Not everyone plays soccer but imagine this: you are walking down the street past a park where you notice a group of kids playing soccer, and then suddenly the ball comes hurtling at you.
You could either (A) let the ball hit you in the face and fall, maybe sustaining a head injury, while the kids laugh at you, or (B) head the ball with perfect form right back to the kids, becoming a superstar in their eyes. I would pick choice (B), and I assume that you would choose the same. Although you may be saying, “This would never happen to me,” but there is always a chance it could.
First step in becoming an effective head baller (I wish there was a better way of saying that) is to know where the ball should hit on your head. Although it’s called a head ball, it really should be called a forehead ball. This is obviously because the correct place for the ball to hit is the center of the forehead. If the ball hits too far up on the head, there will be one serious headache just a right turn ahead.
The second step has to do with the power put into heading the ball. When heading a soccer ball, a person will jump if the ball in the air or step to the ball with power and pull their arms backwards while pushing their head toward the ball. How much force is needed is determined by where you want the ball to go. If it is going short, then less force should be put in. To get less force a person will either shorten or soften the pull of their arms, or they will not pull backwards at all. If the ball needs to go farther, then the person must put all their effort into pulling their arms back and thrusting the head forward.
There are so many situations during a game in which there are different heading techniques to be used.
There are ways to get the ball to go backwards by heading it. In soccer terms it is called flicking the ball. It is called this because when going to head the ball the person’s head is flicked backwards as the ball approaches. Doing this flicking motion either to the right or the left allows the ball to go either way. When flicking it to a side instead of backwards, the ball should still hit your forehead but to a certain side. If you are flicking the ball to the right, it should hit the right side of your forehead; this is the same for the left side as well. This technique doesn’t allow the ball to go as far as a normal head ball does, but it can be equally effective. It is most used on throw-ins because the ball is normally traveling at slower pace then if it were to be kicked.
The other two main types of head balls are defensive and offensive. For a defensive head ball, the person is trying to get as much power as possible and far away from the goal the are defending. These head balls are normally aimed high so that it is out of reach for the opposing team until it drops. As for an offensive head ball, the person is trying to head it downwards to their feet to continue an attacking play with control. Once it’s to their feet, they can make a pass, dribble, or shoot. Another example of an offensive head ball is when trying to score off a corner kick or a cross from the outside. Instead of heading it to their feet they head it downwards with extreme power. In both circumstances the person can head the ball in the direction of a teammate (a pass) to create a better play for their team.
The soccer ball is hurtling at your head “heads up!” yelled the children playing soccer. Little do they know you now know how to properly head a soccer ball. As the ball comes at you, you jump up, pull your arms backwards, throw your head forward, and contact make contact. The ball hits perfectly in the center of your forehead, and you have put just the right amount of force for it to soar through the air right back to the children. “Wow!” *cheering* “That was amazing!” *applause continuing* You are now a superstar.