The first place to start is the all-new Skills Trainer drills. These will not only teach you the basics of playing the game, but introduce you to some of the wickedly effective tools at your disposal. Best of all, you’ll learn what works best for you and what doesn’t. If you’re a Giants fan, chances are you’re not going to run the Read Option with Eli Manning. On the other hand, if you’re the 49ers with Colin Kaepernick or the Redskins with RGIII, knowing how to execute multiple play-fake options out of these sets will be the key to victory.
The most important virtue in the Skills Trainer is patience! These drills are quick and easily repeatable until you get the hang of things--and if you’re able to succeed and get Gold on them, an Ultimate Team card is your reward. After a few rounds, you’ll realize the value of the drills.
It’s also important to try and use the right teams in the Skills Trainer based on what you’re doing. A top running back like the Vikings’ Adrian Peterson is a great weapon in the running drills, while the aforementioned dual threats like Colin Kaepernick or Robert Griffin III will be tons of fun to use in the Read Option and Triple Option drills. You’re not tied to anyone at all--so mix and match, experiment and have fun while you learn the intricacies of the game.
Remember that you don’t need to get a Gold performance in all of the drills unless you want to get the Ultimate Team cards. The purpose of the trainer is to help you learn what’s at your disposal.
Acceleration Burst – This one sounds easy but a couple of the plays get tricky. Your goal is to get in the end zone, and most of the time you’ll just hit the right trigger turbo boost and get right in. But one or two plays, you’ll see a linebacker right in your way. Make a simple direction switch with the left stick to tuck inside him and you’ll be golden. The reward for gold performance is a Chris Johnson card.
Precision Modifiers – This is a great one to practice a few times, because you learn all about the new left trigger-powered Precision Modifier moves like trucks, jukes, spins, and dives. Be sure to pay attention to which move is being asked for, as the game will switch the order around to keep you on your toes. The reward for gold performance is a Walter Payton card.
Read Option – Here’s where things get really interesting. The Read Option (which we talk about in more detail later on) is a killer set to run out of with the right kind of team; the 49ers, Redskins, and Eagles are three good choices. It’s also, in many ways, its own Madden mini-game. In a matter of 4 seconds after the snap, you need to make 2 quick decisions, both of which are detailed in the tutorial before you practice. It seems intimidating at first, but a few go-rounds and you’ll know what keys to look for. The reward for gold performance is a Randall Cunningham card.
Triple Option – Oh, baby! The Triple Option is the Read Option “mini-game” on steroids, with three times as many decisions to make in half the time. Once again, it will seem daunting. Spend 15-20 minutes repeating these plays a few times, though, and you’ll get a feel for what to look for. Ultimately, you either hand to the FB right after the snap, keep it yourself as the QB, or toss to the RB. Again, it’s a lot to handle at first, but it’s worth it to spend the time. You will actually start to like it, too! The reward for gold performance is a Colin Kaepernick card.
Oklahoma Offense – Unlike the other Skills Trainer drills, you don’t really learn a lot here. Your goal is simply to power your way into the end zone, and you need to destroy an opponent to get there. Using the left trigger modifier, you can usually precision truck your way through the defender – although a spin here and there works well too – to gold. The reward for gold performance is an Adrian Peterson card.
Pass Trajectories – Nothing new for Madden 25 here; pass trajectories have been around for years. Toss a few lobs and bullets then move along. The easiest Gold you’ll get! The reward for gold performance is a Peyton Manning card.
Total Control Passing – Also not new for Madden 25; this is all about leading your receivers to the inside or outside. It’s definitely a good skill to acquire for real games, since the ability to get your receiver exactly where you want him to be in a tough spot is the difference between a completion and an interception. The reward for gold performance is a Dan Marino card.
User Catching – This is a bit tricky to master but definitely worthwhile to nail down for real games. Once you throw the ball, tap ‘B’ (360) or ‘Circle’ (PS3) to take control of the receiver. Next, move him into the passing area and hold ‘Y’ (360) or ‘Triangle’ (PS3) to catch it. It takes several goes at it to get there. The reward for gold performance is a Cris Carter card.
Ball Hawk – Using this skill in-game will pay major dividends, especially against careless opponents. Interceptions are still high-powered in Madden 25, and learning how to get in position then make a pick by holding‘Y’ (360) or ‘Triangle’ (PS3) is the most effective defensive tactic at your disposal. The reward for gold performance is a Deion Sanders card.
Oklahoma Defense – Conversely, there’s not a lot of value you’ll get out of this one, as these are all skills you’ve used in seasons past. It’s also a bit tough, as you’ll need to react very quickly to whichever direction the ballcarrier is going to prevent him from getting in the end zone. The reward for gold performance is an Ndamukong Suh card.
Offensive Hot Routes – If you’re not calling hot routes on a regular basis, you’re simply not paying attention. As we describe a little later on, the difference between succeeding and failing when passing is reading what the defensive backs are giving you, then taking advantage of it. This drill gives you everything you need to learn the right routes to call – make sure you’re paying attention. The reward for gold performance is an Aaron Rodgers card.
Defensive Individual Adjustments – While not as critical as on offense, defensive hot routes are very important at key moments when you’ve been caught off guard or recognize what’s coming. Being able to set up a Spy or QB Contain, for example, on a running quarterback can help when things are coming apart. The reward for gold performance is a Derrick Thomas card.
Offensive Audibles – No matter how terrific of a play you think you called, there’s a great chance the defense is lined up well to stop it. Changing the play at the line – especially when you stay in the same set – can help you turn a potential loss into a first down. The reward for gold performance is a Dick Vermeil card.
Defensive Audibles – Just as important as on offense, defensive audibles will get you out of (or into) trouble quickly. If you’re all-in on a running play but see a slot receiver covered by a linebacker, for example, move into a zone to cover yourself a little better. But be careful! Sometimes sticking with what you’ve called is the right choice. The reward for gold performance is a Tom Landry card.