Soccer Session for Shielding the Ball

Shielding the ball in soccer is a valuable skill that is sometimes overlooked, this soccer session for shielding the ball will give players the confidence to be able to protect the soccer ball under pressure in a variety of different scenarios.

These scenarios will range from shielding the ball from an attacker so the goalkeeper can collect the ball, shielding the ball in the corner to run down the clock, or protecting the ball from a defender as a striker so you can bring your team into play.

This soccer session for shielding the ball will make it a lot harder for opponents to steal the ball from your players.

The soccer session will last 90 minutes

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Shielding the ball soccer session

Warm up – royal rumble soccer game

Time: 15 minutes

Set up:

  • 1 soccer ball per player
  • 20 x 20-yard area


Create your area and make sure every player has a soccer ball.

The aim of this game is for players to maintain control of their soccer balls while trying to kick other players’ soccer balls outside of the area.

once a player’s soccer ball gets knocked out of the area they will only be able to come back in as a defender (without a soccer ball).

The defenders are allowed to steal the ball from players.

This will mean that even if a player gets their soccer ball kicked out right at the start of the game they will still have a chance to win the game.

The player that is the last one left in the area with a soccer ball at the end will be the winner.

Coaching points:

  • Use your body to protect and shield the ball
  • Keep your head up so you can see what is going on around you
  • Take small quick touches to keep the ball close to you

Questions that can lead to coaching points:

  • How can you protect the ball?
  • What can you do so you know what is going on around you?
  • Why do you want to take small touches?

Activity 1 – 1v1 shielding

Time: 20 minutes

Set up:

  • 10 x 10-yard areas per pair
  • 1 soccer ball per pair


With this area, you can create easily by dividing your 20 x 20-yard area into quarters.

Place a pair in each of the areas with a soccer ball, with one player becoming the defender and the attacker.

The attacker will start with the soccer ball, shielding it from the defender.

The aim of the defender is to try and force the ball outside of the square, if they do this they will win the round and get 1 point.

however, if the attacker is able to hold onto the ball for 15 seconds the attacker will win the round ( the defender is the player that counts).

The player that has the most points will be the winner.

To make this more competitive you can introduce a ladder system, so players that win the round will move up a square, and players that lose the round will move down a square.

Coaching points:

  • Shield the ball in a side-on-body position
  • Bent your knees and bear your weight on your back foot
  • Control the soccer ball with your front foot (this will be the foot furthest away from the defender)

Questions that can lead to coaching points:

  • What position should your body be in when shielding the ball?
  • How can you brace yourself so you are stronger on the ball?
  • What foot should you be controlling the ball with? Why?

Activity 2 – 1v1 Shielding the ball progression

Time: 20 minutes

Set up:

  • 10 x 20-yard area per group of 4 players
  • 1 Soccer ball per group
  • 2 goals


You can set this area up by dividing the 20 x 20-yard area in half. with 2 goals being placed opposite each other in the middle of the 20-yard line.

For this soccer drill, there will be 4 players.

There will be 2 players on each 10-yard line opposite each other and these will as the target players.

The other 2 players will start in the middle one player will become an attacker and the other a defender.

The aim of the attacker is to receive the ball under pressure from the defender and playback to the target player.

The target player will then switch the ball to the target player on the other side.

This will count as 1 point.

If the defender is able to steal the ball at any point, either through the pass being played by the attacker or the pass switching it to the opposite target player, they can score either of the 2 goals for a point.

The player that has the most points will be the winner.

Make sure there are 4 rotations each lasting 5 minutes so everyone is able to be the defender and the attacker, as well as the target players.

Coaching points:

  • Receive the pass the using and side on body position
  • Control the pass using your front foot
  • Extend your arm behind you and make contact with the defender (this will help you know where the defending moving without having to look behind).

Questions that can lead to coaching points:

  • What body position should you be in to receive the ball?
  • Which foot should you use to control the ball?
  • How do you know what the defender is if you cannot turn round?

3v3 small-sided game

Time: 20 minutes

Set up:

  • 25 x 40 yard area
  • 1 soccer ball
  • 2 goals
  • 2 teams of 3


Set up the field like a regular game of soccer however divide the area in half.

For each team, there will 2 defenders and 1 attacker in each half.

For a defender to move across the halfway line into the attacking half they must pass the ball up to the striker.

The defender can then move into the attacking half to support the striker.

Coaching points:

  • Play the ball into the striker as early as possible
  • Communicate your movement with the attacker so they know where to play the next pass
  • As the attacker makes the ball stick, hold the defender off long enough to give your teammate a chance to support you

Questions that can lead to coaching points:

  • When should you play the ball into the striker?
  • How does the striker know what space you are planning on moving to?
  • As the striker why is it important to shield the and hold the ball up?

A regular game of soccer for the last 15 minutes

Soccer Session for Shielding the Ball Conclusion

Learning to shield the ball in soccer is an important skill but sessions that focus on this can sometimes be repetitive and boring.

The aim of this soccer session for shielding the ball is to make shielding the ball fun, and competitive and help players understand different scenarios they can shield the ball for different successful outcomes.

Remember, the key to successfully protecting the ball from the opposition is a side-on-body position, with your body between the defender and the soccer ball.

Make sure you are consistent with your coaching points throughout the session and throughout the season.

If you have any other drill ideas that you could include in this soccer session for shielding the ball let me know in the comments.

Also if you know a coach who would find this soccer session for shielding the ball useful please share it with them using the social buttons on the page.

Thank you!


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The Youth Soccer Coaching Handbook

Take the stress out of coaching youth soccer with 250+ pre-made soccer sessions and drills, just turn up and coach!

Here’s the breakdown of what you’ll find inside:

  • 35 Defending Drills
  • 35 Dribbling and 1v1 Drills
  • 21 SAQ Drills
  • 47 Passing, Control, and Possession drills
  • 31 Goalkeeper drills
  • 36 Shooting and Finishing drills
  • 30 Soccer Games U4 – U8
  • 20 Pre-made soccer sessions (90 minutes in length each)

Soccer Session for Shielding the ball PDF