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8U Coaching Guide


 Components of the Game for the 8U Age Group*

Technique: Experiment with the qualities of a rolling or spinning ball. Introduce ball lifting, juggling, block tackle, receiving ground balls with the inside and sole of the foot, shooting with the inside of the foot, toe passing and shooting and dribbling while changing direction. Introduce the push pass.

Fitness: Agility, eye-foot and eye-hand coordination, balance, leaping, bounding, tumbling, catching, throwing, pulling, pushing, warm-up activities and movement education. Continue education on sports nutrition with players and parents.

Psychology: Encourage working in pairs, sportsmanship, parental involvement, how to play, emotional management, creativity, dynamic activities, participation of all players and a safe and fun environment. There is still a short attention span unless the player has peaked (keep interest high). Like to show what they can do – encourage trying new things. Developing self-esteem – activities should foster positive feedback and attainable positive success.

Tactics: Back line and forward line, 1v1 attack and choosing to dribble or pass. Introduce the names of positions (fullbacks and forwards). Institute games of 2v1, 1v2 and 2v2, playing with the ball with a purpose and promote problem solving.

*Please note that the components of the game are in a priority order for this age group.


The training session must be player-centered with the coach as a facilitator of the soccer experience. With this age group it is necessary to be adaptable.  Allow youngsters to play with little coaching interruption and get them thinking. Throughout the season, allow the players to experiment and discover the ball skill being taught on their own. The coach should occasionally demonstrate skills, or have someone demonstrate a few times during the session. Also during the session, call out one or two of the key coaching points on how to execute a ball skill. Praise loudly and positively when a player does a skill correctly – positive reinforcement. Encourage them to try to do new things with the ball throughout the soccer season. While it is still important for the training session that each player has a ball, paired activities will now be done as well as individual ones. Encourage the players to cooperate through passing or helping on defense by running back toward goal. Cooperation in pairs is the foundation to teamwork. Now that children are at an age where they can play together purposefully and toward a common objective, work on cooperative partner activities

 Typical 8U Training Session

• Should not exceed one hour.
• Free play or a warm-up, each player with a ball, dynamic stretching and soccernastics. -approximately 15 minutes-
• Some individual body awareness activities.
• Introduce partner activities.
• A mixture of individual and partner activities. Add more maze-type games. Introduce target games with a variety of player combinations: 1v1, 2v1, 1v2 and 2v2. -approximately 25 minutes-
• Conclude with a Small-Sided Game of 4v4, two goals and no goalkeepers. -approximately 20 minutes-

Coaches should devote the end of each training session to playing 4v4 practice games. Fun games can also be played involving small numbers, especially 1v1, 2v1, 1v2, 2v2, 1v3, 2v3 and 3v3 leading up to the final activity of 4v4. Through these games, expose the 8U age group to the principles of play. It is important to ensure each child has a ball and to focus on fun games. The benefit of the increased number of touches on the ball is irreplaceable. Be well prepared and have a selection of game-like activities planned while keeping in mind these young children have short attention spans.


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AYSO Region 128

Pellissippi Soccer Complex, 2340 Solway Road
Knoxville, Tennessee 37934

Email Us: [email protected]
Phone : 865-694-8368
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