5 Tips on How to Head a Soccer Ball

boy holding ball

Soccer games for kids continues to grow as it’s just a great sport. Concussions, too, are growing just as fast – not so great!

The all important aspect of properly heading the soccer ball has become critical in ensuring the well being of young athletes. Improperly heading the soccer ball can cause serious head injuries.  [See Concussions Caused by Soccer.]

In order to reduce concussion risk (or any other injury) below are some tips on how to properly head the ball:

numbers1Keep Eye on the Ball While in Flight

Many young athletes make the mistake of taking their eye off the ball as it travels through in the air.

Just like catching a fly ball in baseball, the same type of technique applies with winning a header. In many cases, players will misjudge the flight of the ball due to taking their eyes off it as it travels.

heading soccer ball - keep eye on balll

By keeping an eye continuously on the ball as it travels players will increase their chance of positioning themselves in the proper location to make an advancing play off their head.

numbers2Talk to Teammates While Ball is In Air

We have all seen a situation where two teammates attempt to win the same ball out of the air with a header. Many times a collision occurs due to the teammate’s failure to communicate whose ball it is prior to it being played.

This is not only detrimental to advancing the ball but can also exposure athletes to a significant risk of injury.

heading soccer ball - talk with teammates

It is important for athletes to call out “mine!” or some other phrase that will emphasize to other teammates to stay clear.

numbers3The Forehead is the Sweet Spot

The forehead, which is the thickest part of the skull, is the sweet spot when it comes to playing head balls out of the air. Not only is the risk of a concussion significantly diminished due to the added protection, but the forehead also allows players to generate a maximum level of power and control.

Aim for the center of your forehead just about where the hairline is.

heading soccer ball - aim for the forehead

numbers4Keep Your Eyes Open Until Contact is Made

Young players will have the courage to step under a ball to play it with their head, but despite their best intentions, close their eyes before initiating contact.

By taking their eye of the ball prior to contact, athletes are exposing themselves to striking the ball with the wrong part of the head, not only increasing the risk of a concussion but also diminishing the accuracy and power of the header.

heading soccer ball - keep eyes open

numbers5Push Through the Ball at Contact

Making contact with the ball with the forehead is not the only characteristic of playing a good header. Headers are played to either advance the ball into an attacking position or to put a shot on goal.

In order for players to make the most out of the header they must position themselves to push their head through the ball when contact is made.

heading soccer ball - concentrate

See also 8 Tips to Avoid Soccer Injuries.

Suspect a concussion? Even the mildest head injury symptoms are not to be ignored; concussion treatment can range from using pain relievers for headaches to plain and simple rest. Rest consists of both physical and mental rest. School days may be missed but you cannot take any chances on cutting corners on treating a concussion.

16 Responses to “5 Tips on How to Head a Soccer Ball”

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  1. Scott says:

    Schools and towns, and soccer club organizations, need to implement rules to limit the the maount of heading. We have a coach that yells at the kids if they are not heading the ball.

    I guess I’m not sure what my point is – if we know this can harm the kids then should we pull them from the sport altogether ot should there just be rules of “no heading”? There’s not easy answer.

    • Robert J. says:

      Heading is part of soccer!! Better solution is to teach the kids how to head the ball, there are right ways and wrong ways, just like most things in life. Many teams teach them the right way but then allow it only as they get older, may make more sense, but heading is a major component of soccer. Should we ban base-stealing from baseball too??

    • Anonymous says:

      I totally agree with you!

  2. Dan says:

    Just so critical; these repeated headings, done properly or NOT, will amount to brain damage over time – proven!

  3. Cam says:

    ” It is important for athletes to call out “mine!” or some other phrase that will emphasize to other teammates to stay clear.” Don’t name yourself socerconcussion.com if you don’t know what you are talking about. Calling mine when the ball is in the air is a yellow card

  4. Anonymous says:

    is heading football effective look giroud never gone mad heading for years

  5. Anonymous says:

    They should keep heading in soccer. I play soccer and I head the ball once at least every single game. Whoever wants to take heading out of soccer is retarded!

  6. Anonymous says:


  7. sis says:


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  9. Anonymous says:

    I say k, you say p! K! P! K! P!

  10. Anonymous says:

    I say pee, you say poop! PEE! POOP! PEE! POOP!