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Coaching U8 Players

If a coach fails to understand the cognitive abilities of the kids he or she coaches, he or she may create expectations and demands beyond his players' developmental abilities. Practice sessions won't be as fun and rewarding for the players.  Here are some typical characteristics of the Under-8 player.
  • Attention span is still limited.
  • Inclined more toward activities in pairs or small groups
  • Still in motion and still want to be active rather than listening.
  • Beginning to see the world from others’ perspectives
  • Still unable to think abstractly – beginning to recognize the concept of time and space.
  • Beginning to understand sequence – “If I do A, then B will happen”
  • Still very sensitive and dislike personal failure in front of peers.
  • Aware of adult reactions and seek approval – be reassuring and supportive.
  • Beginning to emulate and imitate heroes and idols.
  • Beginning to develop physical coordination and muscle memories.
  • Still lack sense of pace. Go flat out.
  • Some become more competitive
Below are links to Sample Training Sessions designed specifically for the U8 Player.
Under the guidance of Technical Director, Ian Mulliner, the full-time coaching staff of Massachusetts Youth Soccer publishes a series of youth soccer lesson plans each season. These lesson plans take the developmental stages of children into account and are organized by age group.  These lesson plans are the results of years of developing curricula and hundreds of hours of practical coaching experience. We are presenting these Lesson plans with the permission of Massachusetts Youth Soccer and with extreme gratitude for their dedication and commitment to teaching the game in a fun and safe environment.


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