Soccer Skills:

Coaching U8 Soccer

Focusing on the Fundamentals of Soccer

Tactical

As players progress from U6 soccer to U8, they are becoming aware of their surroundings and you’ll be surprised when they remember concepts taught in last practice and begin to use them in the new session. But, don’t expect your players to have this new found skill consistently. It has nothing to do with “paying more attention this time around,” but rather young players developing. Still, players at this age are not capable of executing the complex schemes that you’ve witnessed older teams play. Continue to focus on technical skill development.

U8 Soccer Tactics

 

Fitness

U8 soccer players still own immature bodies and can only be expected to do so much. They still have a high energy V8 engine, but only expect it to run for just a few miles before pooping out to the sidelines. Activities should be short to allow for ample water breaks. Keep a close eye on players as their will to want to please may overcome their common sense of overheating. Players at this age have naturally loose, limber bodies and generally do not need stretching. The notion of sprints, running or warm-up laps should be quickly erased from your mindset.

U8 Soccer Fitness

 

Technical

Fear is a key driver at this age. In short, social has become an important part of their being and players don’t want to mess up. Using this knowledge, we want to create players that are comfortable with the ball – on their own terms. Technical soccer skills should be a main focus for this age group. Continue to develop comfort on the ball by emphasizing drills that use a 1 to 1 ball to player ratio and more than 1 soccer goal. Coaching is all about helping players overcome their fear of the ball and their fear of messing up. You will have done well if players are willing to “try things” without hesitation – you will have helped overcome the fear.

U8 Soccer Skills

 

Psychological

Players at U8 have fragile egos and crave acceptance as they being to understand social ramifications. A great way to help players at this age grow and develop is to have older players come to practice to demonstrate. Simply by watching and providing role models, players will become more motivated and learn through osmosis. Unlike U6 players, U8′s begin to understand boundaries (time and space) and you can loosely introduce them, but don’t make it a focus and cause frequent stoppages of play.

U8 Soccer Psychology

 

Team Management

All soccer coaches should be positive and enthusiastic. Coaches of U8 players must keenly be aware of the psychology of this soccer age group: learning by watching is a key tenet as well as helping players overcome fear of ball and fear of failure. Players will develop at different paces, so find that balance between challenging advanced players and providing ample time on the ball for less developed ones. Players find joy and success in scoring goals at this age. Parents will still take an active interest in players – utilize these parents to help practices run smoothly. And, as always, communicate with your parents – don’t make them guess what’s going on!

U8 Team Management

 
 

Soccer Skills

Find Fun Soccer Drills that Will Challenge your Players

Soccer Coaching Blog
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Area of Soccer:
Team Management

Winning Over Player Development? [Basketball Video]

Yes, a basketball video – because the content is completely in parallel to soccer. Besides, sometimes we have to change our view to improve our vision. Stan VanGundy from the Miami Heat discussed the importance of skill development in our youngest players. No matter the sport, the principle remains the same: at our youth stage, […]

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Area of Soccer:
Team Management

Managing Volunteer Turnover (Part I in a 2 part series)

Volunteer turnover is a problem in almost every youth sports organization.  Most youth sports leagues are 501 (c) 3 non- profit organizations and rely heavily on volunteers to handle most mission critical tasks ranging from registration, communication, team building, board members and the list goes on. At Blue Sombrero, we work with thousands of youth […]

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Area of Soccer:
Team Management

How to Know if Your Soccer Players “Get it”

As coaches, the only way we can develop players from stage to stage is if we can build on what they’ve learned. No matter if it is tactics or technical – we have to be sure before we move on. As we rush to put on our training sessions and move through our ‘session plan’, […]

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Area of Soccer:
Psychological

Mental Toughness in Soccer: Interview with Simon Hartley

The concept of “Mental Toughness” is a tried and true rallying call for most teams. Every coach wants players who are ‘mentally tough’, but really what does that mean? I had the opportunity to interview Simon Hartley, our resident Soccer Psychology Advisor, about this hot topic. Simon provided his thoughts in an earlier article about “What […]

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Area of Soccer:
Psychological

What Does Mental Toughness Look Like?

Many coaches talk about mental toughness, but do we really know what true mental toughness looks like? Simon Hartley, Soccer Psychology Adviser to Soccer Classroom, tackles this topic.

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Area of Soccer:
Psychological

Are you Soccer Tough? [mjpurpleaces]

It always cracks me up when I attend recreational youth soccer matches and hear parents yelling to five and six year old kids to “put on their game faces.” Don’t these well-intended parents know that these kids have no idea what a “game face” is on the field? I came across an excellent article from […]

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Area of Soccer:
Tactical

Soccer Formations – An overview

“Football is a simple game made complicated by people who should know better.” – Bill Shankly Formations, part of soccer tactics, are a description of how the players on the pitch are positioned. These formations are altered as and when teams are more defensive or offensive and are used at every level of the game […]

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Area of Soccer:
Psychological

The Delicate Psychology of Momentum in Soccer

I just watched my home town team, who I have supported since I was about 8 years old, snatch defeat from the jaws of victory. They conspired to lose a Cup tie to a team two divisions below them. In the first game, my team were 2-0 up with 10 mins to go. In the […]

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Area of Soccer:
Team Management

Evaluating and Selecting Youth Soccer Coaches

Guest author and parent-coach, Barry Saltzman, takes an in-depth look at evaluating and selecting youth soccer coaches – and it’s impact on the game. He highlights some awesome resources for coaches and makes some excellent suggestions for teams and clubs to step out of their comfort zone to improve the game. Click to read about how you can improve your soccer program!

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Area of Soccer:
Team Management

My Personal Youth Soccer Coaching Philosophy

I’ve received a number of requests from readers to share my own personal coaching philosophy. These requests mostly came from the article about “How to Develop a Coaching Philosophy” as well as people who signed up to receive our free soccer coaching book. This is my letter of introduction to the parents of a competitive U11 soccer team. It also weaves my coaching philosophy throughout.

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