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The Striker: Alone in Their own World

Thierry Henry: "A Fox in the Box"

The photo you see is one of my favorite photos that I have taken. Lately, I have been looking back through the many pictures I have taken and picked out some of my favorites. I like to take photos that captures more than just what you see.

This one of Thierry Henry may look like nothing special or exciting but I see it as a simple calming photo of Thierry Henry doing what he does best. The photo was taken at BMO field in Toronto. It was the first time I watched him play live. He was playing for the New York Red Bulls against Toronto FC. I needed to capture a photo where he’s alone in the shot because when you watch him play, he almost appears to play alone drifting in and out of sight.

A fan that may not know the game of soccer very well may think that a player like Henry is lazy. To the casual fan it may appear that he is not running very much and may appear not to even break a sweat. But what they don’t see is that he is an out-and-out striker. He does not have to run around chasing the ball like a holder. He does not have to run needlessly around the field without purpose. This is nothing that a world class striker does not already know.

The true striker appears to float at times, but when it’s time to strike and put in the work, he’s there. It’s about working smarter not harder. And when the ball gets in the box, they must be super alert and “in the zone”. In Thierry Henry’s words, "you must be a fox in the box.”

In the latest issue of the Soccer Journal, published by United Soccer Coaches, an excellent article written by Dr Jay Martin echoed my sentiments of when I first watched Henry play live. You saw him do things that the camera would not catch if you were watching him play on TV. The simple things that I point out in my book, The Last 9 Seconds- The Secrets to Scoring Goals on the Last Touch. (METROSPORT-The Soccer Store has the book on Sale.)

Dr Martin explains in his article called THE SUBTLETIES OF THE GAME, “on a beautiful sunny day in Columbus, the fans showed up to watch Henry. He didn’t disappoint scoring twice, but it wasn’t about winning or losing but about how Henry played. It was a thing of beauty. It was efficient and effective.”

Dr Martin went on to explain, “the way he plays and what he does shows that he understands the subtleties of the game. Something that American players don’t understand. American coaches talk about ‘using the mind,’ ‘train the brain’ and ‘think while you play’. But the players either don’t do it or the coaches don’t know how to teach it.”

In the article Dr. Jay Martin goes on to talk about Henry’s warm-up routine, technique, running off the ball, how he changes pace, and how he works smart. To read this excellent article in the Soccer Journal, become a member of United Soccer Coaches.

From Chapter 11 of my book, I talk about how goal scoring is an individual sport from a psychological point of view. If strikers do not score in a game, they get pressure from the media and the fans. If they score, they get all the attention. But in the end, most are different, often alone in their own world, which is what the picture tries to capture.

Thanks for reading,

John DeBenedictis

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