EXPERT SESSIONS AND ADVICE FOR GRASSROOTS SOCCER COACHES

Cushioned headers

Whether cushioning the ball back into the arms of your team’s goalkeeper or teeing-up a volley at goal for a team-mate, it pays to master controlling the ball with the head.

What this session is about

  1. Making it easy for a team-mate to perform a skill by controlling the ball for them.
  2. Improving touch.

What to think about

  • Make contact with the ball in the centre of forehead, just below the hairline.
  • Keep head pointed upwards when heading the ball.
  • Use body as a shock absorber to cushion the ball – bend knees and arch your back on impact.

Set-up

2 players approx 2-3m apart.

Warm upSessionDevelopmentsGame SituationWarm Down
10 minutes15 minutes10 minutes15 minutes10 minutes

What you get your players to do

Player “A” self-serves the ball and heads it so Player “B” can catch it. Player “B” repeats.
To progress, Player “A”, throws the ball up so Player “B” can head it back into “A”s arms.

Start by self-serving to gauge the weight and direction needed on a cushioned header.

Start by self-serving to gauge the weight and direction needed on a cushioned header.


Development

This time Player ‘A’ self-serves the ball and heads it to Player ‘B’ who heads it straight back into ‘A’s hands (serve-head-head-catch).
Now get the players to do as many headers back and forth as possible.

Head directly from another header to practice compensating for the pace of the incoming ball.

Head directly from another header to practice compensating for the pace of the incoming ball.


Game situation

Two teams play a game of Throw, Head, Catch.

For a team to win a point they must complete the following sequence: one player throws the ball to a second team-mate who heads it to a third team mate.

A team is awarded a point if the opposition doesn’t intercept the ball (using their hands to avoid head clashes) to begin their own sequence and the ball doesn’t hit the ground.

Finish with a game of Throw, Head, Catch.

Finish with a game of Throw, Head, Catch.


What to call out

  • “Watch it onto your forehead.”
  • “Stay relaxed”
  • “Try and beat your previous best score”
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