Where are the Football Striker Coaches

The Two most important positions on the football pitch for me are Strikers, they score the goals that win the game and Goalkeepers, they save the goals that wins the game. So why is it that there are Goalkeeper Coaches and Academies but not Striker Coaches and Academies?

Specialist Football (Soccer) Coaching is not new. I had my first Goalkeeper Coach back in the Early 90's and since then that position has led to permanent, Specialist, Goalkeeper Coaches and formation of Goalkeeper Academies around the world. But like I have just mentioned what about the Strikers? Who is coaching & developing them? Yes of course the Head Coach and Assistants will touch on development of this position but why not isolate them, like goalkeepers, and try to make them better as Goals wins games and Top Strikers are worth their weight in gold for clubs.

This is a crude example and people will disagree with it,as there are lots of contributing factors,but here are some facts to look at to prove a point.

  • Goalkeepers have to be pretty perfect in games, otherwise a goal occurs and possible defeat.

  • Top Goalkeepers average around a 60% save conversion. That is saves made from shots on target.

  • Strikers on the other hand are not perfect they miss the target or have shots saved but can still win the game with one successful shot

  • Top Strikers have an average conversion rate of 20%. This is based on shots at goal to goals.

So that is a 40% difference in conversion rate? Why? It is down to lack of specialist striker coaching? For me it has to be a contributing but not sole factor.

How many clubs employ Specialist Striker Coaches? By my research none, but that is starting to change now and coaches are seeing they do need help in this department enter the Superior Striker Allan Russell. Clubs in the UK & Europe are now hiring him to coach their strikers, Newcastle United and England as two examples with a wave of strikers getting Private Coaching. This to me is a step in the right direction. I have heard back in 2004 that Portsmouth hired Luther Blissett to help Yakubu but I don't know of many others until now that have adopted that approach. Contact me if you have other examples or reasons why this hasn't happened. Now in NFL Offensive Coaches are one of the most important coaches and every club has them so in a few years time will we see Striker or Attacker Coaches alongside Goalkeeper Coaches and S&C Coaches? Hopefully so and Nine One Football wants to be at the forefront of this.

As a Head Coach ask yourself this could you be doing more to help and develop your strikers and could you isolate them and have a specialist coach make the team better? Now I'm sure clubs do shooting drills taken maybe by assistant coach but are they just drills or do they add in decision making, are they unpredictable and random and game realistic. Do you ask the strikers why they just did what they did and work with the goalkeeper ?

To me there are major similarities between Goalkeepers and Strikers.

  • Isolated during the game. Going periods without touching the ball.

  • Strong mental strength to recover from mistakes/misses

  • Have lightening reflexes

  • Have the ability to deceive or read each other's movements.

  • Know what they don't want the other to do.

  • Be selfish in certain circumstances

  • And lets be honest, not nice people on the pitch sometimes. See quotes on Nine One Football's Inside Mind by Michael Owen and Alan Hodgkinson here

This is why I have created Nine One Football and plan to really integrate Striker Coaching alongside that of Goalkeeper Coaching ! I have been developing and learning this concept over the past two years at my National Premier League Club in Australia Box Hill United. I'm a goalkeeper coach and usually get 30-40 minutes per session to train my goalkeepers.

"Now as much as Goalkeepers think and try to be strikers. We are not!"

So as much as we try to replicate game situations it doesnt unless strikers are in place. So I started incorporating half the session with strikers and both the No.1's and No.9 loved it. I started to educate the strikers on what the goalkeeper is thinking and will do in certain scenarios and asked the strikers what they where thinking and would do in the same circumstance to give the goalkeeper an insight them.

So I started to learn more and put together my 'Striker Manual to go alongside the Goalkeeper Manual which has now led to the Nine One Football Coaching Method which I''m launching this October with the 1st Nine One Football Camp I have also hired the NPL's Leading Scorer for the past 2 season Brandon Barnes to be the specialist Striker Coach to develop this even more. Not only will Goalkeepers train with and against Strikers but we will also take them Inside Mind of both to educate the player. I'm really excited by this prospect and taking Specialist Coaching to another level.

If you are a Goalkeeper Coach currently and like this concept and want to get involved or you are a striker and want to start coaching from anywhere in the world then contact me for a chat as we have affiliate programmes that we will be launching shortly that you can be involved with.

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