striker scores a goal with his head

How to Head a Ball in Soccer

Published date: June 16, 2022

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Ball-heading is a vital component of football matches. In football, every part of the body can touch the ball except the hands. Players head the ball at different points within a match for different reasons. Whether it is to score a goal from a set piece, defend their penalty box, or simply win an aerial ball, players, most often than not, will have to head the ball throughout a 90-minute match.

Soccer players can pass the ball and score goals using their feet and heads. A header is a simple and effective way to move the soccer ball around the field when performed correctly—mastering the right technique in practice before executing this skill in live game scenarios as a professional soccer player.

Because the head is the highest part of the body, it allows a player to reach the ball faster than a player who can just use his feet. As a result, mastering heading is critical to becoming an exceptional footballer. Long overhead passes are used by many teams, especially during goal kicks, because they get the ball upfield and eliminate the possibility of interception.

When the ball is still in the air, whoever wins the aerial duel between your receiving player and the opposition generally determines which team gains possession. Some teams tailor their strategies to take advantage of this advantage, and they play "direct" football.

In this post, we'll go through numerous heading approaches and the precise proper technique for heading a football.

Types Of Headers

Defensive Headers

When it comes to headers to defend your team's goal, you want to aim the ball away from your team's post and high into the air. It would be best never to go down unless you are convinced that a teammate will receive the ball. You have to contact the lower part of the football with your forehead to propel the ball higher.

The purpose you ascend is to buy time, allowing your defense to prepare and possibly participate in another aerial combat. If you direct it downward, it may end up at your opponent's feet and you will have done a huge disservice to your team. Remember to head the ball up and away from the goal for defensive headers.

Offensive Headers

If you're in a goal-scoring position, such as the 6-yard box or the penalty box, you should direct the ball downwards with your head. You must first leap higher than the soccer ball and make a good connection with its upper half. Keep the ball low and employ power during an offensive header.

Diving Headers

Diving headers in soccer are a fantastic technique to score goals.

Dive at an incoming ball and concentrate on making contact to perform a diving header. Your dive's momentum will lead to a strong header. It would be best to land on your chest and arms (not your wrists).

When it pertains to diving headers, timing is everything. Make sure you're ready to dive at any time.

Glancing Headers

Head the ball across the body with a glancing soccer header. It's an excellent strategy to fool the goalie and score a goal. A glancing header is not exactly a powerful header. It relies more on precision.

If you want to make a glancing header, aim for the right side of the soccer ball (if you're heading left) or the left side of the soccer ball (if you're heading right), and then head the ball slightly to the side.

The power of a glancing header is slightly lower than that of an offensive header. Some players execute a glancing header with the side of the head. This should not be done. As a youth player, you can perfect the powerful soccer heading technique by practice in training to be able to execute it accurately in a game situation.

The right side of the head is not as powerful and precise as the left. Make use of the middle of the head and a side of the soccer ball with your head. It is not necessary to use your side of the head.

Flick Header

When you "flick the ball on," you pass the ball to a teammate over you (and in certain instances, over a defender as well).

Passing the ball with a flick-on header is a terrific way to do so. It's frequently utilized to build up one-on-one breakaways with the goalkeeper.

Head the ball using the top of your head. You'll rotate your head up and backward to perform a flick-on header.

Soccer Player heading the ball

Tips For Heading

Players must do the following to head the ball effectively:

1. Maintain their focus on the ball and change their position to hit it effectively with their forehead. Players who strike the ball close to the natural hairline on the top of their heads have the most control, generate the most power, and experience the least pain. It's critical to prepare for a header and be prepared to complete the action. The goal has always been to hit the ball rather than allowing it to hit them or catch them off guard.

2. During the heading procedure, they should bend their knees, keep their eyes open, and mouths shut. Keep in mind their own and others' positions on the field. This reduces the risk of head injury and encourages better decisions, like where to put the ball during a clearing effort.

3. To get the most power out of your header, use your arms to balance and push through with it. Jumping or diving headers become more common as players become older, and mastering the basic technique for heading will help them master those characteristics later.

4. Always double-check that balls are correctly inflated and the appropriate size for a certain age group. When the ball has too much air, it can make heading unduly difficult for the players.

A single header is unlikely to induce a concussion. Headers can be dangerous because of the events that lead to them on the field. Heavy player contact, whether head-to-head collisions or shoulder-to-shoulder collisions, is more likely to result in head or brain injuries than colliding with a ball in flight. Limiting risky or dirty plays, as well as enforcing the game's rules and remaining aware of your surroundings at all times, can help reduce the risk of injuries in soccer.


To be fair, heading a soccer ball is a skill that can be learned as a player grows older. Although heading is an essential component of soccer, it is not a technique that young children should concentrate on.

Heading is a skill in soccer that older players should begin practicing in training, say those over 16 years. As they progress and grow into their bodies, let young soccer players focus on handling the ball at their feet expertly before moving on to using their heads.

While it's fine to conduct some repetitive heading practice during training for young players, there's no reason to risk a brain or a head injury by heading the ball too frequently in practice — save it for games. However, while heading is a talent that can be mastered as a player grows stronger and older, working on skills with the feet requires more time and practice, so concentrate on that.