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U8 Characteristics of Player Development

Characteristics of Player Development

The U8 age group

The purpose of this curriculum is to help trainers and coaches understand the characteristics of this age group and then use age appropriate training sessions. Each weekly link is not a progression to the last one but will give you lots of ideas to make your training sessions enjoyable and fun.

The curriculum guidelines are meant to be flexible as all players of the same age are certainly not at the same developmental level. It is important we challenge all players at a level that befits their ability

The information is not solely based on observation and experience in soccer, but also on research and practice in psychology, child development, physiology, child education, and learning theory.

The MLU Technical Dept. hopes you will all use this curriculum to guide your teams and to help insure our players are being provided the best soccer environment possible.

Characteristics of the U8 Player:

  • Skeletal system is still growing
  • Growth plates near joints can be injured
  • Cardiovascular system less efficient than adult - child peaks sooner and recovers slower
  • Temperature regulation is less efficient than adults - child elevates core body temp more quickly and takes longer to cool down than adult
  • There is perceivable improvement in pace and coordination from U6 to U8 however the immaturity of a U-8’s physical ability is obvious
  • Limited ability to attend to more than one task at a time – simply controlling the ball leaves little capacity for making tactical decisions
  • Movement is forward and backward
  • Limited experience with personal evaluation; effort synonymous with performance regardless of the actual performance
  • Very fragile self-concept and body image
  • Very sensitive; negative comments carry great weight
  • Approval seeking
  • Play soccer because it’s fun, intrinsically motivated
  • Their universe has expanded to the neighborhood
  • Playmates will prefer small group activities
  • Will share ball with close playmates
  • Team identity starts to emmerge
  • Desire for everyone to like them
  • Most influential person is most likely father or significant parent

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