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Michael Ballack: Dominate the skies

“My headers always lack accuracy and power. How do you get the best out of your nut?”
James Arnold, via email

Michael Ballack says:

“It’s all about timing. There are big and small players, but small players can leap just as high and use the right movement to beat their opponent to the ball.

Technique and the way you connect with the ball are important, but this is something you can train.

When I was a kid I created a pendulum with a net, a ball and a piece of rope. I put the ball in the net and hung it from a tree using the rope.

Then I would just head the ball back and forth. It’s not easy – when the ball gets right in front of your face, you have to make contact at exactly the right moment to give it maximum direction and power. You have to keep your eyes on the ball.

You have to put the hours in on the training ground because if you don’t have these skills, you won’t get enough power on the ball to put it in the back of the net.

Body strength and flexibility are also both key. You need power to get off the ground and hold off your marker.

Sometimes a cross won’t be perfect so you have to be able to re-adjust your body to finish it.”

For more football tips see:
Pele: How to head like the King
Head it like Drogba
Andy Carroll: How to use your head
Rise above the attack