Is the Way We Coach Strikers Wrong?

Sergio Aguero is one the best strikers in the world, no question about that. I personally respect his abilities, but Aguero like many other explosive players, have deficiencies. If I had to guess, growing-up Sergio would beat players at will, using his power and pace, chasing balls over the top, pushing the ball by the defenders, seeing the game as pure striker. My point is that explosive players often tend to develop their skill-set around their main attribute, which is speed. But watch Aguero in tight areas when he has to rely on combination play to break down a team that sits, he struggles to come up with instant solutions on the ball in those tight spaces, that is his weakness. Maybe that is why he doesn’t flourish with Argentina, maybe that is why Manchester City’s more direct approach compared to Barcelona’s tactics, suit him much better. I believe the reason behind his weakness has to do with the way speedy strikers are developed in many of the academies. I would even guess that in pick-up games, kids with serious speed elect to play striker or winger. However, if fast players were forced to play without their speed, they would develop radically different skills, if they were forced to play multiple positions (especially center-mid), even in small-sided games, their skill sets would be different. Sergio Aguero is not the only fast dynamic striker that has deficiencies, players like Theo Wolcott, Aubameyang, Sterling and Sanchez have struggled in combination play in small-areas, while players like Messi (can play as a striker), David Villa and Suarez are great in possession in tight areas, coming up with a large range of solutions, and making lightning fast-decisions. For me this is all about training in diverse environments, constraint & restricted sense training!

As a coach, I am always looking at players, trying to see what their strengths and weaknesses are, analyzing everything I can, and then asking the question, can I help make them better? I believe no matter what level the player is, there is always a way to get better.

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