This three-part practice develops players’ ability to receive the ball ready to shoot. By STEVE OAKES MORE
Shielding the ball (U11 game)
BALL CONTROL 5
Shielding the ball
“Keep your body between ball and opponent” • “Use touch to keep opponent at arms length” • “Keep the ball close to your body”
Mark out a circle of about 25 yards in diameter. You need two teams of four players. Each team has one player in the circle and three players on the outside.
You feed the ball into the circle and the two players challenge for possession.
The player who wins the ball must shield it from his opponent and attempt to pass out to a team mate. If successful, the team mate enters the circle to make a 2v1.
If the opposing team wins the ball or intercepts a pass, they attempt to play their players into the circle.
The winning team is the first to have all four players in the circle and complete six consecutive passes.
How many players do I need?
We used eight players in a 4v4, but you can increase the numbers if required (you might also have to increase the size of the circle).
Look for speed of combination play.
Players need to show determined dribbling to get the ball to the goals.
You want the defending team to press and jockey with match-like intensity.