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How to head the ball

One of the most common obstacles with heading the ball is overcoming your natural fear of getting hit on the head by a flying object. Remember that you are trying to strike the ball so don’t just let it hit you.
Before jumping for a header, take a few small steps to adjust to the ball. It’s difficult to produce a good header when you are not well aligned with the ball. The power of a header does not come from your neck. You have to arch your body back and lunge forward to strike the ball.
The ball should be struck with the top part of the forehead. Young players tend to close their eyes when heading the ball. By doing so, you can’t see where the ball is and you may injure yourself or somebody else. Lock your eyes on the part of the ball that you want to strike and keep them open until contact.

Techniques for heading the ball

Standard header

To head the ball with a good amount of power you’ll need to arch your body back and swing your head forward. Keep your shoulders leveled and perpendicular to your aim. Contact should be made with the center of the forehead. Aligning yourself with the ball before you jump is critical.

Diving header

With this technique, you propel your entire body in the path of the ball. Your arms should be stretched forward for protection on landing. The diving header can be used by defenders to clear the ball and occasionally on the attack.

Glancing header

When executing the glancing header, you turn your head and shoulders in direction of your aim. This motion redirects the oncoming ball. The glancing header is used for directing crosses in the goal.

Flick header

On flick headers, you are actually making contact with the back of your head. This technique is often used by midfielders who have their back towards the opponent’s goal.

Updated: June 3, 2016
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