Footy Tip: Why Exceptional Strikers Live Offsides
"Hanging out offsides does NOT mean being passive. In fact, the opposite is true."
Strikers come in all shapes and sizes but the best strikers in the world have a knack for outsmarting defenders trying to stop them. This is a position where the adage, "Size matters" doesn't apply and why you see some of the best strikers in the world being diminutive in size. Some strikers are "hold-up" players, comfortable with their backs to goal and link play while others are creative and dynamic who look to get in behind the defense. No matter which one you may be, there is a vast area that is being completely under-utilized in the youth to pro ranks.
The best strikers in the worlds get comfortable living offsides.
Center backs, the striker's worst enemy, are typically big, physical, powerful players who often intimidate and frustrate goal scorers. The best center backs know how to bully and dishearten even the most prolific strikers in the world. Think of David and Goliath. David (the small, striker in this case) has to outwit the brute Goliath (center backs) in order to succeed and that is only done by being witty and quick. Like David, great strikers hide behind defenders and constantly move to gain a tactical advantage. Intelligent strikers know if they get into a 1v1 battle of strength, they will frequently lose.
Footy Tip: Take the power away from center backs and hang out behind them (offsides) while the play develops. This will force the center back to constantly look backward and disengage from the play in front of them. If they don't look back to see where you are, you are at a massive advantage to quickly jump onside and check in for a ball before they know where you are.
I often see young strikers get crushed by center backs when checking back to the ball and that is simply because they hang out in front of the barbarian all game and wonder why they are getting kicked, tackled and bullied. Note: This is not a knock on the complexity of the center back role but this is one of their main jobs--frustrate strikers. Instead, take the game into your own hands and think of yourself as a sly fox navigating a hostile environment. The more you check into spaces off the back shoulders of defenders, the less time they have to react and the less time they have to crush you.
Hanging out offsides does NOT mean being passive. In fact, the opposite is true. By using this space, you now gain control over the center back and his/her thoughts and actions. You no longer make it easy to just defend what is in front of them and now they have to be aware of 360 degrees instead of 180. Use your quickness and timing to make their job difficult and you will no longer wonder why the backs of your legs are battered and bruised from a 90-minute match.