undeniably suffer.

I could go into more detail and cover much more ground, but that would be disrespectful to the authors of the pieces linked in above. So instead if you want more information on this topic and others similar, I strongly recommend the articles mentioned throughout this piece, they may be old but they are brilliant, still very relevant and deserve as much publicity as possible.



  1. Niels Bendtsen Halck

    June 19, 2014 at 11:46

    I surely believed in that myth..

  2. Andrew

    June 19, 2014 at 19:54

    Mythbusting. What a cool feature. How about finding out whether the AI learns to counter your tactic around halfways in the season or the ever so popular 2nd season tactic slump. Myth or no myth?

    • Darren Smith

      June 19, 2014 at 21:47

      Not quite sure how we’d go about proving that categorically. Though my logic believes it is indeed very possible now after SI changed the tactics system, now sliders are gone there’s much less for the AI to counter and it seems too much of a coincidence that tactics have gotten a whole lot less consistent since the switch, but again, tough to prove or deny without question as too many other factors could come into play.

  3. Martin

    June 20, 2014 at 13:12

    A small myth I would like answered, is just whether a player grows taller?

    • Darren Smith

      June 20, 2014 at 18:46

      TBH it wouldn’t be something that would change the way people change the game as a result so not sure its worth the effort of testing.

      • Martin

        June 23, 2014 at 20:42

        No but it’s a myth none the less. I have a young good prospect CB but his height means he loses key headers, want to know if I should retrain to a BWM or wait for him to grow! It wouldn’t be a hard experiment

        • Darren Smith

          June 25, 2014 at 18:49

          No it wouldn’t be too hard, you could simply save your game, then holiday through four or five seasons and see what that players height is.

  4. Pedro Fontan

    June 20, 2014 at 22:16

    WHAAAAAAAAT?? Are you telling pretty much the thing which pushed me to finalise deals for regens is not real?? It can not be true!!!! Noooooooooooool
    all jokes aside I was very surprised to read this but with all the proof its tough to deny for sure. Great post Darren and kudos to the contributors.
    My “myth” which isn’t really a myth is whether instructions in a game actually make any difference. From what I have tested it seems they have very little effect however I did just test on 10 games so not really that extensive. And it may just be the way my team play

    • Darren Smith

      June 22, 2014 at 09:37

      I guess the instructions making a difference is an interesting one as many don’t see them working to great effect. However, it could be that you don’t see the effect unless it has a positive impact on the game, which could just mean we need to find the right adjustments. Again its very hard to prove or deny though as there are too many variables with the match engine.

  5. Istanbul_NL

    June 21, 2014 at 11:18

    Another good article about player development was done by the late SFraser – . Although determination doesn’t effect a players development directly, it does seem to help when you send him out to a feeder club.


    “I have an unwritten rule at my club (Manchester United, I’m sure most of you spotted that). That rule is that anyone under Determination 13 will fail, anyone over Determination 16 will succeed. Failure might be he is sometimes awesome but usually ****, success might be he is always average, but anyone between 13 and 16 is a loose cannon and anyone under it someone I cannot trust. At any stage of development and First Team behaviour.

    This is a profoundly crucial issue. I have sent many Determination 17 players to my “holding feeder club” because their skills sucked, and I always get messages about “League One Player of the Month”. I have sent a lot of quality youngsters with Determination 13 to the Championship and they come back saying they would have learnt more at Old Trafford.

    Because of that I have a simple rule now. If your Determination is under 15 you don’t go on loan.”

    • Darren Smith

      June 22, 2014 at 09:34

      Thats an interesting theory, determination can be an important attribute in the lower leagues and it does (when backed up with other skills) lead to better performances, I personally haven’t noticed it making such a big impact as to not loan someone under 15 determination but then again I haven’t actively looked at their performance/determination stats.

  6. Wedny

    June 22, 2014 at 17:56

    Thank you so much for this article! I’ve tested this myself, and also put bravery in that expiriment. Ambition and proffessionalism are most important stats that i found out! Anyhow, cheers and thanks!

  7. 0mariano

    June 24, 2014 at 15:51

    I also believed in that myth, great post Darren.

  8. Zadix

    June 27, 2014 at 18:11

    A great article yet again guys, however i will continue to buy regens that have high determination because it is the only visible indication of a players personality apart from the short description in the information tab. I find that it really does aid in development of young players, maybe because it is correlated to professionalism and ambition.

