In coaching soccer drills, the skill of heading is such an important skill that it sets soccer apart from other sports. Heading has the different characteristics of being lively, brilliant, subtle and controlled all at the same time. One thing is for sure that you will always be a cut above the rest if your players are well trained in the art of heading.
The value of heading in teaching soccer is clear from the fact that a player becomes al least 30% more competent after he learns to precisely head the ball.
Make the young players learn the basic header by plunging the top half of their body forward to strike the ball with the forehead. Train them to make the contact just below the hairline, on the flat part of the forehead.
They should keep their eyes open until the contact with the ball is made. It’s essential for them to keep their eyes open to make sure that they can make ac accurate contact with the ball. Teach the players to make use of their neck muscles while touching the ball. When your neck muscles are contracted, it helps in spreading the impact of the ball all over the body.
If the neck muscles are relaxed, the total impact of the bang will be absorbed by the head only. Teach the players to keep their mouths locked up when they’re heading the ball else they’ll end up biting their tongues.
Of all the tasks in coaching soccer drills, getting young players to attack is the hardest notion. Herein the players must go after the ball with full energy to grab the ball. It has special relevance in heading. During soccer practice, it’s necessary for you as a coach to teach the kids how to head the ball so that the ball does not head them.
There is one thing that I’d like to share. There is one problem and possible the greatest in teaching players the skill of heading and it is only psychological. It relates to the fear of making contact with the ball by using their head. But this fear can be overcome.
In coaching drills, let go of this pressure by telling the players to sit around their coach forming pairs amongst themselves. Pass each set of players a ball each. Show them the contact area by holding the ball in your hands and tapping it gently onto the forehead. Now tell the players to do the same.
Then, release some pressure out of the balls before you begin your practice session. This helps in the sense that players feel confident in doing frequent headers with no headaches or tender noses. You can then use balls with higher pressure once the players feel comfortable and confident.
The use of the trick has a dual benefit of eliminating the fear of players to head the ball and becoming skilled at it in no time. It’s critical for a skill like heading in coaching soccer drills that it is performed only when the coach is sure that players know exactly how to do it.
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Andre Botelho is the author of "The Expert Youth Soccer Coaching Guide" and he's an expert in the subject of Coaching soccer drills. Tp explode your players' skills and make coaching fun in less than 29 days, download your free Soccer Coaching guide at: Coaching soccer drills.