- Created on 16 March 2014
- Written by jack miler
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Shielding is a skill that allows players to possess the ball by placing their body between the defender and the ball.
Playing the ball free requires a number of specifically developed Shielding skills, including shielding and feinting, which allows a player in possession to create space to play/pass the ball or to move away from an opponent. In tight situations playing the ball free presents a lower risk factor than when trying to dribble past opponents.
The fundamentals necessary to help a player successfully receive the ball under pressure and to create more time in preparation for shielding or playing the ball free include:
• Good basic ball control skills
• Moving into free space before receiving the ball
• Proper timing of when to come off the marking defender before receiving the ball
• Good understanding between the player passing the ball and the player receiving the ball
• Pace and accuracy of the pass
• Observation of the surrounding field of play before receiving the ball
• If possible, the pass should be made to the unmarked side of the receiver
• Feinting before receiving the pass
When and How to Practice Shielding
Once young players are fairly well coordinated and have a good basic skill level, specific practice for Shielding skills and playing the ball free should start. Important points to remember when practicing shielding practice are:
• Sufficient space to work – 10 players in the
18 yard box (18 yards x 44 yards) as a guide
• Each move should be explained and demonstrated by the coach
• Each player works in their own space at their own pace
• Up to six moves can be introduced and practiced in this fashion
• Practice the moves in pairs. The player on the ball is put under light pressure by their teammate. Alternate ball possession
• All players, each with a ball, practice shielding in a 20 x 20 yard grid. The players move around at random and use each other to shield the ball. The coach could indicate which move to use
• Players can use their imagination to use cones, teammates, or lines as opponents to practice shielding
• Each player has a ball and they work in pairs. The pairs are spaced about 6-7 yards apart as shown in Diagram 1. The drill begins with the last pair who dribbles forward with the ball on the outside of the line. Each time they reach another pair; they execute a Shielding skills move and then take a standing position 6-7 yards past the last pair. Then the next pair repeats the drill. The line moves the length of the field and back. The same principle can be used in a single line zigzag formation as shown in Diagram 2.
• Each player has a ball in a 20 x 20 yard grid. The players try to kick the ball of their teammates out of the grid while protecting their ball. The last two in the grid win
• Same as an above but with additional pressure. All but three have a ball. The three free players have one minute to kick as many balls out of the grid as possible.
Three players are in a 10 yard x 10 yard grid with each standing in a corner. A tries to dribble to the open corner. C runs over to prevent A from getting there. If A can’t get into the open corner they dribble back to the original corner and B tries to get to the open corner. C tries to prevent B from doing so.Change Cup often. It is tiring.
• Four players are in a 10 x 10 yard grid with two playing 1 v. 1 in the grid. The other two are stationed on the line outside the grid on opposite sides. The object for the player with the ball is to keep it. The player in possession can use the outside “walls” to support them. The player with the ball can change places with the player on the side at any time.
• 4 v. 3 in a 30 yard x 30 yard grid. The four players have 1 the ball and work to keep it from the defending three. Set a time for each bout of work.
• 3 v. 4 in a 30 yard x 30 yard. The three in possession try to keep the ball under grid tough defending situations with four defenders. The players in possession must use all ball shielding skills to be successful.
Shielding and Playing the Ball Free Moves
Outside of the foot shield: Dribble the ball with the outside of the right foot. Make 2 sure you touch the ball every time the right foot comes forward. To change the dribbling foot, step to the right with the right foot. The ball is now in position to be played by the outside of the left foot. Important points:
• Keep the ball close to your feet
• Don’t look at the ball ONLY. Look around the field and see what problems may arise
• Start at a slow pace and increase speed as you get comfortable
• Add pressure by dribbling with teammates in a confined area or adding a defender
The V Move: Use the instep of the left foot; dribble the ball forward at a slight angle toward the right foot. Keep the toes of the dribbling foot pointing down. Pull the ball back with the sole of the left foot, pivot to the left on the right foot and push the ball forward with the inside of the left foot. The ball forms a “V” shape. Repeat the move every five yards and alternate feet. Important points:
• The V move works well under pressure to play the ball free
• After the completion of the V move, the player changes pace for three or four yards
The Roll Back Turn: Dribble the ball forward on the right foot.Shielding skills Reach out and pull the ball back with the sole of the right foot. Pivot turn on the left foot. Plant the right foot and play the ball forward in the opposite direction with the instep of the left foot. Important points:
• When you pull the ball back, let it roll, don’t stop it
• Turn quickly, plant the right foot and go
• This can be used for shielding OR playing the ball free
The Pull the Ball behind the Standing Foot Move: Dribble with the instep of right foot. Use the sole of the right foot to pull the ball back. Don’t plant the right foot. As the ball rolls past the standing left foot use the inside of the right foot and then play the ball left with the outside of the left foot. Important points:
• Reach out to the ball with the right sole to start the move
• Practice the move and alternate sides
• Once the move is mastered insist that it be performed at high speed and have the player accelerate with the move
The Step over the Ball Move: Dribble the ball with the right foot and envision a defender coming at you from the left. Step sideways – right to left – over the ball. Plant and pivot on the right foot and play the ball away with the left inside of the foot. Important points:
• When the challenge comes from the left side, step over the ball with the right foot across the top of the ball.Shielding skills It should be a long step toward the opponent. That will shield the ball from the opponent
• If the challenge is from behind, step straight over the ball on the right side, pivot and go in the opposite direction.
The Tap outside Foot Move: Dribble forward with the right foot. From well behind the ball, take a long step over the ball. As you step, turn the right foot so you can play the ball with the outside of the right foot. Chop the ball back in the opposite direction and let your left foot make the next touch. Important points:
• Stretch out the right leg from well behind the ball
• Bring the leg straight over the ball
• As the right leg is passing over the ball, rotate the right leg to the right
• Chop the ball by the foot actually touching the ball before the ground
• When learning this move use slowly rolling balls
The Inside Turn: Dribble forward at a slight angle with the right foot touching the ball each time the foot comes forward. Roll the ball back towards the body with the sole (toes) of the right foot. Pivot and touch the ball with the inside of the left foot. Dribble five yards and do it again. Important points:
• Practice the pivot and turn without the ball
• Reach out with the sole (toe) of the right foot pull it back quickly and shield the ball
• Once the move is mastered, increase the speed
• Practice with both feet
The Pull across the Body and Step over Move: Dribble with the instep of the right foot. Reach out with the sole of the foot and drag the ball across the body to the left side and Shielding skills. The right foot then steps forward, providing a shield against an opponent, and the ball is pushed left with the inside of the left foot. Important points:
• Practice at first with a ball that is not moving
• Practice the drag and step by it first
• Practice the complete move with a ball that is not rolling
• Later roll the ball slowly
• As always start slowly and increase speed
Shielding skills moves should be learned by age 14. These can be practiced every day. Using some of these activities in a warm-up will help the players become comfortable with shielding the ball.
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