Tips From the Pros: Battling in the Air With Boston Defender Kasey Moore

Lauren GreenCorrespondent IAugust 20, 2010

One of the most difficult skills to master in soccer is heading.  So many young players are afraid to go up for a ball in the air or are scared that heading the ball will hurt.

The Boston Breakers’ Kasey Moore is incredible in the air. The 5'8'' defender shared her advice for any player on practicing alone, the most crucial aspects of heading, and just how a shorter player can win a battle in the air in this edition of Tips from the Pros.

What are some good ways to practice heading, especially by yourself?

I think it’s a lot about timing for me personally and I know some people that aren’t super tall but are great about air and it’s a lot about timing.  So even if it’s just tossing a ball up to yourself, maybe kicking it off of a wall, just practicing as much as you can any way possible.

I was always the person who was the weird little kid who enjoyed heading and would ask to do more of it.  So just do as much as you can and just work on the timing by repetition—just over and over and over and over again.

Aside from timing, what other aspect of heading would you find to be the most important?

I just think it’s kind of being a little bit brave.  If you’re going to head the ball well, you kind of have to stick your head in places where it shouldn’t be, and in situations where most people wouldn’t try to do it.

You’ve just got to be strong and be brave because if you got up like you’re going to win the ball—you go up strong, and you go up confident, you might not win it but you’ll make [it harder] the person next to you that you’re going up against.

It’s a lot about confidence and going up with strength.

For players who are shorter, how can they get better and be able to win those battles in the air?

I think that for a lot of people who aren’t as tall, it’s a lot about body position.

It’s not so much about you winning the ball, but I think it’s that you’ll win the battle if you make the other sure the other person doesn’t.  Just make it difficult for them. Make it so it’s not an easy win for them.

I’m only like 5’8'', 5’9'' and in this league I’m average [height-wise], so there’s other people that are a lot taller and a lot of it is don’t worry about you winning the ball, make sure the people next to you don’t.

Make it super difficult for the other people and if they don’t win the ball you’ve essentially done your job, even if you haven’t [won the ball].

A lot of kids these days are scared to go up for a ball in the air or to head the ball the wrong way. What would you say to them?

I think just practice. And the more you do it, you’re going to know the correct way to head a ball.  I mean I still head the ball and it hits a bad spot on my head and I can feel it. It doesn’t feel good, but the more you do it, the more that you know the correct way to do it.

You’re more confident in your ability to head the ball and the more confident you get in yourself, the more you’re going to want to head the ball.

Photo Courtsey of Andrew Katsampes | ISI Photos