Coach Equipment

Soccer Techniques

Header - Basics

Header - Basics
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In soccer training headers are often neglected, though it is an important part of every soccer match. In both the defensive and the offensive position, the header is the only possibility to pass on high balls precisely. Yet, Franz Beckenbauer noticed as trainer that many young talents were struggling with the header technique. This hasn’t been changed over the years.

Header training shall avoid health damages. This means a range of appropriate balls, the creation of the basics of the header training. If there is any pain in the training, it will be difficult to get a certain enthusiasm for heading in the future. Headers are then performed hesitantly and fearfully.

There are different types of header techniques. With every technique the ball can be directed by body turns.


1. Header from a standing position

The header from a standing position is technically the easiest type, but provides you with the most important basics of all header types.

  • Watch the trajectory of the ball.
  • Right position to the ball.
  • Gain momentum by tightening the upper part of your body backwards.
  • The eyes are open.
  • Fix your neck.
  • Press the chin on your chest.
  • Jump ahead with your body. Hit the ball with the right timing, not too far in front or in the back of the upper part of the body.
  • Hit the ball with the whole forehead.
  • If you want to change the direction of the ball, change the upper part of the body in the respective direction before heading.

2. Header after jumping with both feet

This type is technically much more challenging than the header from a standing position. Especially the right timing is often a problem. It can be performed by using the following motion sequence:

  • Watch the trajectory of the ball.
  • Right position to the ball.
  • Jump dynamically.
  • Gaining momentum for the jump is supported by using both arms.
  • The jump goes upwards and not forward.
  • The upper part of the body and the lower leg are tightened backwards (bow tension).
  • The eyes are open.
  • Fix your neck.
  • Press the chin on your chest.
  • Hit the ball on the highest point.
  • Hit the ball with the whole forehead.
  • If you want to change the direction of the ball, change the upper part of the body
    in the respective direction before heading. The turn can also be done whilst
    jumping, but also in the air.


3. Heading after jumping with one foot

The performance of a header after jumping using just one foot is always done out of running motion. It’s difficult and requires a lot of drill to control your body in the air.

Furthermore, the right timing isn’t as easy to implement as by jumping with both feet. The header after jumping with just one foot can be performed much more dynamically. The player reaches a much higher jumping height and therefore gets much more pressure behind the ball.

  • Watch the trajectory of the ball.
  • Run dynamically towards the ball.
  • Jump with one foot.
  • Support the jumping foot by slightly bending the playing foot.
  • Support the jump by using both arms.
  • Try to jump very high and not too far forward.
  • Gain more momentum by tightening the upper part of your body backwards.
  • The eyes are open.
  • Fix your neck.
  • Press the chin on your chest.
  • Jump ahead with your body.
  • Hit the ball on the highest point.
  • Hit the ball with the whole forehead.
  • If you want to change the direction of the ball, change the upper part of the body dynamically in the respective direction before heading. Support the direction change by a respective motion of your head.

4. Diving Header

The diving header is a dramatic action in a soccer match and therefore very popular. After controlling the basics of the header technique, the execution is relatively easy. All you need is a little bit of courage to let yourself drop from large height. The diving header can be performed from a standing position and out of a running motion. The use of the diving header makes sense, if a match situation needs to be clarified (goal, heading the ball out of the danger zone). Attention: Injuries are possible if there are other opponent players around.

  • Watch the trajectory of the ball.
  • Run dynamically towards the ball.
  • Jump with both feet.
  • Fix your neck.
  • Stretch your neck upwards.
  • Hit the ball with the whole forehead.
  • Catch your body with your hands.
  • If you want to change the direction of the ball, change the upper part of the body dynamically in the respective direction before heading. Support the direction change by a respective motion of your head. The result is some kind of “snake motion” in the air.

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