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Zugism is a school of Youth Academy development that focuses on developing a core of well-rounded players with multiple high skills (solids and excellents) that are pulled just before their 19th birthdays. It is often contrasted with Xarnism. The name derives from the once and since returned American manager Mightyzug. Mightyzug is the nickname of the owner and manager of the Hattrick team, Verdant Strike, that was obsessed with the development of Ernest Schummacher, who as he once put it, "would be the greatest US Winger ever developed."

The Zugist approach to player development is to take advantage of the natural efficiencies of training available within the Youth Academy. Whereas a Xarnist approach focuses on maximizing a player's primary skill level by the 17.0 player age, Zugism focuses on maximizing a player's overall training.

Players train faster within the Youth Academy than they do on the Senior squad (even with the expense of an Excellent trainer with 9 assistant coaches). Additionally, within the Youth Academy a player can receive secondary training that is not available within the Senior squad. The disadvantage of training within the Youth Academy is that players have both total training ceilings and individual skill ceilings. Training in the YA, using a Zugist approach, is a regimen that takes advantage of the efficiency of training young players, as a function of age, in addition to the efficiency of training low skill levels (as opposed to higher skill levels, all YA ceilings being equal).

A Zugish adherent recognizes that within the Senior Squad a player can be trained faster in the primary skill, with a lower given primary skill level than a player with a higher given skill level. A Zugist Youth Academy training approach leverages the efficiencies of YA training (younger players train faster & lower skill levels train faster) with that efficiencies of senior training (lower skills train faster).

In fact, for a given player, training all skills with no particular focus on the primary, and keeping the player within the YA as long as they are training eligible, and then training the primary within the Senior squad will realize a more thoroughly trained player over the course of the player's "training bill" that is player lifetime. In this approach side skills are nicely developed and then the primary is trained. While the Zugist trained player will be chasing the primary skill level of the Xarnist trained player early on, the Xarnist player will never be able to catch the Zugist trained player in terms of Primary skill level AND side skill level once the Zugist player catches up in primary skill. At that point the Xarnist player is being trained at a very inefficient rate compared to the training the Zugist player received at the optimized and efficient rates of the YA. Simply put, a Xarnist trained player can never be trained as much as a player trained under the Zuggist approach.

Currently managers within the game focus almost exclusively on primary skill levels for both U-20 and NT players. Thus, currently, Xarnist players pulled near 17.0 age with a high primary skill will receive the bulk of the experience won through U-20 and NT play, even though a Zuggist trained player will, in the end, produce a better overall NT player with the equivalent primary skill, but better flushed secondaries.

The case in point of this player development are the two players that Zug and Xarn produced in the early life of the Youth Academy. Zug's player, Ernest Schummacher had better secondary skill upon promotion to the Senior squad level than Xarn's famous U-20 and NT mainstay Sydney Hunt has been able to develop upon a near lifetime of training. Zug did not continue with Hattrick, taking a sabbatical at that time, but it was only a matter of training the lower primary skill more efficiently (faster than a higher skill level can be trained) that would have allowed Schummacher to eventually become the better player with both an equivalent primary, and superior secondaries.

The Hattrick market is not entirely efficient, and manager preferences dominate the market value of players. As a vestige of the old training system, the economic value of a player for sale on the transfer market will be optimized by following a Xarnist approach. However, the value of a player within the game engine, over the course of the player's life, will be optimized by following a Zuggist philosophy.

Xarn for dough, Zug to grow.

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