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    MiniCamp FAQ by ADeadSmitty

    Version: 1.1 | Updated: 08/28/03 | Search Guide | Bookmark Guide

                          Madden 2004 MiniCamp FAQ 1.1  8/28/03
                                   by ADeadSmitty
    1. DB - SWAT BALL
    The 2003 edition of Madden was the first to include MiniCamp, which is a series
    of remarkably fun football-practice minigames. Or side quests, for the RPG
    fan. Although the 2004 edition now allows you to use MiniCamp to improve
    your players' attributes, and to play MiniCamp games online and compare scores,
    the actual mechanics of the games themselves aren't much different. But there
    are a few differences, so this FAQ refers to the 2004 edition, as it's the most
    This FAQ goes through each MiniCamp drill and discusses some strategies for 
    each one. They're not in any particular order. 
    This FAQ should be good for any version of the game. I'm playing it on PC, but
    I'll refer to the PS2 controls for the sake of universal applicability, since
    PC controls vary widely.
    Go Dolphins.
    The author of this FAQ is me, ADeadSmitty. Please don't copy it, don't steal
    from it, don't plagiarize it, don't add to, subtract from, or edit it, don't 
    link to it, don't excerpt from it and don't host it without my permission. 
    This is my first FAQ, so I welcome not only additions and corrections, but 
    also general feedback on my FAQ-writing. So by all means email me at
    Reader contributions are all credited as they appear. Thanks to all who care
    enough about MiniCamp to send me email about it.
    8/28/03: Finished v. 1.1: Many stylistic and substantive revisions, as well
    as the inclusion of some reader contributions.
    8/24/03: Finished v. 1.00!
    1. DB - SWAT BALL
    A passing machine fires 20 balls at one of several stationary targets, 
    indicating the target just before the release. Your job is to knock down or
    preferably intercept as many as possible.
    Rookie: HOU CB #31 Aaron Glenn (3 targets)
    Pro: NYG CB #25 Will Allen (4 targets)
    All-Pro: WAS CB #24 Champ Bailey (5 targets)
    All-Madden: MIA CB #29 Sam Madison (5 targets)
    10 points for the first pass defensed in succession.
    20 points for the second pass defensed in succession.
    30 points for the third pass defensed in succession.
    40 points for the fourth and all subsequent passes defensed in succession.
    Double points for an interception.
                    Bronze      Silver     Gold
    Rookie:          300         600       900
    Pro:             300         575       800
    All-Pro:         300         525       725
    All-Madden:      300         500       600
    The ideal technique for this drill is: See the target of the next pass. Run
    towards said target holding the sprint button (circle). Make sure you get your
    weight moving in the direction of the target BEFORE you apply the sprint button
    because players change direction verrrrry slowly when sprinting. About two or
    three steps from the target, apply the strafe button (R1). This will slow you
    down but will also get you to face the ball. When the ball gets there,
    intercept it (triangle).
    The other good reason to strafe, besides increasing your chances for an INT, is
    that it keeps your momentum from carrying you far astray, which would make it
    hard to get to the next ball.
    But the above is just an ideal. In many cases, you won't have time to face up
    before the ball gets there -- you'll just need to all-out sprint the whole
    way. In this case, you'll have to make the decision on whether to try for the
    interception on a case-by-case basis. In general though, if you're running 
    toward the throwing machine, or straight across to one side, and you're going
    to get there at least at about the same time as the ball, go for the INT. But
    if you're running away from the camera to chase a ball thrown over your head,
    or if it looks like you might be a step late reaching the target, try to swat
    the ball down instead (L1). 
    For one thing, over-the-shoulder interception attempts are very low-percentage
    plays and usually result in shameful, dishonorable failure. Also, some of the
    ball-swatting moves can help you make up ground quickly at the last second
    as you lunge at the ball with one hand. The interception moves don't seem to
    give much of a sudden boost, as they did in Madden 2003. 
    1. Don't dive. It doesn't help and it takes way too long to get back up. 
    There once was a time in football video-game history when diving on defense
    was a good play. No longer. Don't do it. 
    2. The throwing machine randomly throws either a lob or a bullet. Of course,
    the lob is always the most helpful, particularly when throwing at distant
    targets where the difference in "hang time" is greatest. The lob should bias
    you toward going for the INT, the bullet toward the swat-down.
