INSPIRATION | CONFIDENCE | SUCCESS

The shield

This session is crucial to develop a competitive edge in your players. Learning how to challenge for the ball and shield it from an opponent is a vital part of a player’s development as it has big relevance in real games.

What this session is about

  1. Competing for the ball and then shielding away from the opponent.
  2. Shielding the ball gives you an opportunity to assess your best option for using it. Do you pass, dribble, or turn?

What to think about

When shielding the ball extend your arm and place it in the centre of your opponent’s chest as this will increase the distance between the defender and the ball.

It is important that once in this position and comfortable you quickly get your head up and look for options to pass, turn into space or dribble.

Set-up

  • 30x20yd area.
Warm upSessionDevelopmentsGame SituationWarm Down
10 minutes10 minutes15 minutes15 minutes10 minutes

What you get your players to do

To warm-up, working in pairs with one ball, players must shield and protect the ball from their partner.

Change to use a different partner after 30 seconds so that players experience competing against different types of opponent.

Once players have practiced the technique, the coach passes a ball between the two players who must sprint to fight for possession.

The player who gets to the ball first must protect it and look to turn and shoot into either of the two gates. The defender must try to stop them.

If the defender wins the ball he can score by running over the end line with the ball.

Players need to adopt the correct technique for shielding the ball. This can be incorporated in the warm-up.

Players need to adopt the correct technique for shielding the ball. This can be incorporated in the warm-up.


Development

Add a neutral team mate to the practice.

The player in possession can now pass back to the neutral player and get the reward of a 2v1 situation to score in either of the gates.

Players race to the ball. The first to reach it must shield the ball before turning to pass through either gate.

Players race to the ball. The first to reach it must shield the ball before turning to pass through either gate.


Game situation

Play a normal game and look closely at situations where players have to shield and protect the ball. Do they do this well? Are they able to turn into space or use a team mate?

If there are not many situations arising then play a man marking game where players are given a player on the other team to man mark throughout the game. This will ensure sufficient 1v1 challenges are made.

Add a neutral player to give the first player to the ball a reward for holding off the defender.

Add a neutral player to give the first player to the ball a reward for holding off the defender.


What to call out

  •  “Use your body”
  •  “Be clever”
  •  “Can you turn?”
  •  “Use your friend”
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