BELOW: “Shielding” – Shielding is a fundamental skill used in many sports but is used mostly on defense or in the midfield to keep opponents from taking the ball or it allows time for your teammates to come back and position themselves for help. Skilled shielders will also use this tactic to gain a significant advantage by creating a preferred angle to hit exit passes.

BELOW: The “Block Tackle” – Block tackling is a fundamental skill that makes a huge impact wherever you are on the pitch. Block tackling will help you win the ball against highly skilled players but it takes focus, strength, and a bit of courage. Remember to keep your foot at the mid level of the ball, push your body “through” it, and use your weight and balance to take the ball back and prevent scoring opportunities from your opponent.

BELOW: John Walker, head coach at Nebraska, demonstrates a great defensive drill to get players to apply tacking, shielding, exit passing, and using a “wall” player. Consider adding a “box” for possession to keep ball tight to player possessing. They may hit the ball into the “offensive” popup goal or “defensive” popup goal.

BELOW: Coach Dave Sarachan of the LA Galaxy teaches defenders how to use their feet to stay in prime position when defending in order to keep offensive players on their non-shooting foot and slow them down to allow teammates to recover in order to help win back possession.

BELOW: Keep your defense compacted to push opponents to the wing and minimize their scoring chances.

BELOW: Body position and posture is key to defending properly. It’s about technique and fundamentals. Use your weight, size, and speed to your advantage.