    3. You'll probably find, on the higher difficulty levels, that depending on
    the direction of your initial momentum and the pattern of the computer's 
    target choices, some balls are just plain impossible to get to. I agree.
    Take the handoff/pitch and use your fullback, blocking dummies, and God-given
    athletic ability to pick up as many yards and touchdowns as you can in one
    Rookie: CAR HB #48 Stephen Davis (2 defenders)
    Pro: CIN HB #28 Corey Dillon (3 defenders)
    All-Pro: STL HB #28 Marshall Faulk (3 defenders)
    All-Madden: KC HB #31 Priest Holmes (4 defenders)
    10 points per yard gained.
    10-point penalty per yard lost.
    100-point bonus for each touchdown.
    Online only: 100-point penalty for each fumble.
    Online only: 100-point bonus for each tackle broken.
                   Bronze     Silver     Gold
    Rookie:         800        1400      2200
    Pro:            750        1300      1900
    All-Pro:        700        1100      1500
    All-Madden:     600        900       1200
    Before each play, you'll be shown where the play is designed to go: in the
    center-guard gap, the guard-tackle gap, off-tackle, or around the outside. You
    don't need to follow the path exactly, but that's where your fullback is
    going, so you should probably at least follow him until he puts a hat on
    a defender for you.
    The fullback usually handles one defender at most, so the rest is up to you.
    You've got the full complement of Madden moves at your disposal -- stiff-arms,
    jukes, hurdles, spins, dives, and of course, pure speed. Don't sprint (X)
    until you're more or less facing the direction you want to go, or else you'll
    corner like an 18-wheel truck.
    The stiff-arm (L2/R2) is a high-percentage move that also gives a broken
    tackle bonus if successful. If you're about to use the stiff-arm with the
    arm that's holding the ball, hit it a little earlier to give yourself time
    to switch ball-carrying hands. Note that a successful stiff-arm will leave you
    going in the same direction for a few yards, so be careful not to stiff-arm
    your way out of bounds while moving laterally. Also, the stiff-arm only works
    against defenders that approach you from the side.
    The juke (L1/R1) works well and is preferable to the stiff-arm when a defender
    approaches from directly in front. I find that if you're moving right, juking
    left is more effective, and the same with the directions switched.
    The spin (circle) has a similar action to the juke in that it suddenly stops
    your lateral movement, allowing you to cut back, but it cuts into your
    momentum more than the juke.
    Don't rule out just sprinting into a defender though. You can and will break
    tackles with sheer brute force.
    1. Broken tackle bonuses are awarded only for situations in which you actually
    make contact with the defender but break free anyway. So the stiff-arm gives
    a bonus as does just plain bulldozing a guy; but not juking a guy out of his
    shoes or spinning around him.
    2. Dive for the end zone. This significantly increases the risk of fumbling
    but having to line up and take it in from the one-yard line is such a waste
    of precious time that it's worth it.
    3. In fact, don't worry about fumbling. It's true that getting hit while 
    sprinting increases your chance of fumbling, but you certainly won't get
    anywhere by just buttoning up and taking the hit.
    4. Hurdling (triangle) isn't too useful, since there aren't many players
    strewn around the field for you to jump over as there might be in a full-on
    5. Looking for your quarterback to swing around and throw a block when you 
    switch fields? Don't. He'll just stand there looking stupid while you get
    mauled even if he's in a position to throw a key block for you.
    6. I wrote above that you only get penalized for fumbling online. Actually,
    I believe (but I'm not positive) that you can't fumble at all in the offline
    MiniCamp. At least, I wasn't able to induce one in about an hour of trying.
    If someone knows about this, please email me.
    [Kevin Byrnes says: "To answer the only question in your faq, you CAN fumble 
    in the offline ground attack drill.  But it happens so infrequently, it's not 
    even worth considering." Thanks, Kevin."]
    7. Just as in a real game, the clock stops between plays if you score a TD or
    if you go out of bounds, but not if you get tackled in bounds.
    Advance down the field, defeating blocks to grab a series of flags as quickly
    as possible.
