USING YOUR HEAD
Soccer is known as "football" nearly worldwide for good reason. The foot is the most important part of the body in the game - but the head comes a close second. It is vital for every aspiring player to be able to head the ball in several different ways.
A defender needs to be able to head the ball in order to clear any dangerous airborne balls coming his way, whether back up the field or into touch. The midfielder needs to be able to do same,particularly from goal kicks that land around his territory. And the attacker, however tall or short, needs to be able to head the ball into the goal from crosses.
There are four major categories of header : the defensive header is aimed upward to try to gain as much distance on the ball as possible ; the attacking header, one that is aimed at goal ,should be directed down, so it is more difficult for the goalkeeper to save ; the glancing header - which can be used for passing to a teammate or scoring - changes the direction of the ball slightly to fool a goalkeeper or take a defender out of the game ; and the back header, which sees the player direct the ball behind him so it maintains its original direction, is a highly useful tool at corners and throw-ins.
Most teams have heading specialists - usually their central defenders and strikers, but a midfielder who isn't skilled at heading is an incomplete midfielder. Even the goalkeeper has occasionally head the ball. Remember that a team is unlikely to be able to win a game if they don't have players who can head the ball.
Throwing Your Eyes at the ball
Some coaches describe the moment when nod your head to make the header as " throwing your eyes at the ball. " In other words, don't let the ball come to your head, but attack it positively. As the ball comes to you, keep watching it and at the last minute move your head forward ( still watching the ball ) to meet it.
Jumping to Meet a Header
Jumping to head soccer ball is all about timing. It is absolutely crucial to follow the path of the ball from the begining of its flight, adjusting your feet all the time so that you are in the correct position to meet the ball. You must concentrate on trying to head the ball at the highest point possible. If you can, take a starting run and launch yourself into the air by springing off your stronger foot, bringing your arms up and putting your elbows out for balance ( be careful, no fouls ! ). If you have timed your jump correctly you will be in a position to meet the ball for even a split second, the chances are that you'll miss it altogether.
Heading A Long, High Ball
As with all heading,when dealing with a long, high ball, it is essential to follow its flight all the way and not take your eyes off it even for a split second. It takes great concentration to follow the ball and move your feet into position so that you are right under it, balanced and steady, as it comes to you. Remember to shout your name to your teammates to let them know you are going for the ball, otherwise you will all bump into each other.If someone else shouts before you, even if you think you are in a better position, you must get out of their way. Once you are in position then you must jump to meet the ball at the highest point possible - if you have free header you can keep your feet on the ground and head it cleanly and firmly. The crucial thing is to get into the right position and have the confidence to meet the ball firmly, sending it right back along its flight path ( into the air where it will travel some distance back the other way ). When you get more confident, you can head the ball above its original flight path, therefore nodding it directly into the path of one of your teammates.
Angled Defensive Heading
In this movement you are heading the ball away at an angle of about 45 - 60 degrees. Approach the ball in the same way, but make contact with the side of your forehead ( the side corresponding with the direction you want the ball to travel in ) and as you make contact nod your head and twist your body the way you want ball to go. Remember that power is crucial because you must clear the ball as far as possible, so attack it and use all the strength in your neck as you make the header
The Attacking Header
To direct the ball downward you must head nearer the top of the ball - and nod your head and twist your body downward in the direction you want it to go. To get power you must really attack the ball, using your neck muscles and the movement of your upper body to meet it with some force and punch it in the direction of the target.
The Glancing Header
A glancing Header is performed by glancing the head in the direction of the ball as contact is made. Contact is light rather than firm, meaning that the ball should slightly, rather than drastically, change direction. This header can be used to score a goal, guiding the ball into the corner of the net, but also to ease the ball to a teammate or assist a dangerous cross into the box.
The Diving Header
When attempting a diving header you must concentrate extremely hard on the flight of the ball. When you are sure that you can reach it by diving forward, time your run against the flight of the ball and then launch yourself into what can only be described as a dive at the ball. Bring your arms forward and away from your body for balance, and simply concentrate on making a firm connection. Your dive will automatically give the header power (if you make good connection, especially if the cross is coming at you hard). If you want the ball to go straight ( the way you are pointing ) then you won't need to direct it ; just make sure you meet the ball toward the middle. If you get underneath it, it will fly into the air. If you need to direct it then try to use your neck and shoulder muscles as you would with other types of header.
Performed by deflecting the ball with the back of the head so that it continues in almost the direction it is going, but with a slightly altered path. It is useful as an attacking weapon to create confusion and as a defensive move to head back to the keeper. Because the ball is usually going at same speed, this slight alteration of speed and trajectory can create confusion in the opponents' penalty area or, in open play, extend the distance of a throw-in or ball kicked upfield.
It is quite difficult skill to perfect since you need to make only slight contact with the ball. As the ball comes toward you, time your jump so that you flick your head and upper body back ( mimicking the flight of the ball ), letting the ball deflect off your forehead as it goes over th e top of you. The faster the ball is going, the less contact needed.