Sometimes the other team's defensive skills far outpace your dribbling skills. No amount of fancy footwork is going to get you past them. You're desperate to pass the ball, but no one's open. You know you have to protect the ball at all costs, but what can you do? It's easy. You put your body between the ball and the defender and continue dribbling, keeping the ball very close to your feet but as far away from the opponent as possible.
This is also called shielding the ball. You are acting like a protective shield placed between the defender and the ball.
It takes quite a bit of skill to shield the ball for a long time, so you really only choose this option when you have every intention of getting rid of the ball quickly. Look and listen for a teammate who has come to help you. As a last resort, you can also try to escape by making a strong fake move with your body in one direction. If the defender goes for it, then take off in the other direction.
When you are shielding the ball from an opponent, remember your arms are off limits. Not only can't you use them to touch the ball, but you also can't use them to keep your opponent back. Use your body to block him from the ball. Don't hold out your arms.
Practice Makes Perfect
You'll be able to practice a ton of shielding, turning, and faking if you play a little one-on-one with a friend. Set up two goals — they can be as simple as T-shirts on the ground that you have to hit — and then try to score.
Shielding the ball