Under 8 advice needed

Discussion in 'Youth & HS Soccer' started by EMarcel, Oct 25, 2004.

  1. EMarcel

    EMarcel Member

    Oct 7, 1999
    On Under -8 is it best to let all players play different
    positions ( example, 1st qtr forward, 2nd qtr midf,
    3rd sit out and fourth defense)or is it better for their
    development to keep them in the same position the
    entire game and season.

    I lean towards letting them switch positions since we
    are speaking of 1st & 2nd graders and this is the fairest
    way to do it. It's been brought to my attention by a few
    parents that it should be the other way around.
    (naturally, their kids should be the forwards).

    What does everyone think?
  2. Gary V

    Gary V Member+

    Feb 4, 2003
    SE Mich.
    The kids should play all positions at some time. The exception might be goalkeeper - you shouldn't force a player who is scared stiff into that position.

    Some coaches have success in having them play one position in any given game. That works when players show up, and if when they have to be away they give advance notice. You might be preparing Ashley and Amanda to play defense this weekend, and when neither shows up, you don't have anyone prepared.

    Other teams prepare in practice for any player to play any position. Then the needs of the game dictate who plays where that week. (Let's face it, at U8 the skills required for a defender vs attacker is minimal.) Then if the attackers get more play and tire sooner, you can put in fresh legs for them.
  3. Grah

    Grah Member

    Sep 4, 2003
    How many players on the pitch at once?

    Try the no - position game, nearest person to the ball is first defender, next 2nd, everyone has to defend.

    Don't place parameters on kids that stop them from moving to help attack or defend, many a good goal scored by defenders.

    Are you practising with grids, then explain thats how they need to work together to form a grid on the field.

    Parents need to be educated as well, have a session were the kids just scrimmage and you educate the parents. As they will bound to be trying to help little u8 to understand how to play.
  4. EMarcel

    EMarcel Member

    Oct 7, 1999

    7 on the field including keeper.
  5. NHRef

    NHRef Member+

    Apr 7, 2004
    Southern NH
    At that age, everyone plays everywhere, I think this is very important, with the possible exception of keeper, if someone is afraid of the ball don't do that to them, but at that age shots will be mostly harmless anyway.

    The physical requirements for the kids of differnet positions can't be determined at this age, by this I mean, Johnny, who right now might appear to be an ideal striker, might 2 years from now, have the properties of a great sweeper. They need to learn and understand all the positions.

    Also at this age, the concept of positions is next to impossible, if you can get them to stay on the right half of the field, you will be doing great.
  6. napalm_dave

    napalm_dave New Member

    Mar 18, 2004
    New Orleans
    At this age, it is best to let players play different positions. However, when you move players around it is important to maintain certain amount of structure. You should try to move your players without destroying any team chemistry you have already created.
  7. EJDad

    EJDad New Member

    Aug 26, 2004

    The score doesn't matter at this age. Put seven kids out there, give them some general ideas (Jimmy and Johnny, play defense, Timmy and Tommy in the middle and Sean and Sam up front) Then LEAVE THEM BE! They wont stay in their positions, you will give up goals because they are "out of shape"
    But the most important things are that 1) They enjoy the game. If they love it they will play! and 2) as many players get as many touches on the ball as possible.
  8. Nesto

    Nesto Member

    Nov 3, 2004

    Here's what I think works...

    Everyone plays every position during the year with the exception of keeper. Any kid can opt out of keeper. But I ask the kid, not the parent. I might cajole a little because I really would like each kid to try it at least once.

    As well as I can, I have each kid play the same "position" for 2-3 games in a row. I'll split keeper time for each half with two kids. Usually the keeper from the first half will go to forward or midfield. I've seen more than a few kids pick up the ball as a fullback right after they played keeper for a half. Had one girl even scream out "KEEPER!" before she remembered just in time not to pick up the ball.

    I believe positions should be very loosely defined at this age. I'm much more interested in teaching the kids technical skills and early combination play than I am full tactical awareness. And I think the kids have more fun that way. (And ask parents not to coach and shout out things like "spread out!", "big kick", etc. all the time.)

    This is a good little article... http://www.osysa.com/allbunchedup.do
  9. Blitzz Boy

    Blitzz Boy Member

    Apr 4, 2002
    The West Side
    The local rec league got around to scraping the bottom of the barrel; so I too am now the coach of an under 8 indoor team.

