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Heading the Ball in Childrens Football

Big news from the English Football Association (FA) – they’re rolling out new rules to phase out heading for kids under 11. We know you might have questions, so here’s a quick rundown on what’s changing, why it’s important, and how the game can and I'm sure will be just as fun for children, and who knows maybe it will even aid their technical development.


Im not going to pretend that I don't love a header in football, there is nothing sweeter than seeing the ball fly in the back of the net, from a player darting to the far post for a flying header, but the health and safety of participants, especially children who are under our care, must take precedent over any nostalgic view of heading! Also is it just me or do we see fewer flying headers these days than we used to? I grew up watching players like , Ian Rush, Andy Gray, David Speedie, and Alan Shearer regularly flying in at the back post, but I rarely see a flying header these days!



So What’s Changing?

Starting from the 2024-25 season, deliberate heading will be banned in matches for kids in the U7 to U9 age groups. This ban will extend to U10 in 2025-26 and U11 in 2026-27. If a player deliberately heads the ball, the opposing team gets an indirect free kick.


Why Is This Important?

The FA’s decision is all about keeping our kids safe. Research has shown that repeated heading can lead to head injuries and long-term health issues. By cutting out heading, the FA aims to reduce these risks and make sure our kids stay healthy and happy while playing the sport they love.




How Will This Affect the Game?

No need to worry – football will still be the same exciting game! Here’s how:

  • More Focus on Foot Skills: Without heading, kids will spend more time developing their dribbling, passing, and ball control. These skills are the foundation of great football players and will help them excel as they grow.

  • Safety First: With fewer head-to-head collisions, there’s less chance of injuries. This means more playtime and less worry for parents.

  • Fun and Engagement: Coaches will get creative with drills that keep the ball on the ground. This can make practices more fun and engaging for the kids.


How Can Parents Help?
  • Support the Changes: Encourage your kids to embrace the new rules and see them as a way to get better at the game.

  • Stay Informed: Keep up with updates from your child’s coach and the FA to understand how the changes are being implemented.

  • Focus on Skill Development: Help your child practice their foot skills at home. The more comfortable they are with the ball at their feet, the more confident they’ll be on the field.


The FA believes these changes will create a safer and more enjoyable experience for all young players and will allow coaches and parents to support children as they adapt and continue to grow in their love for football.





For more info, check out the FA’s official announcement and stay tuned for updates from our team!

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