I want to pass along some thoughts that I’ve had on scheduling practices. Some of my thoughts are skewed to the Dynasty Mode&emdash;you want to rest more and have more off days early in Dynasty Mode, when your team’s Strength facilities aren’t top-notch&emdash;but others are based on simple math. Let’s review what the five things you can have happen in a calendar day do for your team:
- Day Off: +4 Endurance, -2 Attributes, Morale +1
- Short Practice: +2 Endurance, -1 Attributes
- Medium Practice: +1 Attributes
- Long Practice: -2 Endurance, +2 Attributes, -2 Morale
- Game: -2 Endurance, +1 Attributes
Clearly, a Medium session is ideal&emdash;you only improve. Sometimes, though, you need something different. If you’ve just played a couple games back to back, you might want to have a Short skate, purely to recharge batteries a bit. If the next opponent’s relatively weak [say, more than -7 relative to your team], take the Day Off&emdash;you’ll really supercharge the batteries, you get a morale bounce, and chances are that you’re still going to be way stronger.
Long Practices seemed attractive to me the first couple times through, especially as “punitive” measures. They didn’t work out as well as I figured, mainly because that morale thing does come back to bite you in the butt. A low team morale lengthens losing streaks&emdash;I’ve not been able to closely correlate that in terms of how much it does so, but I’ve figured that out generically. I use Long skates sparingly, usually when I’m facing a tough opponent and can take a day off on the far side of things.
The other advice that I can offer is to pay attention to multiple days off and how you can combine various practice schedules. Got a tired team with three off-days coming? Don’t go S-S-M; go O-M-M or O-S-M if the next couple opponents are relatively weak. The morale boost from a O gives you a little jump, and O-M only lowers attributes by one, where S-S does so by two without the bump in morale.
If your team’s well-rested, you might go M-S-M with three days off or M-S with just two off. I believe in short practices early in the season&emdash;they keep you from wearing down too early, and they allow you to give your team fewer O’s and S’s in February and March.
Never go S-L; the net result is +1 Attributes, but -2 Morale. You could get +2 Attributes with two M’s and not hurt morale. M-L is more acceptable when gearing up for a big opponent, although you shouldn’t do it at the end of a losing streak.
Similarly, you never want O-L; that’s +2 Endurance, but just even on Attributes and down one on Morale. Why do that? S-M gives you better results.
Remember, an S undoes the bounce you got from a game, but it you’re playing four times in seven days, it’s not a bad call.