Priorities for U8s

We (the coaches) had a chat at the end of today’s session to talk about priorities for our young players and I’ll give you the context for the discussion…

On Sunday the boys went to a football tournament (I wasn’t there) and we had two teams playing against sides from nearby towns and even a couple from London. Both teams lost most of their games and those who attended said our players seemed to struggle on a few fronts:

1) The other teams seemed bigger and stronger
2) They seemed to have more match awareness
3) They had more positional sense

These points make you think as a coach – am I / are we getting it wrong? Most of our focus is on developing the boys skills and encouraging them to try new tricks etc but I’m wondering if there are areas we’re not covering.

I’m wondering…were you a coach of this team, what questions might you be asking and, ultimately, would a bunch of defeats at a tournament bother you?


About Simon
Grassroots Football Coach

3 Responses to Priorities for U8s

  1. Simon says:

    Firstly, the coach is on the right path by having the ability for some self reflection. Secondly,a bunch of defeats at a tournament would not bother me as typically the games are very short, the weather is hot and the boys are full up on ice-cream and Haribo! With regards to points 1-3, you cant do much about the fist one – bar some steroids. In terms on your sessions, are the boys practising in isolation/unopposed too much? Are they being exposed to game related practices that challenge their technique and decision making. At grassroots we have very limited contact time, so i think 90% should be game related, but with isolation/unopposed ball manipulation/new skills being practised in the players own time. Maybe you could give each player 4 cones to take home and call it the magic square, which the players use to practice a particular skill. Progress could then be measured at the following session. I attended a Premier Skills course recently and their Level 1 program really gets you thinking about your own sessions and i definitely will be including some of the methods we covered on the day. All the best Simon.

  2. Sam Geeson says:

    I agree with the above coach. I have coached boys from ages 4 -18, Senior teams, both 1st’s and reserves and girls 14+ of which one now plays for England and GB. During this time i have coached children of very differing ability levels but feel that the same philosophy is in place within my coaching. This is that playing good technical football, being the best team on the pitch, win or lose is key. What you are doing in terms of improving your players skills is great but it does need to have a purpose i terms of results on the field in a footballing sense not just winning. Get your players to be comfortable on the ball in any situation and feel confident that they can pass there way out of trouble when possible. Work on support play without the ball so that a pass is always available to be made. Work on communication for this to be effective. Make training real in a match sense so that players get used to pressure from other players and they will then figure out there own ways out of problems. To conclude, at U8 it is not about winning but putting things in place for your players to be confident, skilled, technical players who by U10/11’s will be wiping the floor with these big, strong long ball teams you have been playing!!

    Hope this helps?

  3. Great comments guys, agree with your sentiments and will take your ideas on board for future training sessions.

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