"Coaching a U8 soccer practice,
soccer players and soccer skills"

A typical U8 soccer practice should always include lots of skill work and fun soccer games. The kids are still learning to play the game and becoming more aware of what is going on around them. I like to start the practice out with some fun coordination games.

The young soccer players are becoming more aware of their team mates and these games help foster a sense of team and working together.

Warm up

 Coordination games...

  • The coach will divide the kids into pairs - not enough players for even pairs...make a group of three.
  • The coach will roll a ball out into space and the pair has to run and get the soccer ball - the only rule is that the players must both be touching the soccer ball when they bring it back to the coach - see how creative they can be.
  • The coach rolls the ball out and the pair has to dribble the ball back together.

Make it a competition and see who gets back first...

Fun soccer tag game

Once the players have gone through all the warm ups I like to play a fun tag game that really get the players going.

Tag games replicate soccer movements - quick stops and starts and changes of direction for U8 soccer practices.

  • The coach designates 2-3 players as taggers - they hold a scrimmage vest in their hands - NO SOCCER BALL FOR FIRST GAME!
  • The players cannot tag with the scrimmage vest, only the hand - once a player is tagged they get the scrimmage vest.
  • The players play 1-3 min games - if the player has a scrimmage vest in his or her hands at the end of the game they perform a star jump or a another funky exercise of the coaches choice.

Variation: The tagger keeps the scrimmage vest and the player that got tagged has to stand with his or her feet apart - like a gate - the other players have to free the player by crawling between the legs.

Add a soccer ball to this U8 soccer practice game.

Tractor - trailer

The coach pairs the players up - each pair has two soccer balls...

  • I encourage the players to make the tractor sounds - or adapt the game to their favorite computer game like a Wii game or DS game.
  • One player is the tractor and the other is the trailer - the trailer has to follow the tractor around for a minute and try to stay as close as possible.
  • When the minute is up the coach now has the players change roles.
  • I like to play a second round to see how close the players can stay - if they are more than five yards away I make them do a star jump.

Coaching points: Encourage the players to get their heads up when they dribble. Ask the player that is the tractor to throw some feints or moves in to see if he or she can get away from the trailer.

After a few games I like to work on some soccer moves like a step over or v-move for for 5-10 min.

Move the kids into a small sided games when the kids are finished having so much fun. My aim for the soccer practice is to get the players having fun and get as many touches on the ball as possible.

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