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With homegrown players to the top (3)

I received my club in November 2010. I never bought any players. Now, after 11 years (36 seasons) of homegrown experience, it’s time to wrap it up and pass on some tips and tricks.

I started playing with homegrown players because I liked the idea of playing with players who have a deep connection to the club. With my previous club (2005-2010), I got tired of playing with foreign players whose names I couldn’t even remember. They didn’t come to life to me. This was different with my homegrown guys: most of them played for over 20 seasons for the club and in that time (6 years) at least I could remember their names and skills.

Some of you might have read one of my previous articles about my homegrown adventures. If not, you can read part 1 (2011) here: (13392) and part 2 (2015) here: (18924). Summary: between 2010 and 2016 I tried to reach first division in Spain, but only made it to II. In my best match, my team got 509 hatstats (515850184).

New goal: 600 hatstats

In September 2016 I started with a new group of 17 year olds (I call it my “2016-team”). Now my goal was to reach 600 hatstats. I picked this goal of 600 hatstats, because I didn’t want to depend on the match engine trying to win matches and leagues. But also, I thought that having a team with this brutal force, I should be able to beat just about anybody. I mean, good luck with your carefully picked specialties, optimised in whatever tactic, if I play against you with a magical midfield and attack!

In practice, this goal of brutal force meant that I prioritised skills over specialties, and that I only trained skills that attributed to my teams ratings. So, I didn’t train set pieces training and didn’t care about passing for defenders and scoring for wingers, for example. After some playing around with Hattrick Organiser, I figured that optimising for a 253 formation would give me the best chance to reach 600 hatstats. Did I reach my goal? Keep on reading…

Differences with my 2010-squad

To reach this goal, I basically copied my 2010-training plan, which was also designed for a 253-formation and consisted of training keeper, defending, playmaking, winger, passing and scoring (in that order). However, compared to my 2010-plan, I made some improvements:

- In 2010 I started with a new club without youth academy, so I just pulled 2 random goalkeepers from the old youth system. They were (almost) 18 year old with wretched goalkeeping. In 2016 I was better prepared and pulled 2 solid goalkeepers of 17,0 years old from my academy.

- The other players of my 2016-team were also superior to the ones from my 2010-squad: they were all barely 17 years old, with mostly passable main skills. This was a huge improvement compared to the wretched and poor neighborhood-kids I randomly received and trained in my newly opened youth academy in 2010.

- The other difference with the 2010-team was that I was able to hire an excellent coach right from the beginning. Also, the first 9 seasons of my 2015-team I was able to train only 5% stamina. From 2010 to 2015, I trained mostly at 7% stamina.

- The biggest difference, however, was that with my 2010-squad I never had the goal to reach a huge amount of hatstats. It was merely a by-product of my ambition to reach as high as possible in competition. This meant that in my best match, I didn’t play MOTS. With my new squad, however, I wanted to go all in for one game; beat 600 hatstats and didn’t care about the rest of the season.

My homegrown training plan

After publishing my previous HT-Press articles, I received some ht-mails asking about my new training plan; so here it is, complete with highest obtained skill level:

Keeper: 28 weeks (5% stamina) supernatural
Defending: 37 weeks (5% stamina) magnificent
Playmaking: 61 weeks (5% stamina) extra-terrestrial and magnificent (50% slots)
Winger: 19 weeks (5% stamina) and 17 weeks (10% stamina) supernatural and brilliant (50% slots)
Passing: 36 weeks (10% stamina) world class
Scoring: 37 weeks (10% stamina) and 5 weeks (30% stamina) world class
Playmaking: 30 weeks (between 27% and 35% stamina)

- I started training goalkeeping to my two keepers. Than I promoted 9 players within the time span of 11 weeks from the youth academy; all were 17 years and at most a few days. I had prepared this batch of players carefully, but I didn’t look at specialties, of course. By pure luck, I ended up with 2 headers, one powerful, one quick and 2 technical players. Not that bad. I trained them defense together with my best goalkeeper.

- Than, in the Fall of 2017, I promoted 3 more players: my future forwards. They were quite gifted with passable, solid and excellent scoring. One of them was technical. I started training playmaking once they were promoted to my adult team. I trained my 3 future inners, 2 future wingers and my new technical forward at 100% playmaking. I trained 2 defenders and my 2 new forwards in the 50% slots.

- Next step was winger training. I choose to give 100% winger training to one wing back, one inner towards wing and two wingers. This was a sentimental choice, as my inner towards wing was by far the best youth player of the squad and would eventually reach 438.180 tsi. I wanted to train him as good as possible, mainly because he was such a beast and I like to show him off on forums.

Of course, it would have been better to save this 100% winger spot for a second wing back, because at that place it is more useful to have a highly developed winger skill than for an inner towards wing. This was especially relevant because in my 600 hatstats attempt-match, I would play 253 with 2 wing backs. One of them only trained on the 50% winger spot, but it still gave me better ratings than letting him play as a normal central defender! The other 50% winger spots were for my 2 normal forwards and my other inner towards wing.

- With 16 spots for passing there was enough training space for all players, so I didn’t have to make difficult choices this time.

- After this, I trained scoring to my 3 forwards and my 3 inner midfielders. I choose not to train scoring to my fast wingers, as this only contributes to the effectiveness of their specialty and not to the ratings of my team, whereas inner midfielders get better ratings with scoring. My forwards started with far better scoring skill than my inners, which is why they ended up to world class scoring, while my inners only got to brilliant scoring.

