So you want to be a lethal striker on the pitch?
One thing you should know as an aspiring forward is that you’ll be the game-changer. A game is determined by the number of goals scored by any of the teams. For that, you need to do your best and score as many goals as you can. That is exactly what Luis Suarez and Sergio Aguero do.
Well, it isn’t an easy task to be a striker because the pressure is on you. The midfielders and defenders will look for you during a counterattack or whenever you are attacking the opponent team. There’s a lot that you need to learn for you to be a good forward. That said, here are 10 tips for forwards (strikers);
1. Work on your shooting/finishing skills
When on the pitch, you have one important role; to shoot the ball into the back of the net. Therefore, you must be accurate with your shots. The shot must be accurate whether from a close or a distance range. You should also learn how to shoot the ball while running or under pressure. This means that your finishing skills must be impeccable. Soccer Handbook posted a good article on how to have a good kick on the pitch.
2. Be creative with your scores
Your teammates expect you to score goals, and it doesn’t mean that you should only score by shooting. Rather, you should score by any means necessary/acceptable. You might have to score a rebound or even tap the ball into the net with your heel/chest. Do everything possible to put your team in front.
3. Improve your first touch
Since you’ll be marked tightly by the defenders, you need to work on your ability to receive a pass with precision. The first touch must be perfect under pressure, whether you are in the air or on the ground. Ensure that you receive the pass and turn without losing the ball to the opponents.
4. Be ready to switch with your fellow forwards
This is just a trick to confuse the opposing defense. When you switch with your fellow forward, the defenders will go after one forward and leave the other open. This way, you’ll have a better chance of going for the kill.
5. Stay close to your fellow forward
Ideally, forwards should stay close during an attack. Sticking together lets you execute a tiki-taka, an overplay, or any crafty play. In this case, you will always be there to offer support to your teammate and make a run when you are attacking the other team.
6. Be conscious of the goalkeeper’s position
The only way to score a goal is to get it past the goalkeeper. If you don’t want the goalkeeper to block your attempt, you should be conscious of his position at all times. This way, you will know the most vulnerable area of the goal.
7. Think fast and wisely
This is an important factor, especially when under pressure from the other team’s defenders or in a one-on-one situation with the keeper. You must have good self-control when in front of the goal and be sure to make a wise decision. Maybe you could lob the ball, pass it through the keeper’s legs, take a hard shot, or pass it to the open forward.
8. Move past defenders using your arms
First off, you should work on your dribbling skills, which helps to get past a defender. After you dribble past the defenders, you should use your arms to push them back. This technique helps to delay the defender and prevent them from dispossessing you. Just don’t be too rough, lest you get booked. Do you want to learn how to dribble accurately? Check out this amazing post by Complete Soccer Guide.
9. Pressure the defenders/Goalkeeper
You should never allow the defenders to pass the ball in the back. Instead, put high pressure on their defense. Do the same when the defender gives a back pass to the goalkeeper. Doing this will force the defenders to clear the ball instead of making a good pass.
10. Switch your runs
In most cases, less-experienced strikers will make the same run at the goal. In this case, the defenders will master you move and you can easily fall into their offside trap. Instead, you can alternate your runs constantly. This way, the defenders will not know your next move.
Above all, you should be physically strong and have a good pace. Don’t forget to work on your aerial duels. Didier Drogba is one of the best strikers of all time, and he had a good heading ability.
Soccer Training Methods offers some useful information on how to be a good striker. Also, consider watching how the best forwards play for you to learn a thing or two.