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While U8 soccer drills should be fun, and engage young players through interesting activities, this is the time to move toward the technical aspects of the game as well, so that they start learning essential technical skills. These drills will help increase their positional and dribbling skills and help create an awareness of their surroundings. You can mix these with their existing U6-U7 drills and gradually move towards these U8 soccer drills completely.
1) Simon Says Dribbling Game—Making Instructions Fun
This one has all that you need from a dribbling game, and more. The rules are engrossing and while it may take some time to get accustomed to it, it sure can be worth it.
Create a grid (around 20*30) with cones and position the players inside a grid. Give them each a ball.
Now let them dribble the ball, making sure that they stay inside the grid.
Give them instructions, like changing directions, stopping the ball, trying to kick the ball etc. They should only follow instructions preceded by “Simon Says”. If they follow the other instructions, give them a point.
The player with the least point wins.
This game will improve both their dribbling and listening skills while making the session a fun game. It will also teach them to control the ball better.
2) Trying to make a Goal—a 1v1 game
In this game, one player stands defending the goal (defender). The other players (attackers) stands in a horizontal line a few yards away, facing the defender.
The defender calls out the name of one of the attackers.
On hearing his name, the player dribbles the ball towards the goal and tries to get past the defender.
Once an attacker’s turn is over, he returns back to his position, while the defender calls out another attacker’s name.
This games goes on for a period of time. Each player takes turn becoming the attacker and defender.
The attacker gets a point for each goal, while the defender gets a point for defending each goal.
The player with the most point wins.
This will improve a player’s listening skills, dribbling skills, kicking skills and help him the ball under control while trying to move it to a focus area.
3) Keep Space Clean
For this drill, divide the players into two groups.
Position each group in two grids made by placing eight cones (four for each square) in two squares of 40×40 each.
Place an equal number of balls in each group.
Now, when the whistle is blown, the players start passing the balls in their grid to their opponent group’s grid. This goes on for a few minutes till the whistle is blown again.
The group having the least number of balls in their grid wins.
This drill focuses on teamwork, as well as helps players develop their passing skills and also aid in improving the movement and speed.
4) Game of Tag
In this drill, a player stands in the middle with a ball in his hand (defender).
The other players (attackers) are on one side. They have to dribble the ball to the other side, or to the finishing mark.
On the way, if the defendant touches any of the attackers, then that person also becomes the defendant.
In this way, the game goes on, till the defendants outnumber the attackers.
You can also start out with multiple number of defendants if you want. Players take turns in starting out as defendants.
This drill helps them improve their dribbling skills, and also teaches them how to dodge opponents and maintain control of the ball till their finish line.
5) Zombie Drill
Make a large grid with two four cones and a smaller grid inside.
There will be a couple of players in the small grid—the “zombies”. The other players will be in the outer grid, each with a ball.
The players in the outer grid will pass to the other side through the smaller grid. Inside the smaller grid, the “zombies” will try to steal the ball from the player. If successful, the zombie will go out and that player whose ball was stolen will become the zombie.
This game helps in developing dribbling, defending and movement skills of the player.
The above drills will engage the players as well as teach them the basics of the game.