How To Head The Ball
In most players, the art of ‘Heading’ in football is about the skill that is developed last or ends up becoming a weak point. This is understandable due to the fact that heading requires striking the ball with the head that contains the sensory and relatively fragile organs; eyes, nose, mouth ,ears etc
It is paramount to make players understand that they do not need to be afraid of the ball. They have to go to the ball when heading! The use of ‘softballs’ initially could help alleviate the fear in kids. Heading is a very important skill to perfect if you want to play at the top!
There are several types of heading but we will be concentrating on passing the ball with the head, Defensive heading and Offensive heading !
For all forms of heading there is one major+ techniques that have to be applied: Keep The Eyes Open And See The Ball At All Times.
The ball is the price object here and making contact with this round object requires some form of precision. Precision can only be achieved if you see the ball till the moment contact is made with it.
Timing Of The Contact With The Ball
Heading involves usually, ball in flight and in movement. Several factors come into play : the spin and flight of the ball, the opponent that is on our blind side etc, it is important that your movement of the head towards the ball is made in a way that and at a moment that it is synchronised with the flight of the ball and its path.
To improve ‘timing’ keep your eyes on the ball, move towards it and cut it off from its destined path: Attack The Ball!
Use Of The Legs
Though you are heading with the head, power does not come just from the head, it has to start from the legs upwards. A well ‘grounded’ posture that get’s you pushing downwards on the ground and using it as a springboard to attack the ball will give you power and precision, coupled and synchronized with the use of the neck, first backwards then forwards further improves power and precision
Point Of Contact With The Ball
For an attacking header, the ideal point of contact on the ball is from the centre point of the ball downwards and for a defensive header, the best point of contact is from the middle of the ball upwards.
Depending on what you want to do with the ball, that determines where you best make contact with it!
Use The Forehead
The heaviest human body part is the head, thanks to the skull The forehead is the strongest part of the head, use it for heading at all times if possible.
The erroneous belief is, people think to head to the side you need to use the side of the head etc of course it can be done and in certain cases is good for its cushion effect on the ball, but a turn of the neck to use the forehead and hit the ball sideways not only gives you full control and power but ensures you see the ball at all times fully, before, during and after contact.
The best player that combines all these principles when heading is the great and Legendary Edson Arantes Dos Nascimento, a.k.a “Pele”,
Keep practicing and remember: “keep your eyes on the ball”!