Attacking headers make for some of the most spectacular goals in football. Legends from George Best to Wayne Rooney have known how to take advantage of defensive weakness by redirecting a high, fast-moving shot into the bottom corner of the net. An attacking header involves getting above the ball and using power from your neck and back to change its course and stop it going over the bar.
Diego Maradona and Peter Crouch are famous for their lethal attacking headers, but it was Sunderland goalkeeper Mart Poom who made the headlines when he scored off an attacking header in last season’s match against his old club Derby County. You can watch the goal – along with Des Lynam’s commentary – on you tube
If you want to avoid injuring yourself, you’ll need to keep your head and body taut but not rigid, like Poom’s. It’s important to be confident: you’re much more likely to make an accurate judgement and gain control of the ball if you make a decisive move.
The most important thing of all, though, is to get above the ball. This is the only way you’ll be able to send the ball down into the net. Not only this, it also means you are less likely to injure yourself by hitting your head or nose with the ball, or against a defender who might also be making a play for a defensive header. Jump high and make a decisive move.
This move is very easy to practice on your own or with a friend. Throw the ball up into the air, or bounce it against a wall, or get a friend to throw it for you, and when you header it, try to redirect its downwards path towards a low target. And remember: as always, always keep your eye on the ball.