Shielding and physical contact

The first of these drills requires an 8 x 8 grid for each pair pf players in your group.

The two players are working on shielding the ball. One player starts with the ball and when the coach says “go” the other player tries to win the ball from the first player who is trying to keep the ball by shielding. If the second player wins the ball, then she tries to shield the ball for the remainder of the 10 seconds. The key is to emphasize that the player without the ball is trying to legally win the ball and that soccer is a CONTACT sport so this is a great way to work on it. This can be done as a competition where each player starts with the ball 10 times and see who has the ball the most times at the end of the 10 second periods. See the diagram below for the setup.


Next, switch from 2 players to 3 players in a grid. Start with a player in each corner with the ball in the middle. When the coach says “go” each player tried so win the ball and keep it by shielding it from the other 2. This also should be done as a contest. If the ball goes outside of the grid, they all lose that battle. See the diagram below for this setup.

Shielding the ball

Now that the players are used to winning the ball and keeping it, we now add winning the ball, keeping it and then going to goal. Start with two lines approximately 25 yards from the goal. When the coach says “go” the first player in line A sprints around the goal going toward the post nearest her first. At the same time, the first player in line B goes around the goal toward the post closest to her. The ball is on the top of the 18 and the first player to the ball, wins it, shields it until she can find the opportunity to turn and then goes to goal. If the second player then wins the ball, she then goes to goal. This drill works on conditioning, aggressiveness, shielding, finishing, goalkeeping and defence. The coach should have the next two players in line start as soon as the two in front of them get near the ball. This drill can have as many as 12 field players going to one goal without there being too much standing around. See the diagram below for the setup.


The last step in this progression is to have a 6 v 6 game with two goals on a small (40 x 30) field. The ball gets served into the middle and either team can win the ball and score on either goal. This will encourage the players to fight to win the ball since defending in this game is very difficult. Be careful to watch for fouling as it is possible for this game to get out of hand if not monitored properly.