    Should I have my victims, errrr, team do any warm ups or streching before playing?
  10. cleansheetbsc

    cleansheetbsc Member+

    Mar 17, 2004

    U8's are very limber, flexible creatures. Truth is, they really don't need to stretch from a physical standpoint. Their bodies can go from 0-60 mph without warming up the engine.

    However as 2nd graders, their attention and focus need to be adjusted, so in order to prep them for a game, you should get them to focus on the soccer game ahead with some simple warmups (give and goes, trap-move-shoots, etc) with a coach.
  11. soccrfn

    soccrfn New Member

    Mar 21, 2003
    If your sole purpose is to win the game at u-8(which 70% of coaches do even though they say they don't) , then play positions, create a system, and stifle the kids development.

    If you actually think that u-8 should continue to develop as players and as people, then move them around so they can learn different skills. Focus more on developing skills and simple, simple concepts of 1v1 defending, not so much defending as a team.

    Parents and even well-meaning administrators and coaches will try to sway you, but stand strong. It is the kids which is most important. Sure you casn score 8 goal with Johnny at Center Forward, but how does that help Jimmy and Erik always standing back on a line defending nobody.

    I just coaches a u-6 team, and a parent was impressed because the other coach who had 2 players standing at the top of the box "defending". (which I found to be a typcial thing to do) This parent said the other coach was teaching a "sophisticated defense". I laughed until I realized the parent was serious. I then noted at the end of the game that those 2 kids had did exactly as they were told and stopped 2 breakaways...well, my players just sort of stopped.... Besided that however, those 2 defenders stood on the goal box line the entire time, never moved, did not follow the game at all, touched the ball maybe once more, did not learn anything about "defending."

    But it looked "right" and the parents liked that the coach was "teaching" a sophisticated defense.

    As normal as it seemed, what they did not realize was this was a in hindrance to a young players development. Point is: at u6 and u8, try to not focus so much on the "team", but focus on the player and their development. The rest will naturally fall into place at older ages when they can comprehend more than 3 players at a time.

    Good luck.
  12. Blitzz Boy

    Blitzz Boy Member

    Apr 4, 2002
    The West Side
    What if one of my kids is left footed? Should I encourage him to play on the left so he will be less frustrated?

    For first & 2nd graders, is there any hope of teaching them to play with their "other" foot? (Left for righthanders, right for lefthanders)

    Or are they still too young for that?

    What about team treats? Is candy the only option, or should I try to encourage things like fruit?
  13. PSsoccer123

    PSsoccer123 New Member

    Jul 22, 2003
    I am left footed and I really wish I had started practicing my right foot when I was that age. The older you get, the harder it is to get used to using it instead and getting it up to par with your right. If he really wants to play on the left, you should encourage that, but also encourage him to play with his right foot some too.
  14. bigredfutbol

    bigredfutbol Moderator
    Staff Member

    Sep 5, 2000
    Woodbridge, VA
    DC United
    Nat'l Team:
    United States
    I think those parents are not only being unfair, they also don't understand what to do. You should ignore them.

    My son LOVES playing in back because he gets more touches. For what it's worth, he scores more goals from there as well. But leaving a kid up front waiting for what passes for 'service' at that age doesn't develop their skills very much.

    This thread is full of good advice. Listen to what the others have said, and ignore those parents!
  15. EMarcel

    EMarcel Member

    Oct 7, 1999
    Thanks for all the advise. Here's a new one........
    As my first season coaching is coming to an end, I find myself not wanting
    two players back (mostly because of their parents) for next season.
    I'm growing quite tired of the constant nagging & complaining. Not from the
    kid's but from the parents. Should I request that they not be placed on
    my team for next season and let them be someone elses problem?

    Is it normal for many of the kids to not return anyway??????
    Do you lose 4-5 kids from season to season??????
    Should I stop worrying about it and hope they dont sign up again???

    Plus, there are a couple of siblings of current team members who I'd like
    to add for next season. If I could just replace the mal-contented parented
    kids with these siblings, our team would be great.
  16. Gary V

    Gary V Member+

    Feb 4, 2003
    SE Mich.
    Depends on what your local policies are about keeping teams together. Some areas have "drafts" every year, where coaches select players. Others have random reshuffling.

    Our local association would not look kindly on a coach that wanted to drop players from a rec team. Teams stay together as much as possible. If the parents requested a new team/coach, that would be another matter.

    Neither would we approve of a coach requesting replacement players. Again, if the siblings asked to be placed on your team (actually to be placed on a team with their already-enrolled sibling), then we might be able to fulfill that request. It would depend on the needs of all the other teams, especially any new ones being formed. Sometimes it's better to keep teams at a single age, in effect creating a u7/u8 split division. That way players don't have to change teams every other year.

