EXPERT SESSIONS AND ADVICE FOR GRASSROOTS SOCCER COACHES

Attacking Headers

Ultimately, soccer is all about scoring goals and by improving your team’s attacking heading ability you will boost their chances of finding the back of the net more often.

What this session is about

  1. Scoring goals
  2. Accurate and powerful heading

What to think about

  • Move into ball’s line of flight.
  • Take off on one foot, land on both.
  • Use arms for elevation.
  • At the highest point of the jump, head the top half of the ball to direct it downwards.
  • Neck muscles and arched back equals power.
  • Aim for the corners of the goal.

Set-up

  • Use square grids with each side equivalent to the width of a goal.
  • 4 players per group.
  • At least two balls per group.
Warm upSessionDevelopmentsGame SituationWarm Down
10 minutes15 minutes10 minutes15 minutes10 minutes

What you get your players to do

  • Two players, acting as servers, stand at opposite sides.
  • A third player, a passive goalkeeper, stands on one of the other sides facing into the grid.
  • The servers take it in turns to throw a ball slightly ahead of the remaining player inside the grid, who heads towards goal.
  • Switch positions so everyone has a go at heading, serving and goalkeeping.
The server provides an accurate throw that the player heading the ball can attack.

The server provides an accurate throw that the player heading the ball can attack.


Development

  • Split the four players into two teams, with each player standing on a side of the square that’s adjacent to their team mate.
  • A player from team ‘A’ throws the ball slightly ahead of his teammate who runs forward and tries to head it past the opponent acting as a goalkeeper.
  • Repeat so all players have a turn each. The teams must alternate turns.
  • As the players become accustomed to the ball coming from one side, make teammates swap positions and vary the angle and height of service.
Vary the service and get your players used to the ball coming from either side.

Vary the service and get your players used to the ball coming from either side.


Game situation

Play a game of Throw, Head, Catch using normal-size goals. Both teams have a keeper. Both teams attempt to score using attacking headers but can only move the ball by using the following sequence: the first player throws the ball to a second teammate who heads it to a third teammate who catches the ball. Once thrown the other team can win the ball back by ‘out-heading’ their opponents, or intercepting the ball with their hands in the ‘catching’ phase.

The team in possession in this game situation can only move the ball in the sequence Throw, Head, Catch.

The team in possession in this game situation can only move the ball in the sequence Throw, Head, Catch.


What to call out

  • “Accurate service please”
  • “Get above the ball and attack it”
  • “Keep your eyes open”
  • “Accuracy first, power later”
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