Heading the ball is another skill that plays an important part in a player's game. There are many ways to head the ball; the greatest percentage is performed in the air against the challenge of an opponent.
Goals can be scored by accurate power heading or a deflection with the head.
Defenders can sometimes prevent goals being scored by heading high and long out of the danger zone.
Passing the ball using the head is also common practice in soccer. However, remember to practice the correct methods.
Diagram 1: Use only the forehead for heading, the point just above the eyebrows, even if the ball needs to be directed backwards. It is essential to keep the eyes on the ball, and it helps to develop the careful timing necessary on the approach into the header. Strong neck muscles give more power.
Diagram 2: The elementary principles of the art of heading can be learned with a regular balloon, indoors. With one foot in front of the other for balance, head it to and fro with your sister or brother. Progress to a slightly deflated soccer ball. Then on to a regular soccer ball. Basic practice can be done by yourself, then in twos, then in threes (in triangular position). This will introduce heading the ball in a different direction. To do this, make contact with the ball on the forehead, but just off the center.
Once the fundamentals of heading have been learned, practices should be initiated where the player heading the ball must jump into the air to meet the ball. Later, passive and then active opponents can be introduced into the practice.
Certain games can be conditioned towards heading (conditioned -- emphasizing one point).
Some players are quite expert at heading the ball on goal. Pele is unique. He jumps early and seems to hang in the air for a split second waiting for the ball. Then he strikes the ball forcefully. Small-sided game Two Teams
Diagram 3: Procedure of game: throw-move-head-catch (no offsides). (That is, "A'' throws ball from position 1 to "B." "A" runs forward into receiving position 2. "B" heads balls into hands of "a" at position 2.)
Progress is made into scoring position. Goals can be scored using only the head. There is no traveling with the ball and the ball must be headed after a throw, even by an opponent. Players cannot feed themselves.