I Want to be a Soccer Striker!
Of course you do! Every child does growing up. After all, strikers get all the glory. They score the goals that win games, they're usually the most popular player on our favorite teams, and they generally earn the most money as professionals. Who wouldn't want this?
Unfortunately, the position can be difficult. There is a reason why great strikers are so highly sought after.
What Does It Take to be an Effective Striker?
Some say that a great soccer striker is born, not made. To an extent, this is correct, as there is a certain amount of natural talent that goes into playing the position effectively. Great strikers tend to see the game differently and have a unique awareness that separates them from the rest. While there are many ways of playing the position, some traits every soccer striker have are:
- Excellent speed to lose your marker
- Good touch to maintain possession and beat defenders
- Strong physically to take the abuse dished out by defenders
- Creative enough to come up with new strategies and try new things in different situations
- Confidence to continue shooting, from anywhere, at anytime, even when things get tough
All that said, with the proper training and practice anyone can learn to play as an effective striker.
Strikers and Wingers
In the attacking third of the field we usually have forwards that can be split up as strikers and wingers.
Strikers typically remain in the middle of the pitch and make attempts at goal. Their main concern is to score goals, and they will trying and get into a scoring position at all times. Generally, setting plays up are not as important to strikers.
Wingers generally stay wide of the main striker and run at defenders, cutting into the middle of the pitch to attempt to score. Other times they will run wide of the markers and serve the ball to the waiting striker with a well placed cross. Good wingers also chase balls down and will help the midfield out with marking when necessary.
Different Styles for Different Players
Some strikers are very tall and play as a target man for their team. Target men are used to receive long passes from their defence and midfield, and hold the ball up long enough for the rest of their team to move up-field. These players are also quite strong in the air and present a threat on corner kicks and other set plays.
Others strikers, particularly wingers, can be shorter. These players maintain a lower center of gravity and excellent balance, which makes their touches on the ball mesmerizing. They'll tend to dribble in and out of traffic and attempt to make plays off their own foot.
Quick Striking Tips
Some things to keep in mind:
- A good soccer striker will tend to play in groups of two or three so don't forget about your teammates keep your space from them and move together as a unit with the other forwards to support each other
- Do NOT crowd each other on the field...your just making it easier for the defence to mark you. Remember staying apart spreads out defences and creates space.
- Receive a long ball that left you stranded amongst the defenders? Don't panic, shield the ball, and wait for your teammates to arrive. Worst case scenario is that you'll draw a foul.
- Choose your spots! The game is long. Don't challenge every single time the defender has the ball. Be smart about it or you will wear yourself out.
- Keep your head up and look around you for options prior to receiving passes...you should have you mind made up about what you want to do by the time the ball reaches your foot.
- Don't see a way forward? Don't force it. Look for the pass back, and retain possession. Possession wins games in soccer.
- You've probably heard there's no such thing as a bad shot but truthfully, there can be. Look for other options rather than taking a crack on net with a low scoring chance.
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