In the last weeks of scoring training, I raised stamina training drastically in order to get my team in form for a world record hatstats attempt (for homegrown teams). From that moment onwards, I didn’t take training too serious anymore and fired my second assistant trainer, so I could have a form coach next to my psychologist and medic. I changed to training playmaking again, just to avoid skill drops. At that time, two seasons ago, most players (defenders/inners/wingers) were 29/30 years old, while my forwards were 27/28 and my goalkeepers 31 and 32.

Tips to reach maximum power (hatstats) in one key match

It costed me 2 seasons to finally play a match in which my team could show its full potential. Let me share the things I learned in those 2 seasons:

- Play in a league you can win, so confidence is high. This boosts your attack ratings.
Another reason to play in a lower league: you will be able to play at home in cup in earlier rounds than in higher leagues. After your last pic in league, there are only 3 updates with team spirit declines. After your last pic in cup, there are 4 updates with team spirit declines. This means you play with a higher team spirit if you plan your attempt in a (home) cup match.

- Hire an excellent coach, so the average form of your players is higher. Your form coach and psychologist should also be of the highest level for max form and confidence. Consider hiring 2 assistant coaches, as they increase form as well. This leaves you without a spot for a medic. I tried to play without medic, but than I got an injury right away, so I had to hire a medic again to cure him fast.

- Increase gradually (at least 6 or 7 weeks before your attempt) the percentage of stamina training, so your players have excellent stamina at d-day. Don’t increase the percentage of stamina too late, as you will have to dedicate a higher percentage to make up for it, which is bad for form.

- Of course, you still need some luck with suspensions, injuries and form. In the match where I tried to beat 600 hatstats, my best player (the inner towards wing-beast who once reached 438k tsi) was in inadequate form. How frustrating. But I can’t complain; in that particular match, I didn’t suffer injuries or red cards, and my other players were on average in solid form.

The limits of homegrown power

So, you might wonder: did I reach my goal? Did I break the 600 hatstats barrier? Well, ehm, no. Here is the match (681180153). As you can see, I got 566 hatstats. That’s a record for homegrown teams, but it is far away from my goal.

Is there still room for improvement?

On the one hand, yes, because:

- I should have trained 100% winger to my second wing back and not to my star player who didn’t need it that much, playing as an inner towards wing.

- I played in III, so I wasn’t able to play an early cup match at home. Instead, I had to play my record attempt in a league game, suffering one extra team spirit decline.

- Although I can’t complain about my average form during the record match, it definitely didn’t help that my best player was in inadequate form.

But, even with a properly trained wing back, playing my record game in cup and with more form-luck for my best player, I would not have been able to beat 600 hatstats. As a matter of fact: I don’t think anyone will be able to do so. Unless, of course, the HT-devs change some parameters, like doubling homegrown bonus, or something like that. The main reason I think nobody will beat 600 hatstats soon is that now you are obliged to train stamina at 10%, losing 5% training efficiency. This doesn’t sound like a lot, but 5% on 566 is 28 hatstats! So, if you want to improve my record, you start with a penalty of 28 hatstats nowadays.

Why did I only reach to division III this time?

I got 566 hatstats, which is less than I hoped for. I also hoped for a side effect of this brutal force: win games and get to the highest division. I also failed at this point. With my 2010-team I reached 5th place in division II, the 9th round of the national cup and the final (which I lost) of a secondary cup. Although the skills and ratings of my 2016-team were far better, I only reached to division III, the 7th round of the national cup and the 10th round of a secondary cup. Why did I underperform?

First of all (and it sounds lame, I know), the III division I played in was the hardest III of Spain. And although in hatstats my team was superior in most matches, there is just no way you can always win midfield and attack; home and away. During the season, you need to be able to build up team spirit. In mid-level leagues you can win most matches by playing pic at home, and play pin away. But in III, in certain key matches you need to play pin at home to win midfield.

The only way to build up team spirit than is to play pic away. But even the best teams can’t win midfield playing pic away, so you need an alternative to the 253 formation: a decent counter-attack option, pressing or long-shots tactic. Unfortunately, my counter attack wasn’t good enough; see my failures playing counter attack here: (681180133) and (681180148). I also tried long shots (681180157), but world class tactical level in LS is just not enough.

So, because my goal was to reach 600 hatstats and I figured 253 was the best formation to get there, I optimized my team for this formation. This meant I failed in away games, where winning midfield was hard. I think my 2010-team was more versatile, as I was able to scramble some points in away games as well. But I also think I was just a bit more lucky with my opponents at that time.

Man marking

But even with a strong and versatile homegrown team it is harder than ever to reach first division. The reason is man marking. This is definitely the weak spot for homegrown teams, or at least for the extremely multiskilled ones like mine.

Most homegrown teams have only 13 or 14 players that are good enough to play. The reason for this is simple: you can’t train more players. This isn’t a problem normally: you’ll need a medic to prevent injuries and cure them fast, but other than that, 13 o 14 players is enough to have at any given moment 11 decent players without suspension or injury. And because they are multiskilled, you are flexible to shuffle them around when needed.

BUT: playing always with the same multiskilled players makes you predictable and an easy target for man marking. In my case, I always played with a technical defending forward. A technical player is the perfect victim of man marking, as his specialty penalizes him extra when being man marked. To make it worse: being (extremely) multiskilled means that his main skill is by definition not very high.

Therefore, chances are high he will lose the comparison with the defending skill of the man marker, which means the penalty is higher. Luckily, as I played only up to division III, I hardly played against any opponent who was clever enough to man mark me. I can imagine, however, that in higher leagues opponents will be smarter and make the life of home grown teams harder using man marking.

Okay, that’s it, thanks for reading. If you have any comments or questions, you can find me here: (17461428.1)

2021-12-24 17:05:15, 2631 visitas

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