The new age group ratings for suggested practice and drills in soccer are helping coaches to build stronger teams. By focusing on u8 soccer drills, you can help kids to develop skill, agility, stamina and endurance on the field.
These fun soccer drills for u8 teams also help kids to stay motivated about playing.
Soccer is a team sport that has its foundation in individual effort, and developing effort into skill is what coaches really start to do as they leave the u6 range.
In u8, kids begin to reveal their strength and weaknesses that you can help to even out with steady practice drills.
It is a difficult age as kids begin to notice themselves as part of social groups, and as wanting more autonomy than when they were 6. Keeping the u8 soccer drills fun will help keep your team in harmony.
Some of the most important youth soccer drills u8 age practices involve dribbling. While many of the players in this age group will have some ability to dribble, this is the age when you want to increase their control over the ball while moving. Here are some great u8 soccer drills for dribbling:
Hat Dance: Give every player a ball. Have them alternate tapping the ball with each foot. Each time they tap the ball, they should step to the left or right when they bring the foot back to the ground. This will result in them moving in a full circle around the ball.
The goal is to tap and step in a full circle without the ball moving. As they master the moves, pick up the speed and call out which side to step to, mixing up the sides so it becomes a fast and fun dance.
Tic-Toc: Many kids will be familiar with a variation of this boxing drill from the u6 group. In this one of the u8 soccer drills every player has a ball and the idea is to hit the ball back and forth between your feet so the ball is always in motion, and set you are neither moving forward or backward. Use a timer and play elimination rounds.
Fun soccer drills for u8 always play off familiar games so turn Tic-Toc into a form of musical chairs, when you stop singing (or blow a whistle) everyone has to step to the ball to the left until you blow the whistle or sing again and they have to do the drill.
When you are working with the u8 group on passing skills it is important to remember that this is the age when coordination is just developing, and developing at different rates.
Pick passing games that don’t have a lot pressure as far as competition, and are also related to common playground activities so that they are easy for this age group to understand. You want to explain less and practice more with fun soccer drills for u8 groups. Here are a few passing drills that are always successful:
Tug-of-War: For this passing drill you will need about 16 cones, one colored soccer ball and one regular soccer ball. Set the cones up to create 4 long but even lines. Have the kids separate into two even groups and stand between the first two lines of cones on each side, facing into the empty center. Place the colored ball in the center.
Taking turns, each child has to kick a ball to hit the colored ball over to a child on the other side that you designate as the receiver. Do that a few times until everyone understands the feel, and then change the challenge. Allow everyone to kick their ball to try and hit the ball over to the other side, or to keep it away from their side. No one is allowed to go into the center. This drill develops push pass skills.
Keep-Your-Yard-Clean: For this passing drill you need 8 cones, an even number of players and a ball for each player. Create two 40 square grids and put an equal number of players (each with their own ball) inside each grid.
The players may not leave their grid area and there should be at least an 8 foot channel between the two grids. When you blow the whistle, each player is trying to get their ball into the other player’s grid. Once it is in the other grid, that side can pass it back.
The goal is to have the least amount of balls in your grid when the whistle blows again to end the round. Once everyone has the idea down, change it up. Call out which foot and which type of pass they have to use during the round. Don’t penalize them if they get it wrong, but correct them verbally.
Soccer Drills For U8 That Build Stamina And Aggressiveness
Dealing with the aggressiveness that is inherent in soccer is something that you can begin to address with fun soccer drills for u8 groups that let them get used to the idea of being competitive and physically aggressive, without becoming frightened or bullying. One of the best youth soccer drills u8 for aggressiveness is called “Controlling-the-air.”
Controlling-the-air: You will need half as many training balls as you have players. Set up cones to define a 40×40 area. Split the players into two teams and have each team stand outside of the area in a line on opposite sides. Through the balls into the air in the center of the area, that is the single for the teams to enter and to capture the balls by returning them to their home side outside of the area.
They cannot capture the ball by just kicking the ball out, but they have to dribble it out. While they are in the area, any player can take the ball away from them. Use time limits with this game and allow for rest in-between. It can be a good idea to bookend this with another of the u8 soccer drills that reinforces dribbling skills such as Tic-Toc.
Soccer Drills For U8 Groups Should Also Build Team Work
One thing that is important to remember is that this age is when social grouping begins to start. To prevent “cliques” from forming on your field, make sure to keep mixing up the u8 soccer drills so that everyone gets practice and experience, but there will be less of a focus narrowed on who isn’t doing a drill well.
The u8 soccer drills were created as guidelines based on average physical abilities of this age group, they aren’t a demand for ability – but they are structured to help your players develop into the best that they can be.