Coaching U8/U9 soccer

Saints Rest

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This spring will be my second season of coaching my son (who's now 7) in a town rec league.

There are 11 kids on the team: one 9yo, eight 8 yos, and two 7 yos. We had our first practice last week and though all the kids say they have been playing for multiple years, including in this league, most of them still have very little in the way of decent soccer skills especially in game situations.

Last week, I structured by practice like this:
Start End Duration Activity Goal
5:00 PM 5:05 PM 0:05 Passing/dribbling Warm-up (this was just free-form play)
5:05 PM 5:10 PM 0:05 Intros getting to know each other (this was a couple minutes of each kid saying his name and how long he had been playing soccer)
5:10 PM 5:15 PM 0:05 Passing in shapes Spacing (this part became just passing practices with no emphasis on shape/spacing)
5:15 PM 5:20 PM 0:05 Dribbling close
5:20 PM 5:25 PM 0:05 Dribbling far
5:25 PM 5:30 PM 0:05 Water/chat
5:30 PM 6:00 PM 0:30 Scrimmage fun; put drills to practice

Some of them did pretty well in the drills, but once the scrimmage started, it was the worst type of kick and chase with no recognition of putting into practice what we had just worked on. I froze the scrimmage multiple times to remind them about spacing, about passing TO someone (not just kicking it), and about covering a man, not just chasing the ball. I even required three passes before shooting.

So I'm looking for help in how to help the kids to implement some of those things in the games.

I'd also love some ideas on fun drills to work on.
 

Freddy Linn

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Jul 14, 2005
8,793
Where it rains. No, seriously.
Just an idea from another sport...I coach boys' and girls' youth lacrosse, from third grade up to high school.

My kids were constantly asking me to scrimmage, but I don't find that time to be particularly efficient from an instruction standpoint. For years I've used a common lax drill that satisfies their competitive needs, involves everyone and is in constant motion with tons of touches, yet allows for me to blow a whistle to emphasize things we worked on and to correct behaviors in a game-like setting.

The drill is a continuous 3v2. We pull the cages up so that it is as small as 25 yards depending on the age group, up to 40 yards. Goalies or no goalies, doesn't really matter at the lower age levels.

To start, set up a 3v2 and go down the field. The offensive kid who touches the ball last (score/turnover) runs back outside the drill and returns to their "team" which is in three lines just behind the extended goal line (and on the first action, the two defensive players exit as well and then it gets continuous). The other two remaining are the 2 with three new offensive players joining. Repeat.

For the younger levels, as coach I initiate the 3v2 by passing it to a particular player. I can make sure everyone is getting touches this way and make the more alpha players improve off-ball.

At every level, we end every practice with 20-30 minutes of this. They love it.

Welcome to West Genny.