At the U8 level players will make significant progress. It’s the ideal age for learning. They are mentally and physically ready to play sports. The kids are more coordinated, very active, tire easily, but also recover quickly. From the 4v4 game at U6, we are now stepping into the world of the ‘real game’; Seven versus Seven (6 plus a goalie). This is a very exciting change for the players (and the parents…). As a coach don’t put too much emphasis on the positions on the field. Only at the beginning of each half and when you are bringing in a substitute talk about the 1-3-3/1-2-3-1 formation and the positions. During the game your instructions don’t have to go beyond; ‘win the ball back’, ‘go forward’, ‘spread out’ and ‘don’t steal the ball from your teammate’. Let the kids play! Keep the game going and don’t forget; everyone attacks and everyone defends!
The focus for this age group at practice is still on technical skills.
The theme continues to be; Becoming Friends With the Ball. The ball to player ratio should be 1 to 1 or 1 to 2.
· Understand basic concept of soccer and the soccer rules but now in a 7v7 concept
· Improve basic technical skills; dribbling, passing, receiving, shooting at the goal
· Improve basic tactical skills; positioning in 4v4 and 7v7. Better understanding of the positions. They know the positions but forget when the ball starts rolling.
· Improve basic motor skills and movement
· Have fun!
· Small sided games; 2v2, 3v3, 4v4, 5v5
· Technique; dribbling, passing, receiving, shooting, 1v1 duels
1. When you arrive at practice immediately set up a field with two goals and have your players start to play a game right away. Get them in a soccer mode!
2. After about 10 minutes start with your practice session. Follow the lesson plan as closely as possible.
3. End practice with a game. Play either 4v4 or 5v5 (with substitutes of necessary), but don’t make the games any larger. It is useless to have a pile of twelve six year old kids on top of each other. You can also set up two games of 3v3. Just make sure the play a lot.
4. At the end of practice talk about the upcoming game for a couple of minutes. What went well and not so well during the last game and what do we have to think about during this upcoming game.
Seven versus Seven, or six plus a goalie, is the ideal game format for this age group. It is the next step towards the 11v11 game. The biggest difference from 4v4 is obviously the addition of a goalkeeper and two more field players. Seven versus Seven still guarantees many touches on the ball and players are still constantly faced with the three main soccer moments; attacking, defending and transition.
All DSC teams play Seven versus Seven in a 1-2-3-1 shape; one goalie, two defenders, three midfielders and one forward. T Only at the beginning of the game talk about the 1-2-3-1 formation. With a sheet of paper, cones or a dry erase clip board with magnets you can simply point out the positions; goalie, right and left defender, central midfielder, right and left midfielder and one center forward. During the game your instructions don’t really go beyond; ‘win the ball back’, ‘spread out’, ''go forward', and ‘don’t steal the ball from your teammate’. The moment when your goalie has the ball in his hands is your opportunity to remind them to get in the shape; defenders to corner of penalty box, outside midfielders to the sideline and center forward as deep as possible. But let the kids play. Don’t be a joystick coach. Keep the game going and don’t forget; everyone attacks and everyone defends!
1. Field Size; 50 yards x 30 yard rectangle
2. Goal size; 6 feet x 18 feet
3. Playing time; 2 x 25 minutes.
4. Ball size 4.
5. Substitutions can only be made when the play is dead.
6. No off side.
7. Start the game, second half and after a goal is scored with a kick off in the center of the field. Both teams have to be on their own half at the moment of the kick off. Opponents have to be five yards away from the kick off spot.
8. When the ball goes over the end line a goal kick is awarded, however, at U8 the goalie can kick the ball out of his hands or throw it. This will make the game flow better.
9. At the U8 level a goalie can pick up a back pass. This is not permitted at the U10 level.
10. If a PK is awarded the ball must be 8 yards from the goal. Do not award penalty kicks when a player is protecting his face/body with his hands.
11. When the ball goes over the side line the ball will be brought back into play with a throw in. Ball in the neck with two hands. Both feet on the ground. An in-correct throw in can be done again by the same player.
12. After a foul is made (handball, pulling, tripping) a direct free kick (the ball can be shot directly at the goal) is awarded. The players of the defending team must take 5 yards distance.
13. Teams switch sides after halftime.
14. Coaches and parents cannot be on the field. Only the players and the referee are on the field.
Opening Day or Jersey Day -according to the kids- is a great opportunity for you as a coach to set the tone for the upcoming season. You get to know your players and their parents and have the opportunity to make clear what the players can expect this season. Here a short guide line for you.
During your parent meeting have your assistant run a game with your players.
A. Introduce yourself and your assistants.
B. Goals; FUN, become better soccer players, become soccer fans and hopefully win some soccer games.
C. Practice and game times (early is on time, on time is late, and late is never…)
D. Inform parents about the parking situation. Don’t park on the grass or illegal; you will get a ticket!
E. What to wear at practice and during games (shin guards are mandatory and go under the socks).
F. DSC is against snacks after practice. Handing out a snack after every physical activity sends the wrong message. Physical activity does not automatically mean you get a treat… After a game go with a healthy snack. Pieces of apple, grapes, peeled clementine in a sandwich bag, carrot sticks with raisins for example. Also, kids don’t need sports drinks like Gatorade. Water is good enough.
G. Parents’ behavior on the sidelines; no coaching from the sideline! This only distracts and confuses the kids. Be positive and cheer for everyone, also for the opponent. Be positive in the car on the way home. Parents should really only ask this question; “Did you have fun?”
H. ‘Like’ Delaware Soccer Club on Facebook for last minute cancelation of practice/games due to weather.
I. Quick overview of the 7v7 game; 7v7 rules, substitutions, equal playing time.
J. Other info you think is important to share.
A. Name Game; Put your players in a circle. Use one ball. Coach passes first ball to a player. This player tells the group his/her first name and what school he/she goes to. Loud and clear, please! When the player is done introducing him/herself the ball he/she passes the ball to another player, and so forth.
B. The Seven versus Seven Formation; Set up players in a 1-3-3 formation to show them the different positions.
C. The Throw in. Two players, one ball. One player stands on the side line and throws the ball in to his/her partner, who passes the ball back. After five throw ins switch roles.
D. Game Time; make two teams and play a game.
· When taking a throw in, the feet must be on or behind the touchline, with both remaining on the ground throughout.
· Stand facing the field, with your feet apart and part of both touching the ground.
· Place your hands firmly on either side of the ball, with the fingers apart and pointing straight ahead.
· Take the ball behind your head so it is touching your neck. At this point the fingers should be pointing backwards and the elbows should be pointing out to the side.
· Throw over your head on to the field, bending your back more for power.
· Follow through with the throw.