A header is a technique used in soccer to control or play the ball with the head and can be used in both offensive and defensive situations. A player can use their head to pass to a teammate, shoot at goal, or clear the ball away from their goal area.

Headers are commonly used by players in almost every match, for the forward to try and score a goal and the defender to prevent a goal. Headed goals are usually scored from a cross, free kick, or corner.

What are the different ways to head a ball in Soccer?

Most soccer players that enter a pitch have a basic understanding of how to head a ball. This can include simple things like feet position, part of the head to use or, how high to jump. These are known as the standard offensive or defensive headers.

  • A standard offensive header is when a player tries to make powerful contact with the ball, directing it low and either side of the opposition goalkeeper.
  • A standard defensive header is when a player tries to clear the ball from their goal area by powerfully heading underneath the ball to get as much distance as possible.

However, some players have either a better understanding or greater ability than other players, allowing them to use more variation when heading a ball.

Some of these different ways can include:

  • A diving header is a technique where the player approaches the pass or cross and dives to make contact with their head.
  • A flick-on header is a technique where the player flicks the ball using the back of their head in an attempt to confuse the opposition and hopefully complete a successful pass to a teammate.
  • A glancing header is a technique where the player tries to use the side of their head to hit across the ball and confuse the goalkeeper.