The quote “Where the head goes the body follows.” is often used as a coaching point in athletics. Coaches understand if you can control one's head you have a better chance of controlling ones body.
The cervical spine and it’s associated musculature is the hotbed of proprioception and what occurs in this region affects the entire system and ultimately motion. Controlling your adversary’s head does not necessarily mean moving your opponents skull with physical contact as during wrestling or martial arts. It can be controlled in other ways - our sensory organs of vision, hearing and balance coordinate with our neck muscles to affect posture and movement. Something as simple as shifting the gaze influences the activity of neck muscles for movement and if in the wrong direction becomes the milliseconds needed to get a step ahead of the opponent.
The plays that are chosen in football, basketball, soccer and other sports are selected in regards to the strength and weaknesses of the opposition. The players physiological system is addressed as well, the object is to get a challenger to look in a particular direction, affect what they hear, cause them to adjust their balance all which influence the musculature in a way that alters their athleticism.
A well coached athlete with a well developed cervical muscular system allows for a quick correction if their head, vision, hearing or balanced is negatively influenced.
Get the neck muscles Strong - it is an important part of sports performance.