EXPERT SESSIONS AND ADVICE FROM QUALIFIED AND EXPERIENCED GRASSROOTS SOCCER COACHES

Heading at goal

Heading is an important part of any attacker’s armoury. If you can improve the technique of heading at goal by getting players used to attacking balls delivered to them in the air, your team will score more goals.

What this session is about

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

What to think about

Players looking to head the ball at goal must:

  • Move into the ball’s line of flight.
  • Take off on one foot and land on both.
  • Use their arms for take-off.
  • Keep their eyes on the ball.
  • At the highest point of the jump, use the flat part of the forehead to head the top half of ball downwards.
  • Know strong neck muscles and an arched back equals power.

Set-up

Warm upSessionDevelopmentsGame SituationWarm Down
7-10 minutes20-25 minutes15-20 minutes15-20 minutes7-10 minutes

What you get your players to do

Use a goal for this session. Create two lines of players – one, serving, just outside a goal post, the other, attacking, five to 10 yards away from goal, as shown in the top picture.

The first player in the serving line throws a ball up for the first player in the attacking line. The attacker heads the ball into the goal, collects it and joins the back of the serving line while the server joins the back of the attacker’s line.

To progress, attackers line up 10 to 15 yards from the goal. You, or an assistant, stand where the attackers lined up previously (five to 10 yards from goal). Servers now throw the ball to you. You, or the assistant, turn and throw the ball up for an approaching attacker to head at goal. After releasing the ball, the server moves towards the goal – he now plays as a goalkeeper to save the header.

Servers throw a ball up for attackers to score with a header.

Servers throw a ball up for attackers to score with a header.


Development

Mark out several four-yard square areas and create four cone goals, as shown in the middle picture. Play 2v2 and use one ball.

One player stands on each side, and opposite an opponent. Moving clockwise, players serve the ball to themselves and try to head in either of the opponent’s goals. After a set time, players go anticlockwise.

To progress, the drill is repeated but this time a team mate serves the ball and any goals scored in the corners (outside their opponents’ main cone goal) count treble.

A team mate serves a ball up for his partner to head at either opponent’s goal. He scores treble points for scoring at the corner.

A team mate serves a ball up for his partner to head at either opponent’s goal. He scores treble points for scoring at the corner.


Game situation

Play a small-sided game of Throw, Head, Catch with a goal at each end of an area, as shown in the bottom picture.

Both teams have a keeper and attempt to score using attacking headers but can only move the ball by using the following sequence. The first player throws the ball to a second team mate who heads it to a third team mate who catches the ball.

However, if an opportunity arises that a player can attack the goal with a header during the sequence, he can attack it.

Once the sequence begins, the other team can win the ball back by “out-heading” its opponents, or intercepting the ball with their hands during the catching phase. The team that scores most goals wins.

In a small-sided game, the ball is moved upfield using a Throw, Head, Catch method. Attackers can only score with headers.

In a small-sided game, the ball is moved upfield using a Throw, Head, Catch method. Attackers can only score with headers.


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