    Rookie: CLE DE #92 Courtney Brown (3 checkpoints: 1 OL each)
    Pro: TEN DE #90 Jevon Kearse (4 checkpoints: 1 OL, 1 OL, 2 OL, 1 OL)
    All-Pro: NO DE #93 Darren Howard (5 checkpoints: 2 OL, 1 OL, 2 OL+1 RB, 1 OL,
    2 OL)
    All-Madden: TB DE #97 Simeon Rice (6 check points: 1 OL, 3 OL, 1 OL+1RB,
    1 OL+1 RB, 3 OL, 1 OL)
                   Bronze      Silver      Gold
    Rookie:        13.00       9.25s       7.75s
    Pro:           18.50s      13.75s      10.75s
    All-Pro:       28.00s      23.25s      19.50s
    All-Madden:    45.00s      36.00s      29.75s
    You've got three moves at your disposal. The most basic (but most useful) is
    the shove. Just press the sprint button (circle) when you're locked in that
    arm tussle with an OL to try and knock him straight back. In the best-case
    scenario, this knocks the blocker flat on his back. Second-best, you gain a 
    little ground in the tussle. Worst-case, you get nothing. Use the shove when
    you're being held up just barely short of the flag, since the other moves 
    cause you to change direction, and even if the shove doesn't pancake the 
    other guy, it'll probably be enough to get you those last six inches.
    The shove also works really well when you build up a big head of steam and 
    just crash into a guy (so, for example, not on the first checkpoint), 
    because it gives a good chance of knocking the other guy flat. You should
    always sprint straight from one checkpoint to the next not only to save
    time, but to see if you can put one blocker out of the picture right away.
    You've also got a rip move (L1/R1) that throws blockers to the side. This is
    a good alternative to the spin because it keeps you facing more or less the
    same direction. But the spin (L2/R2) is pretty effective as a last resort.
    Just don't let yourself go way astray spinning.
    Many times you can actually run around the blockers to the flag, or at least
    to a spot close to the flag. This is worth exploring, particularly on 
    checkpoints in higher difficulty levels that have 3 blockers each.
    1. Don't go backwards. If you knock a guy down, but then in the course of
    battling the next guy you circle back and allow the first guy back in the 
    fight, you're not being efficient.
    2. Know your enemy. The shove is more likely to work against smaller guys,
    especially the RBs that show up in the higher levels. So shove the little
    guys, and maybe don't waste time with that against mammoth OTs.
    Pin the imaginary opponent deep by landing six punts in either corner of
    the field.
    Rookie: DET P #19 John Jett
    Pro: JAX P #2 Chris Hanson
    All-Pro: NYJ P #6 Dan Stryzinski
    All-Madden: ARI P #10 Scott Player
    50 points for landing in the yellow area.
    100 points for landing in the orange area.
    200 points for landing in the red area.
    Online only: Variable bonus for each area, increasing with proximity to the
    front pylon.
                   Bronze      Silver     Gold
    Rookie          250         650       900    
    Pro             250         600       800
    All-Pro         250         500       700
    All-Madden      250         375       500
    There's not much strategy here. Just kick the ball toward either corner.
    The less power you put into the kick, the more slowly the kick meter moves,
    which makes life easier for you. So kick with the wind, or to the short side
    of the field, to conserve power. Just don't kick against the wind to the 
    wide side.
    Kicking line drives reduces hang time, which reduces the effect of wind --
    a good thing. At high difficulty, you're far away, the scoring zones are 
    tiny, the wind is fierce, the meter moves very fast, and the slightest
    misstep on the last button press (X by the way) will send your ball 
    careening way off to the side.
    1. This drill doesn't quite simulate punting because it marks your ball where
    it lands, regardless of what happens on the bounce. So if you land in the
    red but bounce into the end zone, you get a bull's eye, but if you land on the
    one-yard line outside the scoring zone and it takes a lucky sideways bounce 
    and it dies on the three, you get nothing. I guess it balances out, roughly.
    2. You might think a cheap way to achieve a weird sort of consistent accuracy
    would be to skip the third button press (X) every time and let the meter go
    all the way to the right. You'd be wrong. If you let it go all the way to the
    right without pressing anything, it puts a hook or slice of random direction
    and magnitude on your ball, not a severe, consistent leftward swerve. This also
    applies to the kicking drill.
    Stop the offense's running game.
    Rookie: PIT LB #55 Joey Porter (no fullback)
    Pro: SD LB #57 Zeke Moreno (no fullback)
    All-Pro: CHI LB #54 Brian Urlacher (with fullback)
    All-Madden: BAL LB #52 Ray Lewis (with fullback)
    10 points for each yard short of the end zone the running back is tackled, if
    the computer-controlled player makes the tackle.
    20 points for each yard short of the end zone the running back is tackled, if
    the user-controlled player makes the tackle.
