Today is part 3 of our look at Inside Youth Sports post at the importance of players keeping their heads up, with the focus today being on keeping your head up to pre-empt defensive pressure and then going on to look at why it’s important to keep the head up to maximise scoring opportunities.
Head Up to Pre-empt Defensive Pressure
What if you don’t yet have the ability to perform certain skills well without looking at the ball? How can you still succeed when you have difficulty controlling the ball against aggressive defenders?
Well, keeping your head up gives you another advantage. It enables you to recognize defensive pressure before it’s applied. And by doing so, you can often avoid more difficult situations. By keeping your head up, knowing who is open, and passing the ball to a teammate before your defenders arrive, you preempt the pressure. You avoid the potential turnover. And even lacking outstanding ball handling skills, you still succeed.
Head Up to Maximize Scoring Opportunities
Keeping your head up can also lead to better scoring opportunities for both yourself and your teammates. Passing to an open player closer to the goal (possibly a long pass) is almost always the easiest way to score. But if your head is down, you waste these opportunities.
Closer to the goal, the same principle applies. As you drive toward the goal, you will likely draw defenders toward you. If your head is up and eyes forward, you can recognize opportunities to make a pass to an open teammate for an easy goal. And should you see the defender retreating to cover your teammate, you can instead attempt to score the goal yourself.
Also, by keeping your head up you see all of the little clues that can provide you or your team with an opportunity to gain advantage. For example, you may see that a teammate’s defender is overplaying the passing lane and is susceptible to a backdoor cut. At the same time, your teammate may move his eyes or make some other subtle gesture to let you know that he also recognizes the same opportunity and wants you to be ready to make the pass.
Inside Youth Sport wraps up their take on why it’s important to keep the head up as they look at how it helps players avoid injury, we will look at this in the coming days, stay tuned!