Teaching Proper Heading|
TEACHING THE PROPER WAY TO HEAD A BALL
AYSO does not recommend heading below the U10 division. Coaches are not encouraged to teach or practice heading at these early ages.
As the level of play advances and the participants skills increase, the proper heading techniques need to be introduced to prepare the player for proper execution. Proper techniques can first be learned through the use of rag, nerf, and inflatable balls, thus avoiding unnecessary, repetitive heading of a regulation soccer ball.
When a real soccer ball is used to simulate game conditions during practice, its use should be of limited duration and repetition. Players who demonstrate a fear of the ball should be shown appropriate ball control techniques that do not force them to head the ball before they are ready.
Heading represents a player's earliest opportunity to play an air ball. It also causes more apprehension than any other soccer skill, particularly with younger players. Therefore, the coach needs to be concerned with the apprehension and the poor technique which may result. A general rule of thumb to follow is to start teaching heading when a players show an interest, not when the coach thinks it should be taught.
Teach the skill of heading correctly. Remember to use a Nerf(r)-type ball, a rag ball, or an under inflated ball to start heading for the comfort and security of young players.
Click on the link below for heading drills.
Teach your players to prepare to head the ball using the following reminders:
- Keep your eye on the ball
- Place your body so that your forehead will meet the ball
- Take a comfortable stance with knees bent
- Keep your eyes open
- Keep your mouth closed
- Keep your chin tucked
- Keep your neck rigid
- Use your arms for balance
Teach your players how to contact the ball using the following techniques:
- Contact the ball with the forehead
- Your legs should propel your body from your waist to head the ball
- Your neck should be kept rigid
- Follow throug towards the target
- Once you head the ball, put your body back into a position where you can go to the next move
Never have an unwilling player head the ball. He or she will not head in a game, why force them to at practice? Also don't have children do headers over and over again.
To sum it all up,
- Introduce heading at an appropriate age level
- Teach the skill correctly
- Never force a player to head the ball
- Limit the amount of times a child heads the ball