    100-point bonus for forcing a fumble.
    250-point penalty for allowing a touchdown.
                 Bronze     Silver     Gold
    Rookie        800        1475      2000
    Pro          1000        1725      2250 
    All-Pro       650        1100      1500
    All-Madden    650        1100      1500
    You'll want to stay in control of the linebacker, since he's the one who'll
    stick his nose in first. Use proper football technique -- strafe (R1) sideways,
    scraping off possible running gaps as you go until you identify the runner's
    path. If you meet the fullback, you can use the same spin, rip, or shove
    moves available in the DL drill, but you better hurry, because it won't be long
    before the RB zooms right past you.
    The computer's favorite move is to run laterally, then cut back with a spin
    or juke. It behooves you not to overpursue when sprinting sideways. Taking the
    right angle against outside runs does take some practice, though.
    Your fellow computer-controlled defenders are pretty good tacklers also, so if
    the RB's only got one guy left to beat, you might consider letting the computer
    handle it and forgoing the user tackle bonus.
    There's also a technique for this drill which borders on cheating. You can
    take your linebacker straight through the center-guard gap right after the
    snap, which will help you very often avoid the fullback entirely and meet the 
    halfback just as he takes the handoff. In fact, if you're quick you can rack 
    up fumble bonuses by disrupting the exchange. The downside to this strategy
    is that by shooting through the gap, the linebacker takes himself out of the
    play if it happens to be a toss. You then have to handle the situation with
    a safety alone. So it's not necessarily a game-busting trick, but something
    you might want to experiment with.
    [Kenneth Young says: "With my experience with Chase and Tackle(nine seasons so
    far and getting 7 ratings points almost every year), it is most beneficial to
    wait for the fullback to hit the line of scrimmage while you drift to the path
    of the ball carrier before engaging and getting the tackle outside of the 10."
    Thanks, Kenneth.]
    1. You can get cheap user tackle bonuses by taking control of your computer-
    controlled teammate just before he makes contact with the ball carrier. 
    2. Strip the ball (L2/R2). Fumbles give bonus points.
    3. Although Rookie and Pro levels are tons easier without the fullback, you do
    face two pretty good running backs: Jerome Bettis and LaDainian Tomlinson.
    Hang in the pocket as you avoid the tennis balls being shot at you and throw to
    the designated target.
    Rookie: GB QB #4 Brett Favre (3 targets)
    Pro: PHI QB #5 Donovan McNabb (4 targets)
    All-Pro: OAK QB #12 Rich Gannon (5 targets)
    All-Madden: IND QB #19 Peyton Manning (5 targets)
    25 points for the first target hit in succession.
    50 points for the second target hit in succession.
    75 points for the third target hit in succession.
    100 points for the fourth and all subsequent targets hit in succession.
    10-point penalty for throwing to the wrong target.
    10-point penalty for throwing to any target when none is indicated.
    25-point penalty for being hit by a tennis ball.
    Variable penalty for leaving the pocket.
                   Bronze     Silver     Gold
    Rookie:         900        1200      1400
    Pro:            800        1100      1325
    All-Pro:        600        850       1100
    All-Madden:     450        675       950
    The trick to this is to develop your peripheral vision; you'll need to either
    focus on the tennis balls coming at you and pick up the receivers peripherally
    or vice versa. I find it easier to focus on the receivers since each of them
    for me on PC is just a button number -- they're too fuzzy if I focus on the 
    tennis balls. But you may find it easier and more effective to focus on the 
    tennis balls if, for example, you're playing on PS2 where the symbols for each
    receiver have colors associated with them.
    You don't need to be an absolutist about staying in the pocket. Once you get
    the warning for having left the pocket, you've got about one second until it
    deducts 25 points from your score. If you stay outside the pocket, you'll get
    assessed 25-point deductions at a quickening pace until, on the fifth
    deduction, you automatically fail. Note that if you get five deductions and
    fail this way, you DO NOT get credit for your score, even if it's above the
    threshold for one of the trophies. So you don't want to get caught hanging 
    outside the pocket for too long. But that doesn't mean you can't or shouldn't
    take a step or two outside when it's convenient. 
    You don't need to juke the tennis balls as they come at you. Just one good
    step out of the path of the ball should be enough. Keep in mind you need
    time to actually throw the ball once you press the button.
