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Soccer Heading

Soccer Heading Technique

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

During any soccer match, there will be many different situations where players will find themselves heading the soccer ball as the only option of play.

Players will use heading to pass the soccer ball, clear the ball, or try to score goals in the attack.

Learning and developing positive habits using the correct soccer heading technique will develop any player into a confident and dangerous player in ball heading situations.

Heading the soccer ball can be dangerous if heads clash mid-air.

Learning how to use the correct soccer heading technique and adequately positioning your body will lower the chances of getting injured when going up to head the soccer ball against another player. 

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

Perfect timing and attacking 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 get caught jumping up between two opposing players that you didn't see coming.

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. Awareness can make a difference between getting hurt and winning an airball challenge. 

Positioning your body to protect yourself is easier when you know where the opposing players are.

  • Arms play a significant 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 severe soccer injuries, so learn always to protect yourself by using your arms. Putting your arms up 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.

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 merely 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 accidentally bite your tongue off. Please don't wait for the ball to get to you, instead, charge towards the ball and make sure that you are the one hitting 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 it and jump up in the air to head the ball at the right time.

Timing is crucial 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 make you taller and stronger when you go in the air against other players.

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

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

The biggest problem with learning how to head the soccer ball is the fear of getting hit in the face. Because of this fear, players will usually misjudge the flight of the ball and find themselves getting under it.

Getting under the ball leads to making contact with the lower part of the soccer ball instead of attacking it and hitting it in the upper part with our forehead (the strongest part of our head).

Human beings don't use heads to head things; 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 learned 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 the contact with the ball came 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 on the soccer ball to get it back into his hands.

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

This exercise aims to learn where and how to head the soccer ball while keeping your eyes open and on the ball.

One of the greatest soccer players learned how to head the soccer ball using this exercise. 

  • The 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, significantly improving your header's power and accuracy.

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

Another useful control technique is looking in the direction you want the ball to go 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, the whole body will follow, shoulders included.

Soccer heading develops with practice and repetition.

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

Soccer Heading Tips

  • 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 get caught jumping up between two opposing players that you didn't see coming.

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. Awareness can make a difference between getting hurt and winning an air-ball challenge. 

Positioning your body to protect yourself is easier when you know where the opposing players are.

  • Arms play a significant 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 severe soccer injuries, so learn always to protect yourself by using your arms. Putting your arms up 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.

Don't get me wrong; jumping in the air and elbowing someone will be a foul, but going up with the intent to protect yourself 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 accidentally bite your tongue off.

Please don't wait for the ball to get to you, instead, charge towards the ball and make sure that you are the one hitting 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 it and jump up in the air to head the ball at the right time.

Timing is crucial for soccer heading and gets better with lots of 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 make you taller and stronger when you go in the air against other players.

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

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

The biggest problem with learning how to head the soccer ball is the fear of getting hit in the face. Because of this fear, players will usually misjudge the flight of the ball and find themselves getting under it.

Getting under the ball leads to making contact with the lower part of the soccer ball instead of attacking it and hitting it in the upper part with our forehead (the strongest part of our head).

Human beings don't use heads to head things; 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 learned 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 the contact with the ball came 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 on the soccer ball to get it back into his hands.

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

This exercise aims to learn where and how to head the soccer ball while keeping your eyes open and on the ball.

One of the greatest soccer players learned how to head the soccer ball using this exercise. 

  • The forehead is between your hairline and bridge of the nose.

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

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

Another useful control technique is looking in the direction you want the ball to go 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, the whole body will follow, shoulders included.

Soccer heading develops with practice and repetition.

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

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