Top strikers are often endowed with so many qualities and skills that improve their scoring ability. From masterful dribbles to sharp reflexes and fine ball control, an effective striker contributes to the overall success of the team, so much so that a great striker should be a mandatory member of any soccer team, at least for the reason that they finish all the hard work their team has done getting them into a scoring position.
Indeed some parameters such as the formation of the team and game pattern serve as the determinant of the status of a striker; if he is above or below average. The list of qualities in this article is necessary for the optimized performance of any striker that wishes to take their game to the next level. Coachable has also given you examples of the players that exhibit each of these skills. Well your reading this ask yourself the questions:
- How competent am in these qualities as football player today?
- What can I improve on?
- What is my determination, my “will?”
- What is my plan?
- Is there a soccer coach that could help me with this plan?
- Can I accept the possibility of not accomplishing what I want?
Consider: Sergio Aguero, Alexis Sanchez, Robert Lewandowski
Large portions of the game can gone on without the ball reaching a striker, but that should never dampen his concentration and rapid response time as soon as the ball lands at his feet. A striker must be fast to scan through his options, the formation of his opponents, the threats surrounding him and then keep their composure and the awareness & vision to make the right decision with military precision. Where the expertise comes in is the ability of the striker to do all these in a fraction of a second.
Consider: Diego Costa, Lionel Messi, Cristiano Ronaldo
What should go through the minds of the defenders when you approach their goal as a striker? Pandemonium! There is enormous threat that comes with a striker that has the ability to accurately finish from outside the 18 yard box. Such striker’s end up creating chaos within the opponents’ defense which offers a considerable amount of opportunities for his teammates. The penalty box poacher is slowly dying, and players like Radamel Falcao are a dying breed: The Colombian sets himself apart from the rest with the ability to finish from outside the box as well as inside, but those Javier Hernandez-esque outlets are rarely used at top clubs. A powerful strike is a trait forwards have always needed, but it’s become even more important to the traditional No. 9’s so they have a chance of staying alive in the game.
Consider: Gareth Bale, Theo Walcott, Angel Di Maria
Soccer involves ensuring possession of the ball is kept the majority of the time. Having a striker that can outrun defenders and run wide into the channels combined with the ability to cross the ball from varying angles and positions is essential. Besides blowing past defenders, it allows for making positive forward runs through the channels in advance of the ball. It allows for strikers to track back and split defenders to get behind the ball. Great pace is a quality that gives the team a level of assurance, especially when the player has the vision for attacking opportunities.
Dominance of the Ball
Consider: Zlatan Ibrahimovic, Andres Iniesta, Robin Van Persie
Some teams have a pattern of play that involves the striker having to control clearances from defenders, fifty/fifty balls and goal kicks. How effective is the striker in bringing balls to the ground with their feet, knees, chest or head and still being in absolute control of it? If you are a quality striker you will be marked tightly. Strikers need the ability to receive passes (in the air and on the ground) under pressure without giving up the ball. They have to weight passes correctly and generally being comfortable when in possession of a football. How effective are they at trapping balls with the ability to turn away in one touch from defenders to create opportunities? Forwards need to act quickly to set up goals. By the time they’ve taken three touches the opportunity to score is gone. The extent to which the striker has such qualities goes a long way to determine the outcomes of the games they play, and as such makes ball control an essential quality for strikers.
Consider: Paul Pogba, Luis Suarez, Wayne Rooney
Let’s not get it twisted: You can be technically excellent, a dribbling sensation, have great speed and strength but if you cannot but the ball in the back of the net, you’re as good as useless as a forward. A striker should possess the ability to create something out of nothing and constantly thrill the fans with their finishing. From seemingly impossible positions, they still makes things happen, leaving everyone in awe. The better part is that they can demonstrate such feats in extra time, when there is enormous tension already built up in the game. The danger comes from their ability to take advantage of unexpected chances and come out on top.
Awareness & Vision
Consider: Thierry Henry, Landon Donovan, Miroslav Klose
A striker should have the ability to anticipate the turn of the game in a few seconds time and make moves towards capitalizing on the chances that are likely to open up. The calculative player makes use of his instincts and moves in a manner that might seem unreasonable at that moment, but they will eventually be in the right position at the perfect time to capitalize on an opportunity. They make intelligent runs off the ball to disrupt opponent’s defense and formation. As well as making intelligent runs to beat the off-side trap they also take players away to create space in behind or through a channel. The modern footballer must have an instinctual ability for marking, team tactics, making space and counter-attacking. Knowing when to make a pass and when to stay in possession is often what separates the good from the best.
Confidence in the Air
Consider: Andy Carroll, Peter Crouch, Edinson Cavani
Crosses and high balls are an advantage for certain strikers, especially the ones that are fortunate enough to be tall. They often come into light when a set piece is to be taken. Given their height, they often play defensive roles as well making them double effective. Positioning, height, strength, and speed all help you win headers, but you need great heading technique and precision to score consistently.
Train for Success
Great strikers exhibit a number of the skills and qualities in this list. To attain excellence in as a striker, Coachable recommends that you start with this list. The success of any striker is most pronounced when he has a combination of these qualities.
Are you having trouble or do you need to improve with certain skills or techniques? Consider booking one of Coachable’s private soccer coaches to help you out. With tons of expertise, our soccer coaches will be the link to where you are now, and where you want to be. What are you waiting for?
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