Shielding the ball
Here are the 5 important factors when shielding the ball
Shielding the ball from a defender is an often overlooked skill in soccer and is rarely practiced. Too many players get rid of the ball too quickly when put under pressure from a defender.
It is very effective for the team if they know that they can play the ball into you, even though you are being tightly marked by a defender. That way, you can slow the game down, keep possession and allow your team mates to move into space and spread out the opposition.
Then when the time is right, you can lay the ball off into space and the team continues to keep position and advancing the ball towards goal.
As an example of a player who shields the ball well, look up some old videos of Mark Hughes playing for Manchester Utd. Or Kenny Dalglish when playing for Liverpool. Hughes used his strength and power to shield the ball from defenders, Kenny Daloglish was famous for using his butt!
1.Look to see where the space is
There is no point shielding the ball from an opponent if you end up running out of space on the ﬁeld and not having
any room on the ball. So as the ball is approaching take a look around you and decide where the most effective space is and begin to position your body between the ball and the opponent while heading towards the chosen space.
2.Look to see where your opponent is
As you have decided where the space is, now look and feel (with an extended arm or your lower body) where your opponent is and position yourself between them and then ball.
3.Decide what the end product of shielding the ball is going to be
Here are a couple of examples…..Do you want to shield the ball and then turn and shoot? Or do you want to shield the ball and then lay it off to a team mate?
4.Keep the ball within playing distance
In order to avoid being penalized by the referee for obstruction, you need to keep the ball within playing distance. What does that mean? Well you need to be able to put your foot on the ball from where you are. This avoids a player obstructing the path of an opponent to the ball.
5.Use your body to lean into the opponent, keeping your center of gravity low and feeling for where the opponent is while looking at the ball and preparing to execute the end product (pass, lay off, turn, shot etc.) Keep your feet moving so that you can adjust quickly to the movement of both the ball and the opponent as necessary.