Soccer Heading Technique

This soccer heading article will teach you the proper way to position your body and best way to protect your head from any serious head injury when attempting to head the soccer ball.

During any soccer match there will be many different situations where players will find themselves in a position to head the soccer ball as the only option of play.

Players will also use their head to pass the soccer ball.

Learning and developing the positive habit in practice to use the correct soccer heading technique will develop any player into a confident and dangerous player in ball heading situations.

Heading the soccer ball can also be dangerous at times with the most common injury being clash of heads.

Learning through practice to use the correct soccer heading technique and properly positioning your body will ensure that the player heading the ball is also protecting himself when going into any duel against another player to head the soccer ball.

Height can play big advantage in soccer heading, however learning the proper technique is what makes players dangerous in heading the soccer ball, short or tall.

Timing the run and jumping to head the ball comes with time and practice.

Soccer Heading Technique

  • Know your surroundings when jumping up in the air to head the soccer ball.

When going up in the air or diving for the ball, the most important thing is to know where the other players are.

You don't want to be sandwiched in between two opposing players that you didn’t see coming, causing you to get hurt.

Once you see the ball coming into an area for a header, anticipate where the opposing players are and what they are about to do.

This can make a huge difference in who wins the ball and even gets hurt in an aerial duel for the ball.

Positioning your body can make a huge difference, but you have to know where the opposing players are coming from in order to properly position your body for protection and best advantage in winning the header.

  • Arms play a big role in every part of the soccer game, including soccer heading.

For headers, jumping up with your arms and elbows raised will guard the space around you and also protect you from harsh aerial challenges.

Aerial challenges can lead to some serious soccer injuries, so learn to always protect yourself using your arms.

Putting your arms up the first few times you go up in the air for a header will also show the opposing players that its dangerous to go up against you since your elbows are protecting you and hurting any player that dares to go hard in the air against you.

Jumping with your elbows up will also give you more hang time allowing you more time to clear or redirect the ball towards the goal.

Now don’t get me wrong, jumping in the air and pushing someone off with your hand or arm will be a foul against you but simply putting your arms up for protection will do just that, PROTECT you.

  • Keep your mouth closed and teeth clenched when going to head the soccer ball.

You want to keep your mouth closed and teeth clenched so you don’t end up biting your tongue off accidentally :)

Don't wait for the ball to get to you, instead charge towards it and make sure that you are the one that makes contact with the soccer ball and not the other way around :)

Most importantly learn to judge where the ball is going to come down so you can charge at it and jump up in the air to head the ball at the right time.

Timing is very important for soccer heading and gets better with practice.

  • Keep your neck and back straight while using your abs to put power and direction into the header.

Your head should be in line with the upper body.

Keeping your neck and back straight will also make you taller and stronger when you go in the air against other players.

Abs or core area is where the power and direction come from.

Soccer players have very strong core so when heading the soccer ball it is important to get the power out of your core area (abs) by pulling your whole upper body and head back and then snapping it forward to make contact with the ball.

The neck will not bend but should stay in line with the upper body; small adjustments are made as you head the ball.

  • Keep your eyes open and hit the ball with your forehead.

Biggest problem with learning to head the soccer ball is the fear of getting hit in the face.

Because of this fear, players will usually misjudge the height of the ball and find themselves getting under it.

This causes us to make contact with the lower part of the ball using the top part of our head (also hurting ourselves in the process) instead of attacking the ball and hitting it with our forehead (also the strongest part of our head).

Reality is that we as human beings are not meant to be hitting things with our head; it’s only natural that we want to duck down and cover :)

It is hard to keep your eyes open when there is a projectile coming at you.

Reading Pele’s biography I read that he used a simple exercise to lose the fear of getting hit in the face with the soccer ball when attempting to head it.

When he was a young player, Pele developed his heading skills by first gripping the soccer ball with his hands and he would then slowly bring the ball to his forehead and back.

He kept his eyes open and focused on the correct technique making sure that as he brought the ball back to his forehead, the contact with the ball was made strictly using the forehead (right above the bridge of the nose).

After he got comfortable with this beginner exercise on where to strike the ball, he started putting more speed on bringing the ball to his forehead while still holding the ball with his hands.

He then started throwing the soccer ball back to his forehead and making a small impact with the soccer ball to get it back into his hands.

He still used the same correct technique, this time keeping his eyes open and adding the impact on the ball from his core (abs) area.

The point of this exercise is to learn where and how to hit the soccer ball while keeping your eyes open and on the ball.

One of the greatest soccer players that ever lived learned his heading technique by starting with this exercise.

  • Forehead is between your hairline and nose bridge. It is also the hardest part of your head.

Learning to use this part of your head when heading the soccer ball will ensure that you make the right contact with the ball greatly improving power and accuracy of your header.

Squaring your shoulders towards where you want the ball to go as you snap your upper torso forward to make impact with the ball is one way to control where the header goes.

Another good control technique is by looking in the direction you want the ball to go with your eyes as you head the ball.

Our brain works in mysterious ways and I have noticed that by looking at your target when heading the ball, whole body will follow, shoulders included.

Soccer heading is developed with practice and repetition.

Players should always use the right technique to turn it into a habit so that they are able to act on good instinct when heading the soccer ball during the game.


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