Soccer Drills
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Soccer Shielding

Chris Johnson 68,717 Views

Soccer shielding is an important dribbling technique often used to keep possession in tight spaces. Shielding occurs when the player in possession of the ball positions themselves between the ball and their opponent creating a barrier with their body. The player simply uses their body as a shield to keep distance between the ball and the defender.

Soccer Drill Diagram: Soccer Shielding

Soccer Shielding, Shielding in Soccer

Soccer shielding is an important dribbling technique often used to keep possession in tight spaces. Shielding occurs when the player in possession of the ball positions themselves between the ball and their opponent creating a barrier with their body. The player simply uses their body as a shield to keep distance between the ball and the defender.

Soccer Shielding

Soccer shielding is an important dribbling technique often used to keep possession in tight spaces. Shielding occurs when the player in possession of the ball positions themselves between the ball and their opponent creating a barrier with their body. The player simply uses their body as a shield to keep distance between the ball and the defender.

Effective Soccer Shielding Skills

To perfect shielding  in soccer the player in possession of the ball should turn their body somewhat sideways to the defender with their knees slightly bent. Both of the player’s arms should be up and away from their body bent at the elbows. The arm closest to the defender will be used to hold off the defender (shield the defender) while the other arm is used for balance. The hands should also be used to feel the defender and can somewhat be used to manipulate the defender’s position. The shielding player’s head should be up at a position where they can see the defender and the ball; however, if they can feel the ball with their touch rather than looking at it they will be more effective. With a wide stance the ball should be held with the outside foot at the farthest distance from the defender, but close enough to maneuver quickly. The player shielding the ball should be able to move the ball with the soul of the foot, top of the foot, as well as the inside and outsides of both feet. Lastly, the shielding player should be able to quickly pivot and push or pull the ball into space farthest from the defender.

Coaching Points When Shielding

Here are a couple common mistakes that occur when players are learning to shield:

  1. Shielding players get caught flat footed and do not keep their body in between the ball and the defender.
  2. Whether it’s caused by not maneuvering the ball quick enough, or not moving their body quick enough they expose the ball to the opponent.
  3. Expose the ball to the opponent by holding the ball too close to their body.
  4. Players stand too straight up and do not get a low center of gravity.
  5. The shielding player’s stance is not wide enough.
  6. Shielding player is facing the defender exposing the ball.
  7. Shielding player has their back to the defender


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