Coaching 8U 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 8 and Under 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
Practice Plans
Below are links to Sample Training Sessions designed specifically for the U8 Player.
A very special thank you to Ian Mulliner, Technical Director of Massachusetts Youth Soccer, to Mike Barr, Technical Director of Eastern Pennsylvania Youth Soccer and to their respective coaching staffs for developing these Practice Sessions and for allowing coaches across Louisiana to use them.