BFC’s U-11 heads to training without headaches


Heading not a crucial part of training for children under 15, says head coach of BFC youth academy.

Ritam Chatterjee

In the wake of countries banning children under 11 years of age from practicing heading, keeping in view the adverse health impacts, Bengaluru Football Club (BFC) is keen on staying intact in their strategy for the city’s budding football stars.

“We do not encourage our students to head the ball until they are 15-years-old. We prefer to teach them possession-based football that focuses more on close control using one’s of feet instead of the head,” said Naushad Moosa, Head of Bengaluru FC Youth Development.

The football associations from three different European countries – England, Scotland and Northern Ireland have banned children agead under 11 years from heading in training seasons from February 24. The decision came following a study which found that the football players were more likely to die from brain diseases than other people.

The study by the University of Glasgow in October last year revealed that professional footballers across the world were three-and-half-times more prone to death resulting from “degenerative brain diseases” than other people.

“Apart from the attacking situations in the final third, the use of heading even in game-related scenarios is much lesser at the younger age group levels,” Moosa added.

Satyajit Chakraborty, a former football trainer from Bengaluru, said, “Children do not need to head the ball much during training. To prove the aerial ability, height is a bigger factor for youngsters. If they have the height too, they can fix three or four hours in a month to head the ball in a training session.”

The Karnataka State Football Association (KSFA) said that the tournaments organised for young footballers in different divisions from different sports academies every year, focuses on playing ball at ground.

“KSFA Youth Premiere League has always seen footballers to play at ground level. It also helps them to improve their skills in the field. Random long ball playing at the attacking third does not help anyone to prove how much potential he or she has,” said Satyanarayana, Secretary of KSFA.

In an interview with the BBC, Mark Bullingham, chief executive of the Football Association (FA) said, “This updated heading guidance is an evolution of our current guidelines and will help coaches and teachers to reduce and remove repetitive and unnecessary heading from youth football,”

He stated that the new rule will become the guideline for all the trainers and coaches across the world and will help them to find what is necessary to do at training sessions.