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Mastering Team Talks in Football Manager

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Discover how to deliver impactful team talks in Football Manager, with tips on reading the room, using gestures, and balancing praise with criticism.
Mastering Team Talks in Football Manager - Guide

Strategies to Inspire and Motivate Your Players in Football Manager


We’ve all been in that situation. It’s a key game, be it a league fixture or a knockout stage, you enter the dressing room, and you have to convince your players to go out and win it; your job may be on the line, and it is not, just your chance at some silverware. But how do you do it? Team talks are a vital part of a manager’s job in Football Manager. The right words can send your team out to get the result against all odds, while the wrong message can be the start of a spiral out of control. So, here’s how you get Team Talks done right.

Read the room


World-class manager Julian Nagelsmann once said that “30% of coaching is tactics, 70% is social competence”; when it comes to FM, a similar logic applies. Your players have a personality, they have a career, they have attributes, and depending on these factors, each situation will impact them differently. Seasoned, experienced players may be roaring to go in the minutes before a final after some encouragement; a team of rookies and first-timers may need someone to lift the pressure off them.

Football Manager Team Talks

Reading the room before giving any team talk will help you decide what to say and have your words make the right impact. Are some players nervous or composed? Is this your team’s first time in this instance, or are you used to it? Was something said before the game that impacted players? If it’s halftime, are you worried that you could be in for a bottle job as before, or are you confident they can complete the job? Consider the situation before speaking, and your team talks will land more often.

READ ALSO: Football Manager Guide to Game Management

Don’t repeat the message over and over


Imagine this guide gets published tomorrow, and the day after that, and then again, and again… whether you picked it up the first time from it, surely you’re not going to give as much thought to the next time, right? The same goes for team talks. Like with most things in FM, repetition leads to inefficacy.

Using different messages for different situations will make your team talks more productive because players will respond to them better. If you’re constantly telling your players to do it for the fans, they probably won’t care much if it’s the big derby or just another game. But if you make a point of it when that day comes, it will remind them of the importance of that game over the others.
 
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Call out individuals if they deserve it


This goes mostly for after-game team talks, but it can be useful before games. More often than not, team talks are aimed at the team, but you don’t have to do it that way always. After giving your initial talk, you’re allowed to approach the different lines (defenders, midfielders, strikers) or even individual players.

This can be a very powerful tool for complimenting and (most importantly) calling out individual players. I find it’s fantastic when a player has made a big mistake, and you need them to go out to prove it was a one-off. Pointing at that centreback or midfielder and telling them you expect them to improve will (provided you’ve read the room right and his personality and experience gives them the backbone) work great as a wake-up call.

Much in the same sense, you can praise a player who has played a great game despite their teammates dropping the ball. Perhaps the most usual example is a goalkeeper who has single-handedly kept a clean sheet; you’ll want to call out the defenders but spare the goalie the reprimand.
 
READ ALSO: 4 Tips on How to Reduce Fatigue
 

Don’t overreact


This one goes along the lines of reading the room, but has more to do with season and game-to-game expectations. After most bad results, you’re allowed to either chastise your players or tell them it was unlucky, or they weren’t expected to win.

While we always want to win every game, giving your relegation-struggling team the hair-blower treatment after losing against the undefeated league leaders will impact them negatively more often than not. You also have the problem that players can come afterwards to you, asking for an apology if they feel you’ve treated them wrong, and then you have a problem on your hands

There is no issue with admitting you were expected to be defeated, to let it go and move on, and knowing when you’re simply outclassed will help you land those well-deserved scoldings better.
 
 

Use the gestures


Gestures were a new feature for FM21, replacing the old “voice tone” system to better represent how you want to convey your message. It made a lot of sense, as most human communication is nonverbal, and body language is a key delivery of information. However, it can prove a bit tedious to go along and select a gesture for every bit of interaction you do as a manager, as they quickly pile on, and they can be a bit repetitive.

Regardless, I can only encourage you to do so, as they are a big part of what you’re saying to your players. Much like the old system recorded your usual voice tone, meaning a usually calm manager would surprise people by going assertive or cautious, so do your usual gestures play an effect.

Football Manager Gestures

If you’re congratulating your team for most wins with a calm, hands-on-pockets demeanour, it will mean a lot more for your players if you burst into the room with your hands up in the air. If you’re usually calm, smiling or with your hands on your hips, players will feel that call out more if you are going crazy about it. Using gestures smartly will help you better communicate how you feel about a performance or result.

Conclusion


Team talks, together with many interactions in Football Manager, are some of the bits that players look forward to the least. It’s understandable, they can get repetitive very quickly, and unlike scouting, tactics or signings, it’s hard to see where the impact is going. However, effective team talks are key to success in Football Manager, just as they are in real-life sports. It's essential to read the room, understand the mood of your players, and tailor your message accordingly. Repetition can quickly lead to disengagement, so it's important to keep your communication concise and clear. Calling out individuals when necessary can help them improve, but it's crucial to balance criticism with praise and encouragement. Overreacting can quickly undermine your authority, so staying calm and composed is essential. Finally, non-verbal communication can also be an effective tool, and using gestures can help convey your message more clearly. By following these key pieces of advice, you can become a more effective communicator and motivate your team to achieve their goals.

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FM Blog | FM24: Mastering Team Talks in Football Manager
Mastering Team Talks in Football Manager
Discover how to deliver impactful team talks in Football Manager, with tips on reading the room, using gestures, and balancing praise with criticism.
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