Week 4: Foot-Skills, Shielding, and Tackling


This week we turn our attention to foot-skills, shielding, and tackling. A player’s ability to control the ball, keep possession, and steal the ball are core to the sport of soccer. I have attached some helpful videos that I hope will help you see what the skill looks like and perhaps how to teach it. Please take a moment to either like or subscribe to the channels who have done such a good job in creating these video resources. Bayside Soccer and Coach Joe do not have any affiliation with these content creators.

First let’s define the terms:

Foot-Skills – This includes dribbling from a few weeks ago, but adds to it fakes, tricks, and turns.

Shielding – This is when a player uses their body to “shield” an opponent from the ball by keeping it between the player and the ball.

Tackling – This is the ability to steal a ball from an opponent using various parts of the foot. There are different forms of tackling and we will use most in the 8-9 and 10-12 Divisions. However, slide-tackling is not taught or allowed.

The Skills:


Practicing foot skills is incredibly important because if a player is confident with the ball they will also have more time on the field to make good decisions such as to pass or dribble, to fake or shoot. The following video is designed to be a sort of drill for kids to do at home in front of their iPad. Although it is long it does demonstrate very simply each of the foot skills that a young player should begin to develop.

This second video is also foot skills related but may be a bit more advanced. Still it is well produced and demonstrates how to train:


Shielding a soccer ball is a great way to keep possession of the ball when an opponent gets close and puts pressure on you. This video by All-Attack is a good demonstration of the basic body position:

This second video is also very good at explaining how to shield a ball from an opponent:



Now we come to tackling. This is a more difficult thing to teach because players are often afraid to engage a player like this. The first video is fairly technical and advanced, but demonstrates what tackling looks like most often. I hope it is helpful in showing you what college level tackling looks like.

This second video has more than is in the Bayside coaching manual, but it is an excellent description of different game situations and what tackles best fit those situations. I do hope that these are helpful for you.

The Drills:

Foot-skills and Shielding. It is helpful to do these two skills together. Shielding can easily fit into the squash and drag, and the v-turn for example.

  1. In a 25 x 25 step box made of cones have the players scatter throughout the box.  Demonstrate a skill. For example the V-turn and then ask the players to dribble around and on the whistle do a V-turn. Add 3 more skills such as the scissors, the step-over, and the squash and drag. Now give each skill a number: 1=V-turn  2=scissors 3=step-over 4=squash and drag, and introduce 5=sit on the ball. Granted this is not a foot-skill, but players should try to not be the last person sitting on their ball. Now have players dribble around the square at random. The coach calls a number between 1 and 5 and the players do the corresponding foot-skill. When the coach calls 5 all the players should sit on their balls. The last player to sit should do 10 toe touches.
  2. Play Marbles (you can find this in your coaching manual). Using the same square have each player dribble a ball around the square while trying to protect their ball and kick the ball away from any other player. If a player gets their ball kicked out they should practice their foot skills outside of the square until the last player is left. Shorten the square using the coaches as  a barrier when you are down to two or three players. Ask players to use their new foot skills to turn, fake, and protect their soccer ball.

Tackling: Click on the web-address to go to the drill.

  1. I highly recommend this practice format for when you teach tackling. It is well thought out and progressive from skill development to game like situations: https://www.soccercoachweekly.net/practice-plans/building-blocks/


Once again I cannot say thank you enough for coaching and being a part of building the best quality sports program in Delta County. Please continue to encourage your kids throughout the remaining weeks. One way you can do this is by finding the good things they are doing even if they don’t get the skills perfectly or they are not the most aggressive player on the field. I personally like to find one thing per game for each player and let them know what I noticed that they are doing well. For example I have a young lady on a team who struggles to kick a ball but her approach to the ball is very good. I tell her this and encourage her that she is making progress each week. Although our voice as coaches may be brief with these kids it can have a long term positive effect upon their lives. Let them leave the games this week knowing you noticed them and cared for them.

Thanks so much for all you are doing.

Coach Joe

Bayside Soccer Director of Coaching and Academy Coach