I was talking to a coach this week about how to control balls in the air, especially when heading the ball in training is off the menu for most clubs. I imagine that there will be much more of a contest to win the ball with a volley once it has dropped from head height. So how do you coach controlling balls in the air? MORE
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
- Competing for the ball and then shielding away from the opponent.
- 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.
- 30x20yd area.
|Warm up||Session||Developments||Game Situation||Warm Down|
|10 minutes||15 minutes||20 minutes||10 minutes||5 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.
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.
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.
What to call out
- “Use your body”
- “Be clever”
- “Can you turn?”
- “Use your friend”