Updated Sunday July 10, 2016 by Ben Craigo.
Our club is working together with Eastern Pennsylvania Youth Soccer (EPYSA) to standardize on their training plans for our Intramural training curriculum. The link to the plan is below.
Development Stage for U7/U8
When coaching U7/U8 players, it is important to understand where they are developmentally. Massachusettes Youth Soccer sums it up nicely:
"In order to make practices run smoothly and be fun, it is important to have a basic understanding of the intellectual, emotional, and physical developmental stage of the players we are coaching. Here are some typical characteristics of the Under 8 player:
- Enjoy playing in pairs
- Are now able to take another’s perspective.
- Still unable to think abstractly – be patient.
- Cooling system still less efficient than adults – still make sure to give frequent water breaks.
- Still prefer playing to watching – keep everyone active during practice.
- Limited attention span
- Have an understanding of time and sequence – “if I do this, then that happens”.
- Some now have a third or fourth speed in addition to stopped and as fast as possible.
- Very aware of adult reactions – be very aware of your reactions.
- Seek out adult approval and need reassurance – be supportive.
- Begin to become aware of peer perception – a social order is beginning to develop.
- Wide range of abilities between children at this age
- Beginning to develop motor memories
- Some become more competitive
- Less active imaginations than U6 players"
The U7/U8 Curriculum
The U7 and U8 age groups will use the U8 training plan from the EPYSA. A couple of notes to go with the developmental goals of the season:
- Developing comfort on the ball through dribbling is still a primary focus. Use of all parts of the foot and both feet are important.
- In addition to the pull back (see U6), introduce the following...they can be introduced in your dribbling activities:
- On passing and shooting, players should lock their ankle
- Focus on keeping head up while dribbling - not necessarily striaght ahead, but just picking head a little can see ball and other players
- Heading should not be taught
Rules of the Game for U7/U8
- Break every eight minutes for water
- No goal keepers
- No heading allowed
- No offside
- Throw-ins - start them off doing a standing throw-in then work up to running throw-in for distance
- During goal kicks, opposing team retreats to about mid field
- Enforce touchlines and goal lines
- Only call fouls, and give free kicks, on:
- Deliberate handling - obviously grabbing for ball with hand or making themselves "big". If the arms/hands are close to the body and the ball hits it that is NOT handling.
- Tripping or pushing