Developing winning header skills isn’t most footballers’ favourite thing to do. However, good heading skills are essential for football teams, and it’s important to build heading confidence early on. Read on to find out how to make header skills fun again.

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Young Players

Despite the debate about children and heading, you can still start work on developing the necessary skills early on, even if you’re not encouraging them to head the ball in actual games. The best reason for child players to practise is about gaining confidence. Get them to drop the ball on the grass and then head it forward, not up, on its return. This just encourages confidence that the ball won’t hurt your head.

Making Header Drills Fun for Older Players

Provided you’ve built up enough confidence in the early years, you can improve their skills with these further fun header drills. Put your players into pairs and tell one to kneel down whilst the other throws the ball. When it comes towards them, encourage players to slide forward on to their hands to head it. This helps teach balance whilst heading and how to judge the ball. A second really fun drill is to head the ball backwards. This involves putting players into lines of four or five players and getting them to head backwards up the line. This teaches them how to head the ball on, which can be useful during corners. Not only is it great for teaching how to head the ball on with small flicks, but it’s also a great team game when you pit the lines against one another.


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Researching Drills

Researching drills and keeping them interesting is one of the most important elements of being a football coach. Finding the time to research drills when you also have to find sponsors, source football team kits from retailers such as and keep parents happy isn’t always easy. But you will notice the difference in your results if you try to keep drills interesting for everyone.

Players don’t want to practise heading skills all day: it gets boring quickly and frustrating when they want to get on with kicking the ball. Having said that, they need to practise them frequently. Ideally, include a short header drill at every session early on.