EXPERT SESSIONS AND ADVICE FROM QUALIFIED AND EXPERIENCED GRASSROOTS SOCCER COACHES

Fearless heading

Many young players have a fear about heading the ball but using this session will help build their confidence and take away any anxiety.

What this session is about

  1. Learning basic heading techniques.
  2. Heading safely.

What to think about

  • Make sure balls are not over-inflated.
  • Move into the ball’s line of flight.
  • Keep the eyes on the ball.
  • Make sure the flat part the forehead makes contact with the bottom half and middle of ball.
  • For distance, arch the back and use the neck muscles. If jumping, players should take off on one foot using the arms for a boost on take-off. Land on both feet.
  • For young players, try using sponge balls to start. Be prepared to shorten the session if necessary, or spread the session, development and game across a number of weeks.

Set-up

Use an area 15 to 20 yards square for the game. Balls will be needed for the first session, development and game.

Warm upSessionDevelopmentsGame SituationWarm Down
10 minutes10-15 minutes10-15 minutes10-15 minutes10 minutes

What you get your players to do

Each player throws the ball up into the air, heads it upwards and then catches it. Make sure players repeat this until they are confident.

To progress, players pair up with one ball between them. One player serves the ball to the second player, who heads it straight back. After five serves, players switch roles. Make the distances players head the ball suitable for their age.

Begin the session by building confidence with simple headers.

Begin the session by building confidence with simple headers.


Development

Use three players and one ball per group. A server, standing between two players, throws the ball accurately to player 1. Player 1 heads the ball over the server’s head to player 2. Player 2 controls the ball with either foot, head or chest and passes it to the server to repeat the practice.

Rotate players so everyone has a go at heading, serving and controlling the ball.

To progress, the server throws the ball over the head of a static defender for player 1 to head it back. Again, rotate players.

A server throws the ball to a player who heads it over the server to another player. The third player controls the ball.

A server throws the ball to a player who heads it over the server to another player. The third player controls the ball.


Game situation

Play a 3v3 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 team mate who heads it to the third player who catches it, then starts the next sequence.

The other team can intercept the ball in the “catching” phase to begin their sequence. A team is awarded a point for completing the sequence without the ball touching the ground.

In a 3v3 game of “throw, head, catch”, a team earns a point for completing the sequence while the other tries to steal the ball.

In a 3v3 game of “throw, head, catch”, a team earns a point for completing the sequence while the other tries to steal the ball.


What to call out

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