Heading - an Essential Skill

Heading is an essential skill to learn in soccer. It is crucial for defensive players to clear balls from the back, midfielders to win critical battles in the middle of the field, and attackers to nod a ball past the opposing keeper to score a goal.
Heading in Soccer, Defensive Header, Offensive Header, Essential Skill in Soccer

Chris Johnson 62,458 Views Rating 3.13 (23 Reviews)

Heading in Soccer, Defensive Header, Offensive Header, Essential Skill in Soccer

Heading is an essential skill to learn in soccer. It is crucial for defensive players to clear balls from the back, midfielders to win critical battles in the middle of the field, and attackers to nod a ball past the opposing keeper to score a goal.

Heading is an essential skill to learn in soccer. It is crucial for defensive players to clear balls from the back, midfielders to win critical battles in the middle of the field, and attackers to nod a ball past the opposing keeper to score a goal.

This is not as important of a skill for players under 8 years old since the ball rarely lifts off the ground, however, it has proven to be an important skill once the players reach 9 or 10 years old.

Technique for properly heading a ball:

  • Contact with the ball should be made on the forehead between the eyebrows and the hairline.
  • Ball must be struck and not bounce off the head
  • Players must use muscles in their back and stomach to approach the ball
  • Back slightly arched as ball approaches, slightly leaning forward after striking the ball
  • Neck must be stiff, younger players can be taught to tuck their chin towards their chest to stiffen the neck
  • Head moves toward the ball
  • Eyes must remain open and on the approaching ball
  • Timing is essential
  • For balance, knees must be slightly bent

The attacking header techniques are much different than the defensive header techniques. When defending, the purpose of headers is to clear the ball UP and AWAY from an opponent heading the ball from the defensive situation and clear the ball from opponents. Heading a ball high gives other defenders time to reorganize defensively; heading the ball far denies an immediate threat on goal as does heading the ball wide. However, when attacking, the focus is on heading the ball downward towards the goal line to score a goal. We want players to head the ball down towards the goal line because this is the most difficult spot for goalkeepers to defend.

Defensive Headers Techniques

To direct the ball upward players should get their forehead and eyes under the ball and more upward through the ball as soon as contact is made with the ball. Players should use their legs to push the up and through the ball. The emphasis on defensive headers is height, distance and width.

Attacking Headers Techniques

Offensive heading places an emphasis on accuracy finding the open area for a gosl. Attackers should be taught to get the forehead and eyes over the ball so attacker is able to drive ball downward.

Here are some exercises to work on heading the ball:

  1. Juggle the ball with the head only
  2. Header sit-ups. Player does sit-up as partner tosses a ball to them and heads ball back to server.
  3. Tossing a serve to a partner and heading the ball back to the server. Focus on defensive or offensive headers.
  4. Partners heading the ball back and forth to one another. Coaches can make it more complex by making players move in a particular direction.
  5. Tossing a high serve to a partner and making them jump and return the ball to the server. Add passive defensive pressure.
 


Soccer Tip Titled: Heading - an Essential Skill
Tagged: Heading in Soccer, Defensive Header, Offensive Header, Essential Skill in Soccer
Published by: Chris Johnson

Soccer Tips

American Dietetic Association Soccer Nutrition Guide & Tips

Soccer specific nutrition guide to help youth soccer players improve performance by eating the right things at the right time.
3.71 (24) 42,363 Views
Soccer Tips

Soccer Skills

Soccer skills are an important part of being successful in soccer. Soccer skills are simply the touch one has when passing, trapping, receiving, or shooting. These soccer skills can be improved though repetition and multiple touches on the ball.
3.53 (30) 62,269 Views
Soccer Tips

Thigh Traps: Coaching Points for Teaching Thigh Traps to Young Players

Want to know how to thigh trap a soccer ball. This step by step how to control a soccer ball withyour thigh is a great resource for teaching how to thigh trap.
3.27 (22) 38,065 Views
Soccer Tips

Chest Traps: Coaching Points For Teaching Chest Traps to Young Players

In order to keep possession in soccer it is critical that players master the art of maintaining possession. Since the chest is the largest surface of the body, it can easily be used to cushion the ball down to the players’ feet.
3.08 (36) 49,695 Views
Soccer Tips

How to Make Soccer Training Sessions More Competitive and Game Like

The effectiveness of a soccer training session is greatly hinged on the coaches intensity, execution, explanation, expectations, communication with the players, and time spend on an activity. However, the most important piece of making an effective soccer training session is to make it competitive and game like by paying attention to the details.
3.35 (17) 49,025 Views