back to soccer skills

Section 4

Part 2 - Headers Explained


Coach: "The most important thing to remember about heading is not to fear the ball. If you fear it then you may close your eyes and the ball could smack you in the face. Keeping your eyes open the whole time is the best way to make sure the header is painless and that it goes where you want it to."
(Start the scene focused on the coach, then flip to a scene of someone or a bunch of someones getting smacked in the face with the ball.)

Coach: "Let me be absolutely clear here, the face is not the best place to head the ball with. Neither is the top of your head. The place to head the ball is right where your hair meets your forehead, also known as your hairline. If you don't have any hair, or your hairline is in full retreat then I'm afraid you'll just have to guess. Looking at old photos or building a time machine may be your best hopes."
(Start the scene with the focus on the coach. Be sure to zoom in on the hairline area while the coach points to the correct place).

Coach: "Your hairline is the toughest part of your skull. If you push with your fingers against your head you will be able to find the exact best spot. That spot will be where you can push back hardest against your fingers with your head."
(only do a quick demo of the pushing. Whole scene will be done with a closer shot of the coach).

Coach: "Ok now you know where to head the ball without it hurting. You may still have some fears to get over. Here's what you can do to help that. Coaches you can start by just dropping the ball on the heads of the players. Make sure you hit the right spot of course. Once they get more comfortable, drop the ball from a higher distance. Once they're ok with that try having them jump into the ball a bit. Hopefully that will get them well on their way to header confidence. If you're a player and don't have a coach handy then take turns with a friend or try tossing the ball to yourself."
(start the scene looking at the coach and then show demos while the coach is still speaking. Continue for a short while after the coach is done talking. Be sure to show younger players starting to enjoy heading the ball).

Coach: "Hopefully you're now all over your fear of heading the ball. Let's go over the actual process now. Obviously you don't just fling your head at the ball - so what do you do? First, make sure your eyes are open the whole time. You need them to make sure everything goes well. As the ball comes towards you, keep your eyes focused on the exact bottom of the ball. Since your eyes are lower than your forehead, aiming your eyes at the bottom of the ball with result in the ball hitting you right on the forehead."
(show the coach the whole scene. Have them holding a ball and bringing it slowly towards them. Have them show that when the ball hits the forehead the eyes are looking at the bottom of the ball).

Coach: "Don't let the ball just hit you. If it just hits you then the ball could strain your neck, or your back, or knock you over. Obviously those are worst case scenarios but let's not start any bad habits. When the ball comes, put your body into the motion and tense up all your neck muscles. With all the momentum of your body and your neck secure, the ball will react as though it just struck a brick wall. Best of all you'll barely feel a thing."
(Start the scene looking at the coach. After the first sentence show someone trying to do a header get knocked over by a soccer ball. The more painful it looks the better. Come back to the coach so that they can demonstrate the process of doing a header).