"How to teach young players
shielding skills in a fun

Where does shielding apply to the game?

Shielding skills are important to be able to protect the soccer ball when under pressure from an opponent. A big part of shielding the soccer ball is being able to use the body to shield the soccer ball  using soccer turns like the sole, Cruyff turn and cut moves to get away from the opponent.

If the young player is successful in keeping possession by holding the player off he or she now has options to pass or dribble his or her way out of pressure.

The rules allow a player to protect his or her space if they have the ball...open to interpretation from some refs. :) A good ref will allow play to go on as long as elbows are not being thrown or a player trying to get the ball is not kicking the player in possession.

My kids keep turning into defenders and losing the soccer ball?

Part of getting the players comfortable on the ball is teaching them basic shielding skills.

  • Teaching players not to turn into pressure when opposing players are behind or next to the player with the ball will come with time and game experience.
  • The more techniques the players have developed, and the higher the skill level, the more the kids will be able to hold possession.
  • Learning some of the soccer dribbling moves and touches like using sole of the foot, Cruyff turn, pull back or using the outside/inside of the foot to turn away from pressure will help young players master the skill of shielding the ball.

Check out this shielding practice - kids will love it!

Steal the tail - shield game

Each player grabs a scrimmage vest from the coach and tucks it into the back of their shorts and lets it hang out like a tail.

Game: No ball, just free play, 1-2 minute game in a 15x20

  • The kids try and steal the scrimmage vests from the other players.
  • If the the player gets a scrimmage vest they tuck it back into their shorts.
  • The player who gets the most scrimmage vest wins.

Game: 1-3 minute game in a 15 by 15 grid!

Game: Add a ball and the players now have to dribble and protect the scrimmage vest. The players don't realize they are now shielding the soccer ball.

Variation: Tuck the scrimmage vest into the sock...maybe even more realistic than the tail.

Knock out is an old classic

Knock out

The players dribble around the grid the coach has set out.

  • If a player gets the ball knocked out of the grid they have to get the ball and do a forfeit before they come back into play.
  • The coach always lets the players decide the forfeit like, toe taps, foundation touches or juggles.
  • I will put a time limit on the game 1-3 min or a restriction of 3 lives. The life restriction works well if players are more advanced. If they get knocked out they can go and juggle instead of standing around.

The players have to use turns to get out of pressure. Shielding the soccer ball is a tough skill to learn and the players have to have very good soccer skills.

There are more advanced shielding skills that come into play when the kids get older, and there is less space on the field, better defending and more pressure.

Return to Soccer skills from Shielding skills

Return to Attacking soccer from Shielding skills

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Teach young players how
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Coaches, do you want to make soccer fun and motivate your players? Soccer patches are a great motivational tool that can be used for goals, assists, good defending or skills competitions. The kids love patches!!