This is kind of late, but a while ago I read the code to determine how the training camps work. Actually, I've forgotten half of it, didn't understand the other half, and probably have the third half wrong
But if you don't mind spoilers, then this is what I discovered.
Basically, players improve very slowly over time. Every 13 weeks or so (can't remember the exact time), they may improve a small amount on their own. On average it's less than one point. So if you want to improve your player's performance in a large way you must use the training camps.
Before I go on, it's probably best that I talk a bit about Skill, Current Skill and Estimated Talent. As coach of your team, you have a pretty good idea of how well your players are capable of playing. This is the Skill number. It goes from 1 to 99. However, your player may be injured, tired, or playing out of position. In these cases he won't perform to his utmost. The skill he performs at is given by the Current Skill. It is always equal to or less than the Skill.
Finally you have the Estimated Talent (ETal). The estimated talent is your scout's idea of the absolute potential of your player. As your player gets older and trains, their skill will move upwards towards the estimated talent. But past a certain age (see below), the skill will drop off again. Your job as manager is to get the Current Skill as close as possible to the true talent of the player.
Unfortunately, you don't know exactly how good your player could be. Your scout can only guess, and his guess is dependent on how good he is. The best scouts can guess somewhere between +-7, Good ones, +- 14, etc. Not only that, but players will only reach their peak at certain times in their life (somewhere around 27-30 for outfield players and a bit higher for goalies). So your players will often not be anywhere near the Estimated Talent.
Now on to the training camp. There are several factors determining how much your players can improve. The first is what kind of hotel you stay at. Better facilities lead to better improvement. Also, more expensive hotels allow players to rest better from training, meaning that they don't use so much energy.
The next factor is the type of training you do. The higher the "training" slider is, the more your players will improve. But you can also rest your players using the recreation slider. The higher the recreation slider is, the more rest the players get. At high levels, they can actually improve their fitness. And at very high levels, injured players may actually take a week or two off their recovery times.
Another factor for improvement is age. Young players improve more quickly than older players. Also, players at their peak age are more likely to improve too. Players past their peak age actually decrease in skill with more training (this is actually realistic, believe it or not... many older players will avoid training too much in real life).
One more consideration is the amount of playing time. The more games a player plays, the more they will be able to improve. However, as long as the player plays at least 1/3 of the available games, that's enough to help their improvement.
The final consideration is the amount of time that has past since the players last improvement. It's a bit complicated, but the gist of it is that spacing out your training sessions across the entire season is about 30% more effective than doing them all at once.
Every time you train, your players can gain something like 0-3 points (or lose a point if they are old). This is important to remember. Don't waste your training opportunities. In the higher levels, training up youngsters can take up to 2 years even when they are in the first team. Also note that youth team members are *not* invited to the training camp, so they only improve a couple of points per year. In fact, I only use the youth team to "park" some very young promising players when I don't have room in the main squad (due to developing other players). The youth team is a very poor place to develop talent.
The last thing I'll talk about is your scout's reevaluation of some players. If you have a very good scout and the Current Skill of the player is close to the ETal, you have a pretty good bet that the Etal is quite close to the players true ability. That's because scouts will never estimate below the current skill. If your scout's estimate is usually
+-7, and the Skill is equal to the ETal, then the players true talent must be in the range 0 to +7 -- on average +3.
The next thing to realize is that if your player stops improving and their current skill is within the window of your scouts ability to predict, then that almost certainly means that they have hit their true talent level. But occasionally the player's skill is improved *past* the estimated talent. The scout will then re-evaluate the talent. In this case, just due to statistics, on average the scout's new estimate will be *greater* than the true skill of the player (having underestimated once, they usually overestimate
). So, usually the true skill is somewhere between the first and second estimate. This is extremely handy when you are evaluating young players, since it gives you an indication of whether or not it's worth keeping them (generally speaking, you always have more youth players than you can actually use -- the trick comes in determining which ones to keep!)
That's about it. I've glossed over a few areas and I'm sure I made plenty of mistakes. Also the actual numbers used in the algorithms are probably wrong since I didn't double check. But that should give you a good idea of how to plan your development strategy.