Can You Screen in Football? How to be an Effective Defender

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Screening in football is a lot like playing peek-a-boo with your opponent. You’re trying to block their view of the ball so they can’t get to it. But unlike peek-a-boo, screening is a legitimate defensive move in football.

So, can you screen in football? Yes, you can! But there are a few rules you need to follow.

First, you have to be close to the ball. Second, you can’t use your arms to push or hold your opponent. And third, you can’t make contact with your opponent’s legs.

If you follow these rules, you can use screening to be a more effective defender in football. So get out there and start screening!

What Is Screening in Football?

In simple terms, screening is when a player stands between an opponent and the ball in order to block the opponent’s view of the ball or their ability to reach the ball.

Screening can be a very effective defensive move, as it can prevent an opponent from getting to the ball and starting an attack.

You can think of screening as a subtle art. It’s not about being the biggest or strongest player on the field. It’s about being smart and using your body to your advantage.

When Can You Screen?

There are three rules that must be followed in order for screening to be legal in a game:

  1. The player must be within a reasonable playing distance from the ball. This means that the player must be close enough to the ball that they could potentially kick it.
  2. The player must not use their arms to push or hold the opponent. This is considered an impeding foul.
  3. The player must not make contact with the opponent’s legs. This is also considered an impeding foul.

What Are the Different Types of Screening?

Alright, let’s dive into the many forms of screening, shall we?

We’ll break each one down for you, give you some pointers on how to ace them, and guide you on which ones work best in different situations.

Physical Screening

This is the most common type of screening in football.

It involves using your body to block an opponent’s path to the ball. You can do this by standing between the opponent and the ball, or by running in front of the opponent to block their path.

To be effective at physical screening, you need to be super strong and athletic.

You need to be prepared to make contact with the opponent. At the same time, you must be careful not to push or hold the opponent, as this is considered an illegal foul!

Mental Screening

This type of screening involves using your positioning and body language to make an opponent think that you are screening them, even if you are not actually blocking their path to the ball.

This can be an effective way to disrupt an opponent’s concentration and make it more difficult for them to get to the ball.

To be effective at mental screening, you need to be aware of your opponent’s body language and be able to read their intentions.

You also need to be able to position yourself in a way that makes the opponent think that you are blocking their path to the ball.

When you’re mental screening, you need to be confident and assertive. You also need to be prepared to react quickly if the opponent tries to go around you.

This type of screening involves using a combination of physical and mental screening to prevent an opponent from getting to the ball.

Combination Screening

This is a blend of the two tactics.

For example, you might start by using physical screening to block an opponent’s path to the ball, and then use mental screening to keep them from trying to go around you.

Female football players competing on the football

To be the best at combination screening, you need to be able to use both physical and mental screening effectively.

You also need to be able to adapt your approach to the situation.

So if your opponent is a strong and physical player, you might need to focus more on physical screening.

If your opponent is a more technical player, you might need to focus more on mental screening.

Which Type of Screening Is Best?

The best type of screening for you will depend on your individual skills and the situation you’re in on the pitch.

If you’re a strong and physical player, you might be better at physical screening. If you’re a more technical player, you might be better at mental screening.

And if you’re a combination player, you might be able to use both physical and mental screening to get the game going your way!

How to Be a Good Screener

How to be a good screener in football? It’s simple! Just follow these three easy steps:

  1. Be big. The bigger you are, the harder it will be for your opponent to get around you. So eat your Wheaties and hit the gym!
  2. Be annoying. The more annoying you are, the more likely your opponent is to lose their cool and make a mistake. So get in their face, wave your arms around, and make some noise!
  3. Be lucky. Sometimes, no matter how good you are, you’re just not going to be able to stop your opponent. So cross your fingers and hope for the best!

Just kidding! (Or am I?)

Here are some real tips on how to be a good screener in football:

  • Be aware of your surroundings: You need to be aware of where the opponent is, where the ball is, and where your teammates are.

This will help you to position yourself effectively and to make sure that you are not screening an opponent who is not in possession of the ball.

  • Use your body to block the opponent’s view of the ball: This will make it more difficult for the opponent to see the ball and to make a move on it.
  • Be prepared to move: If the opponent tries to go around you, you need to be prepared to move and to keep blocking their path.
  • Don’t be afraid to make contact with the opponent: As long as you do not push or hold the opponent, you’re allowed to make contact with them to keep them from getting to the ball.
  • Be patient. Screening is not always about making a big play. Sometimes, the best thing you can do is to simply stay in front of your opponent and prevent them from getting to the ball.

Screening is an important defensive skill in football. By following these tips, you can become a better screener and help your team to prevent goals.

Examples of Legal Screening

Close-up of women football players outdoors on football pitch

Here are some examples of legal screening in football:

  • A player blocks an opponent’s path to the ball by standing between the opponent and the ball.
  • A player uses their body to shield the ball from an opponent.
  • A player runs in front of an opponent to block their path to the ball.

Examples of Illegal Screening

Here are some examples of illegal screening in football:

  • A player pushes an opponent with their arms to prevent them from getting to the ball.
  • A player holds an opponent’s shirt to prevent them from getting to the ball.
  • A player makes contact with an opponent’s legs to prevent them from getting to the ball.

The Final Score.

So, there you have it! Screening is a legal and effective defensive move in football.

But it’s important to remember that it’s not just about blocking your opponent’s view of the ball. It’s also about using your body to your advantage, and, getting into their head.

Screening is a great way to show your opponent who’s boss. It’s a lot like playing chess. You’re always trying to one-up your opponent and stay one step ahead. Just make sure you don’t get too carried away, or you might get a yellow card.

Next time you’re on the pitch, don’t be afraid to screen your opponent. Just remember to do it within the rules, and have some fun with it!

This article was written by

  • Mia Johnson, Fitness & Football Expert

    Hello! I'm Mia, a high school Physical Education teacher in Surrey, UK by day and a football blog contributor by night. My journey with football began just like any other enthusiastic player - on a local field, chasing after a ball and dreaming big. Football became my way to teach, inspire, and connect with others. In the classroom (and on the field), I'm all about promoting fitness, teamwork, and the pure joy of sports. Writing for the blog lets me extend this passion to a wider audience....