Soccer Header

NOTE: Medical studies have found that extensive headers can cause brain damage; some parents oppose practicing them.

As players get older, they use their head more often to pass, receive, shoot or "redirect" the ball. There are two types of headers: a) a directional header where the player wants to control the ball (i.e., a pass, shoot or receive) & which is struck with the forehead (just below or at the hairline, where the player can see the ball; teach this by having them hold the ball on the forehead & asking them if they can see it) or with the side of the head; and, b) a clearing header (where the objective is just to send it as far as possible) which is struck with the forehead at the hairline or with the top of the head & where the defender often leaps to get more power. Don't even try to teach headers until U-10 & don't stress them until U-11. If you play a lot of small sided, by U-10 or U-11 they will be learning on their own. Don't use a heavy or hard ball to teach headers; use a soft or underinflated ball. A header that is aimed at the ground near the goal line (so it will bounce) is particularly difficult for the goalie to save. (See "Flick Header").

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