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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HOW TO PLAY SOCCER


WARM UP SOCCER DRILLS


soccer shooting/attacking drills

  • Soccer Shooting Drills will help players develop their kicks on the soccer ball. There are different kinds of shooting techniques in soccer. Knowing the right way to kick the ball is crucial to firm and precise shooting.
  • Soccer Shooting Tips to learn the proper shooting technique and positive habits for shooting the soccer ball.
  • Fun Soccer Drills using games with attacking drills through crossing, or shooting.

soccer passing drills

  • Soccer Passing Drills are focused on repetitive passing of the ball, while the player uses the right technique in locking his/her ankle, and making firm contact on the ball.
  • Soccer Passing Tips and Technique for passing the soccer ball with pace and accuracy.
  • Four Squares passing soccer drill.
  • Possession Game for improving passing soccer skills.
  • Back Pedal for lots of passes and movement.
  • Small Sided Games to apply in training and help with young soccer players development passing, quick thinking, dribbling, creativity and decision making.
  • Soccer Practice Drills to help players learn how to move the soccer ball wide, and attack from crosses, and wide areas of the field.
  • Soccer Passing and Receiving Drills to help players get more comfortable on the soccer ball. Players will learn to receive the ball, and move after the pass is complete. 

soccer ball control drills

  • Ball Control Soccer Drills to help players get more familiar with the surface of the ball.
  • Soccer Training Drills to improve players ball control skills. Getting familiar with the soccer ball takes time, consistency and effort.
  • U10 Soccer Training Drills to improve ball handling skills, agility, coordination, and speed.
  • Soccer Drills for Beginner soccer players U8 and U6. These soccer drills can also be adapted to older kids by changing the pace, and adding few skills.
  • Small Sided Games to teach youth soccer players how to play soccer through the game being the Coach. Players will fall in love with the game from simply playing soccer.
  • This Soccer Drill is many kids favorite soccer training drill in practice. The game is the Coach, while players enjoy competitive side of soccer in smaller spaces.
  • First Touch Soccer Drills to help young players work on their passing, receiving, and moving. Smart players, with great ball control, will use their first touch to get out of tight situations, and surrounding defenders.

SOCCER FITNESS, SPEED AND AGILITY

  • Agility Ladder Drills, also called Speed Ladder Drills, are very important for soccer players to develop agility, and speed.
  • Soccer Agility Drills are used to improve players balance, footwork, and coordination. Change of direction is frequent throughout the game, so being agile, and able to quickly change direction is really important.
  • Soccer Conditioning Drills will build up the players endurance for the WHOLE game. Players usually frown on these soccer drills, as they push them to exhaustion point; but prepare them for the game. Fit player is twice as valuable for any team in a match.
  • Speed Training Drills will push players to build up their explosive speed, tight cornering, and the ability to speed up, and slow down their pace. These drills will build up the players endurance, and shorten the recovery after sprints.