EXPERT SESSIONS AND ADVICE FROM QUALIFIED AND EXPERIENCED GRASSROOTS SOCCER COACHES

Headers and volleys

When the ball is off the ground, it is necessary for your players to have the technique to be able to strike the ball for a shot at goal. Headers and volleys will give your players those skills and the final session makes for a great game.

What this session is about

  • Developing technique for scoring when the ball is not on the ground.
  • Learning the importance of attacking headers.
  • Using side volleys to shoot at goal.

What to think about

When heading the ball, use a one-footed take off. At the high point of the jump, head the top half of ball to direct it downwards.

To complete successful side volleys take up the correct angle – sideways on.

Swing the kicking leg almost parallel with ground, across the body with the knee ahead of the ball. Use the “laces” to make contact with the ball above horizontal midline and rotate the body around the non-kicking leg.

Set-up

Use three players per group for the first session, four players in the development stage and up to 12 in the small-sided game.

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

What you get your players to do

Each player stands at the point of a triangle, about five yards apart from the other two. Player A serves to B, B heads to C, C catches. C then begins the serve-head-catch sequence by throwing to A.

Repeat, but this time practise side volleys. Reverse the direction so players can practise volleying with both feet and inexperienced players can allow the ball to bounce.

Player A throws the ball up for B to head to C. C then throws to A to head and so on. Repeat but volley rather head next time round.

Player A throws the ball up for B to head to C. C then throws to A to head and so on. Repeat but volley rather head next time round.


Development

Play 2v2 in an area 10 yards square. A player from each team stands at the opposite end lines in “goal”, while the other players, acting as servers, stand at the half way point on opposite sides.

The server from one team throws the ball so their team mate can either head or volley the ball goalwards, before he crosses the half way line.

The player defending the end line is allowed to stop the ball but isn’t allowed to use their hands.

One point is awarded for headers/volleys on target while a second point is given for balls that cross the line.

One player serves to his team mate who heads or volleys at the opposition “goal”.

One player serves to his team mate who heads or volleys at the opposition “goal”.


Game situation

Play five-a-side in an area 30 yards long by 20 yards wide with a goal at each end. There are no designated keepers but each player can use their hands to prevent goals.

Players move the ball by throwing it to each other and each player must take no more than four steps before releasing the ball. The opposition can win the ball by intercepting thrown passes or when the team in possession drops the ball.

Goals can only be scored by players volleying or heading the ball. Award two points for a goal and one point for an effort on target.

Teams throw the ball to each other until they either lose the ball or try to score with a header or volley.

Teams throw the ball to each other until they either lose the ball or try to score with a header or volley.


What to call out

  • “Concentrate on technique – don’t try to hit the ball too hard”
  • “Ideally aim for the corners of the goal, across the goalkeeper”
  • “Watch the ball all the way on to your head/foot”
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