    1. In the 2003 edition, you had a small amount of time to spend outside of the
    pocket before failure struck, just as in this year's edition. But the 2003
    edition did not deduct points for time spent out of the pocket short of total
    failure, and if the player threw any pass from outside the pocket at any time,
    the drill ended in shameful failure.
    2. Note that accuracy doesn't matter. All you have to do is get the pass off
    to the targeted receiver -- you're not responsible if it's way off the mark.
    This means you should feel free to throw while on the run or off your back 
    foot -- and on the higher difficulty levels you'll probably have to do so.
    You've got one minute to kick as many field goals as close to the center of the
    field goal posts as possible.
    Rookie: DAL K #3 Bill Cundiff
    Pro: ATL K #4 Jay Feely
    All-Pro: DEN K #1 Jason Elam
    All-Madden: NE K #4 Adam Vinatieri
    75 points for hitting the yellow area.
    150 points for hitting the orange area.
    300 points for hitting the red area.
    Online only: Bonuses awarded for each area, increasing with proximity to the
                  Bronze    Silver    Gold
    Rookie:        900       1500     2200
    Pro:           900       1500     2200
    All-Pro:       900       1500     2100
    All-Madden:    900       1500     2100
    You'll either be on the left hash, the right hash, or smack in the center. But
    regardless of where you're set up, the direction arrow will always be facing 
    straight ahead. So if you're right in the middle you can just go ahead and boot
    it without any changes in direction, barring gale-force winds. But if you're on
    the hash mark, you'll probably have to make some adjustments. 
    The wind direction and strength takes a frustrating second or two to appear
    once the drill starts. But once it appears, it doesn't change during the drill,
    so don't waste time checking it once you've seen it. 
    Try kicking line drives. Kickers in real games avoid it because it makes kicks
    easier to block, but you don't need to worry about that in this drill. As in
    the punting drill, a line drive has less time to be affected by the wind. Plus,
    in this drill, it has the added benefit of getting through the goalposts
    faster, which might save you enough time for an extra kick or two at the end.
    1. To get that last kick in, you need to hit the third button press (X) before
    the timer hits 0.00 to get it off. If you do, you'll get it in even if your 
    foot doesn't actually hit the ball until after time runs out.
    2. You might think a cheap way to achieve a weird sort of consistent accuracy
    would be to skip the third button press (X) every time and let the meter go
    all the way to the right. You'd be wrong. If you let it go all the way to the
    right without pressing anything, it puts a hook or slice of random direction
    and magnitude on your ball, not a severe, consistent leftward swerve. This also
    applies to the punting drill.
    Time your passes so they fly through the rings on the way to the receivers.
    Rookie: SEA QB #8 Matt Hasselbeck (3 receivers)
    Pro: MIN QB #11 Daunte Culpepper (3 receivers)
    All-Pro: BUF QB #11 Drew Bledsoe (4 receivers)
    All-Madden: SF QB #5 Jeff Garcia (5 receivers)
    25 points for throwing the ball through a bronze-colored ring.
    50 points for throwing the ball through a silver-colored ring.
    75 points for throwing the ball through a gold-colored ring.
    20-point bonus if the receiver catches the ball.
    Variable bonus for user control of a reception.
    Variable "turn bonus" if all rings are completed in less than six attempts.
                  Bronze    Silver     Gold
    Rookie:        500       750       1000
    Pro:           500       750       1000
    All-Pro:       500       750       1000
    All-Madden:    500       750       1000
    The timing of the release is the most important component of this drill; the
    velocity of the pass is the second-most important. On the comeback routes,
    throw a bullet just as the receiver is decelerating to a stop to then turn
    around. On the out routes, make sure the receiver is actually moving
    to the side before you throw a bullet. On the slant and cross routes, you'll
    want to throw it maybe two or three steps before the receiver crosses the line
    determined by the quarterback and the ring. 
    The flag and the go routes are the toughest. These are the routes that most
    strongly suggest lobbing the ball, but even here you might find a bullet pass
    a little easier to control. 
    [Kenneth Young says: "A little tip for Precision Passing:  The corner route ran
    by the slot receiver is easily completed if you throw a bullet right after you 
    visually see them head directly toward the ring. They should catch the ball 
    about two yards after the ball passes through the ring." Thanks, Kenneth.]
    1. Some of the rings, particularly on some of the shorter comeback routes, 
    seem way off the mark to me. You may find that it helps to move your
    quarterback around the backfield to create more favorable passing angles.
    2. If you come under intense pressure, throw the ball away (triangle).

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