Shield and protect

This practice not only improves your player’s technique when holding off an opponent but also helps to develop their strength and confidence to compete physically to compete the ball.

What this session is about

  1.  Holding off opponents.
  2.  Developing strength.

What to think about

  •  The first part of this session can be run as part of the warm-up.
  •  The players pair up and play for 30 seconds with one player the attacker and one the defender. The attacker must dribble and keep the ball away from the defender. Players should take turns as the attacker and the defender.


20 x 20 yard area.

Warm upSessionDevelopmentsGame SituationWarm Down
10 minutes20-30 minutes10-15 minutes10 minutes5-10 minutes

What you get your players to do

The ball is placed on a cone and the defender must shield the ball and stop the attacker knocking the ball off.

Warm-up with a dribbling game.

Warm-up with a dribbling game.


The players form a circle and each place a ball on a cone. One player is nominated as the defender and has to knock a ball off of a cone in order to get out of the pitch. The player whose ball is knocked out must now enter the pitch and try to knock a different ball out. When the time runs out, out, the defender left in the middle has a forfeit to do.

With my players we play 3 sets:

Pop Idol – player must sing for 10 seconds.

Strictly Come Dancing – player must dance for 10 seconds.

X-Factor – player must sing and dance for 10 seconds.

This adds to the intensity and realism of the shielding and adds a fun element to the practice.

Practice shielding technique in pairs.

Practice shielding technique in pairs.

Game situation

Play a normal game and when the opportunity presents itself do they use the techniques learnt?

The last player in has to complete a fun forfeit.

The last player in has to complete a fun forfeit.

What to call out

  • “Bend your knees”
  •  “Use your arms”
  •  “Be ready to defend”
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