Basic Soccer Skills: Vertical and Heading Drills
Both defensive and offensive soccer positions require vertical quickness and control over the hips and core. High knees, accurate footwork, and vertical speed can all contribute to basic soccer skills and help players stay in front of the ball. Basic soccer skills also include heading, and since effective heading starts with coordination and body position, heading drills and vertical drills often go hand in hand.
Drills like the ones demonstrated in the video below can help players learn how to head the soccer ball properly, which means anticipating the direction of the ball and moving to intercept. These drills can also help players maintain lightning fast reflexes during vertical direction changes. Follow along as the Kbands trainers demonstrate these basic soccer skills using the added resistance of the Kbands training equipment.
Resistance Training and Basic Soccer Skills
Before beginning this set of drills, players can attach the Kbands to their upper legs by wrapping each strap around the leg with the label facing forward and the metal rings on the outside. When the straps positioned, players attach the resistance bands with the appropriate level of tension. Players should make sure the long band is attached in the front and the short band in the back. Once they’re in place, the Kbands will apply targeted tension to the muscles of the hips, glutes, upper legs and core during these vertical soccer drills. Without interfering with the drills, the extra tension will help strengthen the muscles, and once the bands are removed, they’ll leave players with a temporary sensation of extreme lightness. This short term feeling of lightness can help players focus on speed and footwork, which are both central elements of basic soccer skills.
Vertical Motion and Basic Soccer Skills: Setting Up the Drill
This set of vertical motion and heading drills won’t require much room or equipment, just a few orange agility cones and a ball. Coaches can simply place three training cones in a row about two feet apart. Players will run through this drill one at a time for about 12 to 15 sets.
Players will begin by standing at one end of the line of cones and moving vertically down the line with high energy and high knees. Players should set both feet down between each cone in the line, and should move down the line as quickly as possible, using the Kbands to bring as much tension and energy as possible to the hips, glutes, and core.
When the soccer player reaches the end of the row, he’ll take a quick stutter step, and be ready the ball that the coach will toss in his direction. As always while heading the ball, the player should position himself properly and be sure to hit the ball, not allow the ball to hit him. Correct heading means staying in control of the impact and meeting the ball squarely with the upper curve of the forehead. Players should work with coaches to practice controlled heading and bring that training to bear on this set of vertical drills.
Remember, these drills don’t just require heading, they require players to head the ball while in motion and between direction changes. As they complete the toss, coaches should make sure the ball approaches from above, not directly forward. After heading the ball back to the coach or thrower, the player should move back down the line of cones in the opposite direction, again making sure to keep the knees high, the arms raised, and the hips engaged.
When learning how to head the soccer ball, beginners should start by focusing on heading drills alone, without the distraction of whole body motion and direction changes. Heading the ball properly requires coordination and practice. But more advanced players can of course shift their focus from controlling the point of contact to heading while in motion. Notice how the soccer player in the video doesn’t actually strike the ball by moving his head and neck. Instead, he positions himself in the path of the ball and rises to meet it during his vertical jump. He stays in control of the direction of the ball during the entire move.
After 12 to 15 drills moving from left to right and heading the ball on the right side of the line of cones, the player can reverse direction and begin moving from right to left. This will keep heading skill and reflexes balanced between both sides.
Quickness, Reflex Development, and Muscle Strength
The faster soccer players move down the line of cones and the higher the knees during this motion, the greater the advantages of the drill. Coaches should watch players carefully and make sure they’re staying at peak energy output all the way down the line and back. This is the best way to gain the full benefits of added resistance. If the knees are high and the hips are engaged, muscle strength will develop faster and, as players will notice when the bands are removed, overall reflexes and quickness will improve.
Players should follow the resisted sets of this drill with unresisted sets, which will mean unclipping the resistance bands from the straps. The temporary sensation of lightness that follows the removal of the bands will help players focus on fast, controlled footwork and explosive speed.
Basic Soccer Skills: Final Notes
For more training guidance and video demonstrations of basic soccer skills, players and coaches can visit Kbands Training. com and explore the resources available on the site. Search for practice drills, total body superset workouts, and more information about how resistance and suspension training can elevate performance on the soccer field. Consider adding the benefits of the Kbands, the KB Duo, and the KB Powerbands to your training program and find out how these simple, lightweight, portable training tools can take your game to the next level.