Football header drill – Improve your technique with this game
by Pablo M25th Apr 2023
Drill created with Tactics Manager
All players should know the correct technique to hit the ball with their heads. Unfortunately, most football header drills are boring, repetitive and static instead of using your whole body to provide power. This drill will keep your players moving and encourage them to hit the target with precision and power.
To execute this drill, you will need at least 10 balls, cones and 2x agility hurdles to mark the pitch as shown in the picture. Align 4 cones as shown above, and set a ball balancing on top of each cone. These will be the targets to be hit by the players.
This exercise is designed as a competition between teams, but you can execute variations with as few as two players. So, you wouldn’t need much space. Nevertheless, this post describes a two-teams header game. Therefore, you will need at least half of a football pitch and two groups of at least four players each to keep momentum during the game.
This drill is not only a header game but will also help execute throw-ins. So, ideally, the players setting the balls for headers should be the same players designated to conduct throw-ins during a game (usually your fullbacks).
This is a competitive game between two teams. The objective of each team is to knock all the balls off the cones. The progression and rules of this game are:
- First, divide the group into two even-numbered teams.
- One player per team will launch the ball to their teammates
- The players to hit the ball will wait behind that far left or right cone.
- The circuit starts with a player running towards the second cone and then turning to the agility hurdle.
- When the player running is getting closer to the agility hurdle, his teammate will launch a high ball to force him to jump over the hurdle.
- The player launching the ball should do it executing a throw-in according to the standard football rules.
- The player running towards the agility hurdle will jump to head the ball towards one of the target balls.
- The player heading the ball must head the ball with both feet in the air, jump on one side of the hurdle and land on the other side of the agility hurdle.
- The header is invalid if the player hits the ball with one or both feet on the ground.
- The header is invalid if the player jumps and lands on the same side of a hurdle.
- After heading the ball, the player must retrieve it and leave it close to the teammate executing the throw-ins.
- The player runs back to the queue.
The exercise finishes when one of the team knocks all the balls off the cones.
This drill will help practice heading a ball with power and precision while having fun. In addition, players improve:
- Heading technique. To knock all the balls off the cones, players must practice heading the ball with different areas of the head and use the whole body to provide power. Read more about it in our post on how to score headers.
- Throw-in technique. The player executing the throw-ins must launch the ball at the right height and with enough momentum while keeping form to avoid a foul throw. Read more about it in our post on how to execute a throw-in.
- Teamwork. This drill encourages collaboration and synchronisation between the player executing the throw-in and the player hitting the balls.
- Fitness. This game is physically demanding. Players must execute this drill fast and continuously to beat the opposition team. However, they do have a short rest while waiting in the queue for the next turn. So, the drill works like a HIIT workout.