Heading to Score or Back Across the Goal

By Lawrence Fine, Author of the FineSoccer Coaching Bible.

Welcome to the FineSoccer Drills Newsletter. Today’s featured activity works on “head backs”.

In an ideal world, a team would get the ball out wide, cross the ball into a position for a player to finish first time (with the head, foot or other part of the body).


Unfortunately our teams play in the real world and not the ideal world so it doesn't always work that way. Too often the cross isn't played exactly where we want it and as such we have to prepare accordingly.

It’s not uncommon for a ball to be played deep to the far post, into a position where it’s extremely difficult to score (assume the pass in the diagram below is a lofted ball).


If the player in the box tries to score from this angle he will most likely play the ball wide of the goal.


Instead the player should look to head the ball back across the goalmouth, a bit away from the goal.


This will give the players teammates the best chance of scoring.

To start, the server should toss the ball to the runner to make it as easy as possible for the player to get to the ball and head it back. The ball should be tossed high enough to allow the player to get slightly beyond the ball and head it back. If the player can bend his run slightly, it will make it even easier.


Gradually you can have the ball tossed harder and flatter to challenge the player to get to the ball.

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Next, add a second runner to finish the head back.


When the players are ready to really be challenged, have the server start crossing the ball like they would in a game, trying to play the ball far to the far post so the runners have to adjust accordingly.

Make sure you do this from both sides. You might be surprised how often this situation occurs in a game and the players who are prepared are most likely to be successful.

Have a great day!


By Lawrence Fine, Author of the FineSoccer Coaching Bible.

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