EXPERT SESSIONS AND ADVICE FOR GRASSROOTS SOCCER COACHES

Get your head down

One of the fundamental principles of the attacking header is to head the ball downwards. This gives a player a better chance of scoring a goal because the bounce often prevents a goalkeeper from making a save.

What this session is about

  1. Scoring goals.
  2. Accurate and powerful heading.

What to think about

Players must:

  • Move into the line of flight of the ball.
  • Take off on one foot and land on both.
  • Use their arms for elevation.
  • Keep their eyes on the ball.
  • At the high point of their jump, head the top half of the ball to direct it downwards.
  • Remember that strong neck muscles and an arched back equals power.
  • Aim for the corners of the goal.

Set-up

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

What you get your players to do

Mark out a three-yard square and place one player on each side of the square facing away from the centre. Each of these players has a partner facing them five yards away.

With one ball between two, the players take it in turns to serve the ball to themselves and, with both feet planted but leading with one foot, head the ball to their partner so that it bounces once before their partner catches it.

The partner then repeats. On the next go, both players lead with the other foot, and so on.

To progress, each player serves the ball to his partner.

To progress further, the player on the edge of the box heads the ball back to the server, then runs into the box to his right to receive and head with the next server.

After a 30 seconds, rotate in the opposite direction before inner and outer players switch roles.

The final progression involves a higher serve so the inner players have to jump to head the ball downwards, as shown in the top picture.

Players receive a serve, return it by heading the ball downwards, then run to the next server.

Players receive a serve, return it by heading the ball downwards, then run to the next server.


Development

Using a penalty area, position a server on each side of the goal and put a keeper in goal, as shown in the middle picture.

The rest of your squad waits outside the 18-yard box.

Taking it in turns, they run towards the goal while one of the servers, who serve alternately, throws a ball up for the player to head towards the goal from the edge of the six-yard box.

Servers (S) take turns to throw a ball to attackers who run in and try to header down and past the keeper.

Servers (S) take turns to throw a ball to attackers who run in and try to header down and past the keeper.


Game situation

Play a small-sided game on a small, wide pitch. Use three outfield players and a keeper on each team, as shown in the bottom picture.

The wide pitch will means more attacks on goals.

Play normal rules and encourage lots of heading downwards when attacking. Goals scored from headers count triple.

In a small-sided game on a short, wide pitch, headed goals count triple.

In a small-sided game on a short, wide pitch, headed goals count triple.


What to call out

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