Becoming A Dominant Striker: Learn From The Professionals
Prolific scorers come in every shape and size on the soccer pitch but one thing is certain: for teams with serious aspirations, a dominant striker isn't an option, it's a necessity. Strikers often trade games of frustration for glimpses of glory, continuously exhibiting a special blend of techniques and specialties as they search to culminate their team's efforts into physical goals.
The perfect striker can vary depending on a squad's formation and style of play, but many of them possess traits from this list. CoachUp has put together a quick compilation of our favorite types of strikers and each trait is accompanied by a video in order to give a small taste of all the eclectic tastes available. Of all the types here -- who will you be?
Inch-Perfect Decision Maker
See: Sergio Aguero, Alexis Sanchez, Robert Lewandowski
Strikers can spend entire chunks of the game without the ball at their feet. The best ones are focused and ready the second their opportunity comes. Do they know where to shoot? When to shoot? Where to shoot? Power or finesse? Inside, outside, or laces? These are all questions that the best strikers must answer in a split second. Whether or not they're right often decides entire games.
See: Diego Costa, Lionel Messi, Cristiano Ronaldo
Does the player have the ability to threaten from outside of the 18-yard box? If so, he or she will be far more dangerous around the goal. Defenses must respect the striker that can score from anywhere on the field. Additionally, it will also open up space and opportunity for your teammates.
See: Gareth Bale, Raheem Sterling, Angel Di Maria
Having a pacy striker that can outrace defenders for balls and crosses can be lethal. No matter where the ball is, the coach can feel confident that this striker will get to it and make the most of it.
Masterful Ball Control
See: Zlatan Ibrahimovic, Olivier Giroud, Robin Van Persie
Does your team often need your striker to hold up play and keep defenders at bay? Instead of running wild, does your striker need to be able to bring down clearances and 50/50 balls with ease? Many teams allow their defenders to clear the ball out and hope their striker can keep possession while the rest of the team catches up. Some teams model their entire formation on this ideal, so it often becomes a crucial trait for a striker.
See: Paul Pogba, Luis Suarez, Wayne Rooney
This player can make something out of nothing, miracles out of afterthoughts, and believers out of anybody. When a finisher has the ball in the offensive third, you hold your breath and just wait for euphoria. He or she squeezes through small spaces, out-dribbles defenders, and clinically slots balls out of reach from the keeper. Pressure doesn't get to the player -- calm, cool, and collected, they make the most out of every opportunity.
See: Thierry Henry, Landon Donovan, Miroslav Klose
This player might not be the strongest or fastest on the pitch, but he or she will constantly amaze with their intelligence and timing. They have an uncanny ability to show up in the right place at the right time. These athletes time their runs into space at the perfect moment and capitalize on mistakes. Sometimes it's easy to get caught up with running in a straight line at full speed, but the best strikers will disappear into a sea of jerseys only to reappear like a perfect magic trick every time.
See: Andy Carroll, Peter Crouch, Edinson Cavani
These players live to be airborne and live and die with their foreheads. Often taller players, they reach into free real estate and demand attention on set pieces and corners. Additionally, they're all crucial players for defending goal kicks and set pieces as well.
(Related: Read about choosing a position here.)
Every prolific scorer has mastered a few of these skills and it shows each and every week. If you want to be a legendary striker, CoachUp suggests you start here. The true beauty of striking lies in its ability to be so many things, so inherently different all with the same endgame of goals. You can head the ball in, strike from beyond the box, or meticulously time your runs, all with the same effect. It's just up to you to decide -- who will you be?
If you're having trouble with certain skills or techniques -- maybe it's long shots or heading on net -- consider booking one of CoachUp's private trainers to help you out. Our team has loads of experience and knowledge that they can put towards expanding your game. Having a fluid, flexible striking ability can move you from the bench to the Starting XI in no time -- what are you waiting for?