Keeping control of the ball in soccer is a vital aspect of the game. When you have possession, you have the chance to make a play with your teammates.
One way to keep possession and settle the ball is with a header. A header can be used to pass the ball to your teammates and can even help to score goals. Pro Tips has the essential information you need to master this heads-up move with this header progression drill.
A WORD BEFORE TRAINING HEADERS
Heading the ball is an iconic move in soccer, but also an advanced one. For athlete safety, headers are best saved for older, more experienced players. Check with your league on minimum age rules on heading in youth soccer and if it’s allowed during gameplay.
THE HEADER PROGRESSION DRILL
Before your training begins, make sure you have a partner for this drill. Pair up with a teammate and sit toe-to-toe with your heels on the ground and toes pointed up. Your legs should be in a V-shape with your knees bent. Sit up straight. Remember to activate your core and bring your shoulders back to help avoid slouching.
To head the ball to your partner, use your core rather than your neck to power the ball toward your partner. Your partner should catch the oncoming ball with their hands and return it with a header of their own. This drill can help you learn the proper form and technique before advancing through the progression.
HEAD THE BALL WHILE KNEELING
Once you and your partner are confident with the toe-to-toe header drill, you can move on to the next stage. Move up to your knees and back up slightly to repeat the drill.
For this variation, back up slightly and kneel. From here, go ahead and head the ball to your partner, remembering to power the ball with your core. Your partner will, again, return the ball with a header of their own.
BONUS PRO TIP: To add a strength and conditioning element to this drill, try incorporating a push-up so that after each header, you and your partner drop forward and complete a kneeling push-up.
HEAD THE BALL WHILE STANDING UP
When you’re comfortable heading the ball from a kneeling position, you can continue to the final level. Once again, you should back up to increase the distance between you and your partner. From standing position, head the ball to your partner for this final step. You can also rotate players into different partner pairs for each drill in the progression to keep things moving and include other teammates.
Use these Pro Tips to help expand your game and your training by properly learning how to do a header.
Want to discover more soccer drills to help build your skill set? Test your juggling skills by adding a tennis ball with this Pro Tips juggling drill.