Monday, 19 November 2012

How to Head the Ball in Soccer

Youth soccer leagues generally do not allow players to hit the soccer ball with their heads. Older players can use their heads to change the direction of the ball, make a pass and even shoot the ball to the goal. Hitting the ball effectively with your head will take many hours of practice, but be sure to keep practice times short to protect yourself from possible injury.

A. Learn the Types of Headers in Soccer

1. Use the directional header to control where the ball will go after it comes in contact with your head. To do this, you'll need to hit the soccer ball with the middle of your forehead or just at your hairline.

2. Learn the clearing header, which involves hitting the ball with your forehead as hard as possible to keep it away from defenders. While this method is great for getting out of a tight jam, it can result in the other team getting control of the ball.

3. Be moderate in your practice of headers to avoid potential head injuries.

B. Practice Heading the Ball in Soccer

Rochdale Town v Blackpool Town

  • Try balancing the soccer ball on your forehead without letting it drop to the ground.
  • Try to look at the ball as you balance it on your forehead to get used to the position the ball should be in when it hits your head.
  • Hold the ball in both hands and lift the ball about 6 inches above your forehead.
  • Bend your legs slightly before releasing the ball and push up as the soccer ball comes in contact with your head.
  • Keep your eye on the ball as it drops on to your forehead.
  • Bounce the soccer ball off your forehead and straight up in the air.
  • Move the ball farther from your head as you drop the ball from your hands onto your forehead.
  • Practice hitting the ball higher and higher each time you drop the ball onto your forehead.
  • Try bouncing the ball repeatedly on your forehead without catching it with your hands in between bounces.
  • Throw the ball into the air and try bouncing the ball with your forehead. Remember to look at the ball as it comes in contact with your head.
  • Ask a friend to help you practice once you've mastered hitting it after throwing it in the air yourself. Your friend can kick the ball in the air and let you try to hit it with your forehead. The ball will be coming from a different direction and at a new angle, which may provide you with more of a challenge.
Tips & Warnings
  • Start heading the soccer ball with the softest ball you can find or deflate your regular ball slightly so it does not hit your head hard. The more you head the ball, the more your head will get used to the pounding. Eventually, you can work up to a fully inflated, regulation ball.
  • Extensive heading the ball has been shown to cause some amount of brain damage in medical studies. Avoid using headers until you've reached at least U-10 level.

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