The Relationship Between Biomechanical-Anthropometrical Parameters and the Force Exerted on the Head When Heading Free Kicks in Soccer


1 Department of Physical Education, Shahrood Branch, Islamic Azad University, Shahrood, IR Iran

2 Department of Physical Education and Sport Sciences, Tarbiat Moallem University, Tehran, IR Iran

3 Department of Electrical Engineering, Shahrood University of Technology, Shahrood, IR Iran

4 Department of Epidemiology and Biostatistics, School of Public Health, Tehran University of Medical Sciences, Tehran, IR Iran


Soccer is a contact sport in which the players are frequently faced with the risk of injury. It has been shown that the force exerted on the head during heading can be as much as 500–1200 Newton (N).

The main objective of this study was to determine whether there was any relationship between the force exerted on the head and several biomechanical and anthropometrical parameters related to heading free kicks.

Patients and Methods
A total of 16 semi-professional soccer players with at least 5 years experience participated in this study. The mean age, height, and weight of the study participants were 21.36 ± 5.67, 178 ± 5.99 cm, and 70.55 ± 8.55 kg, respectively. To measure the force exerted on the heads of the players, a pressure gauge was installed on their foreheads. Each participant was asked to defend the ball using the heading technique three times. A camera with a sampling frequency of 150 frames per second was used to record the moment of impact between the ball and head during each heading event. For each participant and replicate, the ball and head velocity (m/s) as well as the angular body changes (degrees) were calculated using MATLAB and AutoCAD softwares, respectively. Descriptive statistics, including means and standard deviations were used to describe the data. Pearson correlation coefficient (alpha = 0.05) was used to examine potential relationships between the variables of interest.

Significant correlations existed between the force exerted on the head during heading, participant age, body mass, body fat percentage, and head perimeter (P < 0.05).

The study revealed the significance of anthropometric variables related to heading, such as age and head perimeter. Therefore, it was concluded that these variables should be considered when teaching and practicing the heading technique with players of different ages and anthropometric sizes.