Remember that Lionel Messi header against Manchester United? Not only is Lionel Messi from Barca barely 5’7’’, but he scored that header while being marked by two defenders, both of whom were way over 6 feet tall. In this blog, we will discuss various soccer header techniques and how to head the ball in soccer.
Headers are not only beautiful to witness, they also represent a major part of the soccer game. The above mentioned goal is the perfect example to show that height doesn’t matter in soccer headers, as one major misconception has it. When it comes to headers the only important thing is technique. So let’s learn some soccer header techniques.
Basics of soccer header techniques:
The basics are always the things you should focus when first learning new techniques. The basics to head soccer balls consist of two simple things:
1. Follow the football
Keep your eyes open and at the football at all times. It is important that you see where the ball is so you can be at the right place at the right time and take the shot.
2. You hit the football
The biggest mistake you can make when heading the ball, is letting the ball hit you, instead of you hitting the ball. Move your head and hit the ball dead center. Otherwise you can’t control the trajectory of the ball once it bounces off of your head. If you don’t hit the ball in the center, you won’t be precise.
Soccer header techniques for strikers:
The best thing to know about strikes when trying to head the ball inside the goal, is that proper soccer header techniques come from the movement of your entire body. The obvious part is pulling your head back then jamming it forward and pushing the ball.
The other part is your upper body. I like to think of it as holding a picture frame and smashing it on your head… As one does…
Follow your head with your body, push your chest back and bend your back, while holding your hands and arms forward, just like you would hold a picture frame. Then move everything in the opposite direction; push your head, chest and back forward, while you send your arms back. This will help you generate power and make the shot deadlier.
Another thing to keep in mind is that no matter how good your header technique is, the keeper can catch it. Try to head the ball in a direction that is furthest from the keepers position.
Soccer header techniques apply for defenders and midfielders too. Not only do they score a lot of times with headers, but they also need soccer header techniques, because well, they are soccer players after all.
As a defender you will find yourself having to pass the ball, most of the time to the keeper. This can be achieved by pouring less power into the header. Precision is also very important. That can be achieved by hitting the ball properly.
Think of it this way, if you hit the ball with your head in a particular place, it will be kind of the same as hitting it with your foot. If you are already familiar with how to kick the ball in whichever direction you want, this will allow you to better grasp how your shot will affect the movements of the ball.
Also as a defender, unless you are heading the ball away from the danger zone. Always use as little power as possible. Things can go south in a heartbeat, and one mistake can cost you the game.
Practice your soccer header techniques to see where you are making mistakes. Then of course try and fix them. As in everything else, all you need is patience and discipline to make perfect headers.