There are so many basic skills in soccer but one highly essential soccer skill that is often overlooked in the beginning stages of training is how to shield a soccer ball. This is because this skill cannot be practiced without game scenarios or scrimmage practice. When a beginner player begins to train, the focus is mostly placed on individual skills that involves the soccer ball. But how to shield a soccer ball should also be one of those basic skills that every soccer player should know how to do. This is important because shielding the ball will help you protect and keep possession of the soccer ball.
The most important thing in shielding is to use your body to keep possession. Turn your body sideways between the ball and the opponent. When an opponent comes running to you or when he’s already pressuring you, turn your body against him and use it to cover or shield the ball.
Remember to bend your knees, lean your body towards the opponent, and lower your butt. Do not stand upright. This will give your body strength and balance against the pressure of the opponent.
Extend your arm to feel the opponent but don’t push. Extend your arm just enough so you know where the defender is positioning himself.
Stay close to the ball and don’t reach for it. Place your non kicking foot between your opponent and the ball. Control the ball with the foot that is farther from the opponent. For example, you’re controlling the ball with your right foot and the opponent pressures you on your right side. Transfer the ball to your left foot so your non kicking foot is actually blocking the space where the opponent can just easily reach for it.
If you get off balance easily, it means that you’re not bending properly and you’re most probably standing upright. So remember to bend your knees and lower your butt to the ground. Be confident and believe that you own the ball.
Shield the ball when no passing options are available. Shielding gives your teammates enough time to run to you and look for open space so you can pass them the ball. You should also shield the ball in tight spaces such as in a corner, or when you’re at the edge of the touch lines. And shielding the soccer ball can also be used to perform set plays. When your teammates are not in their intended positions yet, you can actually shield the ball from the pressures of the opponents by holding the ball as your teammates get to position.