One of the most challenging roles in soccer is that of the striker. Strikers have to perform in a very condensed part of the field where space and time are miniscule. I am often puzzled when I see players lining up in a line and running to the top of the box shooting the ball at the goal. The fact of the matter is that strikers are, frequently, facing the wrong way when they receive the ball, often with a defender or two right behind them and very little space to operate in. Training strikers in lines does not, really, replicate what they have to do in the real game.
When training strikers coaches should try and replicate the environment strikers encounter in and around the opponents penalty box. There are many fine striker exercises which best simulate the environment strikers operate in and I have added one from my book, “Developing The Elite American Soccer Player.”
3 versus 3 in penalty box
In this exercise the 3 red forwards play against 3 blue defenders. There is a red and blue feeder outside the “D” who feed the balls in to their respective team mates. There are a red and blue wide player on either side of the penalty box who the feeders can pass it to, as can any of the attackers in the penalty box. The wide players then cross the ball into the penalty box.
Neither the central feeders or the wide players try and oppose each other and stay, essentially, in their own positions. The red feeder plays the ball in to one of the red forwards who can shoot, pass to a team mate, combine with a team mate and shoot or play the ball wide for a winger to cross the ball. If the reds score they keep on attacking and another ball is passed in by the feeder. If the defenders win the ball and pass it back to the feeders, clear the or if the reds shoot the ball wide or high they switch and the defenders become the attackers. Play for 2-3 , minutes and keep score of the game.
This is a much more realistic way of coaching strikers and the players get lots of shots off using skills strikers use in a game.
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Admiral Technical Advisor
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