    The article might have proven that the determination stat itself doesn’t have significant effect on development, but that doesn’t mean that regens with high determination don’t develop better.

    • Darren Smith

      June 27, 2014 at 19:24

      Thanks Zadix, everyone is entitled to play and visualize the game as they please of course, we are just here to point out guidelines that we think can help.

      I do however have to reiterate for other readers that the articles linked above are irrefutable evidence that determination has no impact on player development and also has no baring on professionalism and ambition, just because they have high determination doesn’t mean they are also professional and ambitious. The articles do show directly that determination will not effect a players development…if you read them you will see that.

      On a side note you cannot assume that the determination attribute suggests high professionalism and or ambition….do a simple filter search in the editor for players under 10 in determination and over 15 in professionalism, the result is too large for the editor to load every name. Same goes replacing professionalism with ambition. I have to admit that there must be more players with a coloration between these attributes than not or this myth would never have even begun, but, there are nowhere near enough to risk making the assumption that high determination equals high ambition and high professionalism.

  9. Atal

    June 28, 2014 at 11:23

    For my experience (since 2012) if you tutor a player and give him some game time that equals to he will develop. Now determination comes into play when you promote that player to the 1st team. Because most of the time (in my game) it’s set on high. If a player has high determination he won’t complain if low the opposite which result in individual training and he doesn’t develop as fast as I want him to.

    • Atal

      June 28, 2014 at 11:24

      Training is set to high

      • Darren Smith

        June 28, 2014 at 12:02

        Not sure what you are trying to suggest, but determination has no impact on player development, that is what these posts show with irrefutable evidence.

        • Joe

          July 17, 2014 at 09:44

          I think what he is trying to say is that a player with a higher determination attribute is more likely to be OK with a heavier training load.

          • Darren Smith

            July 17, 2014 at 12:04

            But thats not true…determination does not effect anything other than match engine performances which is what I have already stated and how a player plays, nothing off the pitch will be effected by determination, ergo all the facts that are shown prove determination has no impact on development. Professionalism is what will effect how they train, hence that is one of the key attributes in development. If determination had any effect at all on how a player trains then it would be vital to development and the facts and evidence above would not exist.

  10. Henri

    July 2, 2014 at 23:03

    Fantastic read, I’m really surprised and I have to admit you’ve changed the way I’ll sign players. I’m not surprised in the slightest that thousands of people would believe this myth. Realistically though the proof is there to see and I don’t question it one bit but I struggle to understand how it’s realistic.

    I mean sure if someone is extremely professional they will turn up without fail every day and they’ll do everything possible to remain professional in every aspect of their job but if you have another person who is extremely determined surely they will be more likely to live their life in a very determined manner.

    I mean when I think of someone who is extremely determined, I think of someone who will stop at nothing to be the best them that they can be, to me it just doesn’t logically make a whole lot of sense, how a professional player will progress much much better than a determined player, still I say it again, Brilliant post, I was shocked and I won’t be the only one.

    • Darren Smith

      July 3, 2014 at 18:59

      Yeah the logic behind it is why the myth has stayed so prominent within the community. However, what everyone is missing is that determination is a ‘player’ attribute, therefore it only changes the way the player performs on the pitch, nothing else…that is why professionalism and ambition change how they develop, because they are ‘person attributes’, these effect areas like that, not player attributes which have nothing to do with any part of the game other than in game situations.

      • Henri

        July 4, 2014 at 01:42

        Really good point, I never thought of it like that. I would assume that a mental attribute works both on and off the pitch but it’s clear to see from this post, it only works on the pitch. Maybe determination should be a person attribute or it should be the same rating and be both a person attribute and a player attribute. The logic of it really confuses me , especially when you also consider that a players determination attribute can directly influence his in game personality.

  11. Theophilus Ekpa

    September 22, 2014 at 22:26

    Determination matters in match performances agaisnt odds. For player development, important factors are coaches, training schedules, focus training, and youth facilities. Tutoring and determination have slight effects. Work rate affects the player’s contribution to team play.

    • Darren Smith

      September 24, 2014 at 18:40

      While the factors you mentioned do effect player development, the key factors are actually in the post.

  12. Pingback: The Head Of Youth Development | The FM Coach

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