Grassroots Coaching

10 ways to improve your strikers hold up play

We examine why and how strikers like Diego Costa are so brilliant at coming short to receive the ball and set up play for supporting players. This will help you understand why this skill is so important and how you can coach your strikers to become better at this skill.

Against defences that sit deep, who are organised and compact, it is important that strikers have the ability to come short to receive the ball. This forces the defence to come out, to defend around the ball and creates space elsewhere for other players to exploit.

For example, Diego Costa will come short to receive the ball. Someone from the opposition defence will have to come with them to prevent them turning. The other defenders will have to narrow and cover. This creates space elsewhere, in Chelsea’s case, for Pedro and Hazard. For this to happen, Costa will need good support behind the ball and Hazard and Pedro will be looking to pull away from the ball and the defenders into space to look to receive the next pass from the supporting player.


1 feet support play to space


10 coaching tips to improve  your strikers hold up play

  1. Movement to the ball to receive short – pre movement away to create space. Timing of movement. Come down the line of the ball
  2. Get between the ball and the defender – don’t allow the defender to easily nip in front
  3. Be still and composed as the ball comes in
  4. Head up – awareness of where the support players are and where the opposition are
  5. Decision on control and protect the ball or pass first time
  6. Empathy in the pass for the receiving player – set back for a first time pass, or firm pass to get past opposition players
  7. Good angle and distance of support and communication from supporting player
  8. More than one supporting option – behind and to the side of the ball
  9. Players off the ball looking to find space away from the ball to receive the next pass
  10. After the layoff, striker spins to get in the box for the next pass or cross
Posted in
Attacking Become Better Players Coaching Tips