U8 Resources for coaches

Working with 6-7 year old players means that you will be asked to engage, entertain and entreat them. While it is a chore to keep their attention sometimes, there are other times where they will act like a sponge and pick up everything you ask them to do.

As a high school teacher during the day, I constantly encounter peers who say that they couldn't deal with a group of 6 and 7 year olds. With a spouse who is an elementary school teacher, I hear comments from her peers about how they couldn't handle older children. For some reason, that has never been an issue for me. I don't know why, but I can coach any age and not be intimidated or uncomfortable. For over 20 years, I have taught parent coaches how to work with the U8 player. The past seven years, I have been able to watch these coaches then go out and try to coach. This is not to say that a 4 hour training session or a season's worth of experience will make someone a master coach, but I should expect to see some improvement in the level of coaching over time. Unfortunately, I still haven't found the magic formula to help parent volunteer coaches become skilled at coaching the U8 age group. I can now conclude that the coaching course and the parent/coach behavior system (Cheer don't Steer) and the model training sessions I have run over the years have had little effect on the quality of the coaching for this age group.

So I have decided to provide some additional support for coaches:

I got some player volunteers and their parents and coaches to help me make a model session video for you. In this video, I run through one complete session and give you some pointers about how to coach and what to coach this age group. While this is geared for a younger age group, many of the activities will still resonate with the older players. In addition, it will allow you to see how I manage a practice that focuses on skill, is fun and challenging to the kids.

U6 model sessionvideo

U8 coaching manual (not the grassroots model)- I wrote this in about 20 years ago and there is a lot here that I would still use and some activities I wouldn't (like alligator crossing). It gives a good framework for organizing a practice and information about how to work with players.

Games to play: I also searched Youtube to find some activities and games that are appropriate for this age group and assembled them into a playlist. 

You can also refer to my previous blog posts including:
a model training session and

U8 level games including "Red Light- Green Light" and "Pinball."

Here is a link to an earlier post that details our U8 game modifications to let you know how to run your u8 game.

Show these videos to your players to handle some typical game situations. In the videos, the two teams are yellow and not yellow. In all of these situations, the goal is to play the ball to a teammate and not to the other team.

Goal Kick

Free Kick (after a foul)

Corner Kick

If you have volunteered to coach, then this presentation from Sam Snow, the US Youth Soccer Director of coaching can help you.

Still want more help? I offer a U8 group training session on Mondays from 5:30-6:30 on field 7 that is open to teams and individual players. Come on your own, bring you child or your team. We always have a lot of fun and play hard.



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