    If there's discipline problems with players, there may be cause for players to move teams. Sometimes just getting them with another coach can cause their behavior to change, there's a better personality match. If the problem is parents, then the coach is expected to deal with it. Help is available from Board members, more experienced coaches, the division manager, etc. But since soccer is for the kids, we don't want problems with the parents to govern things.
  17. Blitzz Boy

    Blitzz Boy Member

    Apr 4, 2002
    The West Side
    This is sort-of off topic.

    Seeing as we have gray shirts, one of our players announced that we should be the Silver Tornados.

    Why do 2nd graders come up with better names for soccer teams than MLS executives with MBA's?

    Also, any hints for how to involve the shy, smaller, younger kids?
  18. soccrfn

    soccrfn New Member

    Mar 21, 2003
    I called my 5 year old daughters left foot her "lucky" foot and she now uses both feet all the time. I just remind her every so often to use her lucky foot. Works like a charm.

    It' also a great idea to put a leftfooter on the right side and visa versa. But mayb emore at 7, 8 or 9. Ithelps develop eboth feet. Maybe frustartingatfirst, butonce they do it. they love it. It's also an advantage tactcailly too.
  19. cleansheetbsc

    cleansheetbsc Member+

    Mar 17, 2004
    2nd graders don't do exhaustive marketing surveys and lay out color pallets before coming up with a name.

    I usually name the team after EPL teams. Last season being the Magpies. Once the kids knew what a Magpie was, they appeared to like it.

    Anyway, I don't know if you are in a Travel (where most of the kids tend to be more driven, higher level of talent, etc) or Rec league. Our 2nd grade rec league play a 5x5 microsoccer format. We try to get the coaches to break the teams (without making it public to parents/players) between "aggressive" and "passive" players. Not really a breakdown talentwise, but just in tendencies to challenge for the ball.

    The reasoning is the aggressive kids, regardless of who they play with or against, will usually mix it up and get their touches on the ball. On a field of mostly passive players, that shy player you speak of, will have the opportunity to play the ball more often than they would with Johnny Steamroller on the field. It tends to build their confidence against a similar mindset of players.

    Where you need to be alert, that in a team of say 16 players, you will usually have a bell curve of 3-4 aggressive and 3-4 passive players. The rest would be your group of "average" players. They should be interchanged with the aggressive/passive players, even at halftime, to mix it up to give the average kids opportunities with both groups. Also, there should be no difference in the amount of playing time between each group.

    Hope this helps out the Tornados.
  20. Blitzz Boy

    Blitzz Boy Member

    Apr 4, 2002
    The West Side
    I probably should have figured this out; but I have a left footer! Yeah! I will see if I can get him to use his Lucky foot.

    Thanks for your help, everybody.

    Not that I'm an expert after 1 practice & 1 game. But I noticed that one kid raised his leg up too high to stop a ball. Everybody does it, but I suppose that now is the time to see if he can take the extra step & stop it with his chest.
  21. moribaseball

    moribaseball New Member

    Dec 12, 2000
    New York
    most kids dont seem to want the ball to hit their body not sure why
  22. SoccerPro843

    SoccerPro843 Member

    Dec 3, 2004
    Austin, Tx
  23. SoccerPro843

    SoccerPro843 Member

    Dec 3, 2004
    Austin, Tx
    PLay Sharks and Minnows. I think someone on the team should know how to play it if you don't.
  24. chinaglia

    chinaglia Member

    Jan 25, 1999
    Florence, SC USA
    Motherwell FC
    Nat'l Team:
    United States
    Kids should be moved around. Develop a soccer player, not just a defender or forward. Get the kids to develop good habits. Educate the parents that your mission is to have the kids have fun and develop a love for the game. Winning is so far down the list of priorities for kids at this age. Tell the parents you will be challenging the kids to get better every time they step on the pitch, whether practice or games. Help the parents see the "big picture" and not just the wins, losses or the goals. It all starts with the parents.
  25. glasgowceltic

    glasgowceltic New Member

    Jan 12, 2005
    1st I would not allow parents to speak to the coach, let alone nag. Pick a team manager and ask that all parent contact go thru the manager.

    2nd - Keep in mind that positions during games doesn't matter much for developement at that age. Practice means far more. A player might touch the ball only a few doz. times during a game while he should touch the ball more than 1,000 times during a well run practice.

    3rd - If you run a well organized team then word will eventually spread and your problem will be too many kids wanting to play on your team.

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