Framework for Player Development
U8 Individual Skill Development
-Technique/Technical: A player’s ability with the ball, a certain skill set (dribbling, passing, shooting, receiving).
-Tactics/Tactical: Decision Making (both individual decision making and group decision making).
-Dribbling: The art of keeping the ball close to you as you run or walk.
-Receiving: Settling, stopping, or directing the ball as it comes to you.
COACH: Passionate about children. Enhancement of U6 soccer knowledge. Know basic rules of corner kick, goal kick, indirect kick, kick-off, drop ball and minor fouls. Encourage sportsmanship. Should play with players. Coach must be enthusiastic and sensitive. Wins and losses do not matter. Nurturing manner.
TECHNIQUE: Enhancement of dribbling skills using all foot surfaces. How to receive and control the ball. Starting to learn how to pass. Don’t encourage players to just kick the ball down field. Start to encourage controlling it and trying to keep possession. Learn to shoot. Every player must have their own ball. 75% of practice should be on technique. Left and right foot with every activity. All activities are to be done with a ball.
TACTICS: Players begin to understand themselves and a friend. Rotate players in different positions. Width and spreading out on the field. Move up and down the field as a unit. Penetrate defenses with quick passes. Understand restarts. Still heavy emphasis on individual technique rather than group tactics. Lots of 1v1. 2v1 and 2v2 towards goal. Plenty of repetitions.
PHYSICAL: Improved eye, hand and eye, and foot coordination is improving but not completely mature. Can be self centered. Skeletal system is growing. Need full rest periods and plenty of water. No separate running should be done. All activities with a ball. They still lack a sense of pace and tend to exert themselves hard and then drop. They are now starting to develop some physical confidence in themselves and they are still into running, climbing, rolling and jumping.
MENTAL: Need constant reinforcement. Focus is on them and their friend. They are beginning to develop time and space relationships. Easily bruised ego. Make it fun. They have a great need for approval and have a fear of failure. They feel if they tried hard then they performed well (regardless of the activity’s outcome). They are beginning to show a limited ability to tend to more than one task at a time.
SOCIAL:From a social perspective they have a great need for approval from adults and like to show off individual skills. Negative comments carry great weight. Their playmates start to emerge and they will start to move towards small groups. They want everyone to like them at this age. You should be positive with everything that you do.
U8 Soccer Curriculum
12 practices per season
-6 dribbling practices.
-5 dribbling/passing/receiving practices.
-1 dribbling/shooting practice.
Areas of Focus (Technical)
-Three aspects to dribbling past an opponent.
a. Change of speed (from slow to fast).
b. Change of direction.
c. Moves/Deception with the ball.
-At U8 the focus on dribbling to beat an opponent should emphasize change of speed and change of direction. Most 7 year olds struggle to grasp moves and feints. Basics moves should be introduced as the season progresses but the focus should remain on changing speed and changing direction to beat an opponent.
Areas of Focus (Tactical)
1. 1 v 1 (decisions made on how/when/where to beat an opponent)
- 2 v 1
-To endlines (focuses on dribbling to score)
-To balls placed on cones (focuses on passing/shooting to score)
-To two small goals (focuses on passing/shooting and also decision making)
-To big goals (focuses on passing/shooting)
3. 2 v 1 + 1
-Same as #1
4. 2 v 2
-Same as #1