In soccer, heading the ball is a skill that needs to be introduced to young players in the right way while they learn how to use the technique correctly.
Good heading ability will help you dominate both – defense and attack.
Heading has a wide range of uses. That includes: scoring goals, saving goals, clearing the ball, controlling the ball and passing the ball. Making decision to head a ball should be instant as a player must anticipate the header in order to time it properly. In training, this technique needs to be practiced until players are confident with heading the ball without fear.
To learn and practice heading technique there are key factors you must focus on:
- Read the flight of the ball, anticipate contact with the ball
- Keep eye on the ball – eyes opened and mouth closed
- Get in the path of flight of the ball
- Timing of the jump to hit the ball when the player is in the air at the highest point
- Lock neck and upper body tight
When you prepare training session for practicing heading technique, you must have in mind all types of headings because you don’t know when you will need them. Training sessions should start from simple and basic technique to gain player’s confidence. Graduate progress and dierent level of exercises should be used when players master the basic skill.
List of heading types you should practice:
- Basic technique – static header
- Side header
- Jump-one leg/both legs
- Diving header
- Flick header
- Defending-after challenge, clearing
- Attacking – heading down in front of goalkeeper, diagonal from wide angel
- Directing the ball
When heading technique becomes automatism, use directional header to control where the ball will go after it comes in contact with head. It will become powerful skill to be used in many situations. The result of the game can be decided with a single header. In this manual training exercises cover all types of headers and are prepared in the way that can be used as warm up before main part, or can be practiced as the main objective of the training session. Importance is on correct execution, encouraging confidence and braveness and variation when to be used.