Different people excel in different sports. When it comes to soccer, performance is highly dependent on the kind of training that one receives.
People who receive proper training are, of course, more likely to succeed in the game compared to those who don’t.
Soccer drills are crucial for skill enhancement in this beautiful game. Whether it is for amateur or professional sports, soccer drills have proven to be a great way of training and instilling skills.
Soccer drills are essential for the development of kids’ soccer skills. U8 soccer drills are mostly fun and involve a wide range of exciting activities, and the aim is to impact the kids with essential technical skills.
Different drills help with different skills, and it is crucial for coaches to plan the exercises plausibly to ensure maximum benefit for the participants. In this article, we will delve into some of the top U8 soccer drills that you can engage in.
The objective of this drill is to teach kids dribbling, close control, passing accuracy, and pace. They also learn one-touch passing.
A 30 by 10-yard area is recommended, to be marked with cones placed 5 yards apart along the length. Players are split into four teams of 4 players each. You need 10 balls for this drill.
Players from 3 of the teams form a channel by standing on either side of the designated area in pairs. The players will play one-touch passing back and forth when the coach calls.
These one-touch passes act as lasers meant to shoot down the fourth team –the invaders. The invaders aim to dribble through the channel, one player per zone at a time, and avoid having their ball hit by the lasers.
If a laser hits the attacker’s ball, they are shot down, so they leave the channel at that point. The target is to dodge the lasers and reach the safety zone that is at the end of the channel. The winners are the team with the most invaders reaching the safety zone.
If none of the teams make it to the safety zone, the team that made the most progress is declared the winner.
The coach may introduce timing to make the drill more fun and challenging. With this, the quickest team to get to the safety zone wins. The coach may also allow the passers an extra touch so that they can shoot more accurate lasers.
This drill’s objective is to promote accuracy and weight of passing. You need a square pitch measuring 30 by 30 yards. Players need to be split into two teams of 8 players each.
All players from the two teams start from either side of the grid. When the coach calls, the players attempt to knock the opponents ball out of the grid with their own ball while making sure that their own balls do not leave the designated grid.
If a player ’s ball leaves the grid, they have been shot down and must leave the grid as well. The winning team is the one with the most competitors remaining in the grid at the end of the battle.
The main objectives of this U8 soccer drill are to enhance passing, dribbling and timing skills of the players. The angle of forwarding runs and play switching are also learned through this game.
A 30 by 45 yards area is divided into three 15-yard zones. You need ten players for this drill, who are divided into two teams of 5 each. You also need cones and balls.
The team in possession of the ball must play a specified number of passes within each zone. Five is a good number of passes for each area.
Once the number of passes is achieved, the team will then attempt to enter the next zone by passing or dribbling through one of the star gates.
The opposite players are not allowed to simply stand in front of the gates to block the ball from passing into the next frontier.
If the ball is played through a gate and the player that passed it through follows it into the other zone, all the other players can then move into the new zone.
Here, the process begins once again. No one is allowed into the next zone unless the player and the ball have gone through to the zone.
The objective of the drill is to move from one end of the pitch to the other and back again while passing through any combination of gates.
When one of the teams loses possession to the other team, the other team faces the same challenge. If ball possession is lost while in the central zone, the team that gains possession must get into an end zone before the process can begin again.
One of the recent progressions in this drill is that players are not allowed into a zone before the ball gets into the zone.
This is an early introduction to the offside rule. Kids also learn timing runs and passing into space in this activity. It is important that you keep plenty of footballs nearby for replacement purposes to keep the game flowing with no breaks.
This is a fun U8 soccer drill aimed at enhancing skills such as dribbling at pace and changing direction. The kids also get better at disguise and establishing attacking space.
You need a 40 by 30 yards pitch divided into 5 zones. Twelve players are divided into two teams of six. You also need one ball for this game.
One of the teams starts in the middle – this is the team of zombies! The other team goes to an end zone.
The team of zombies aim at ‘biting’ players while keeping their balls close and within touching distance when they hand-tag a runner. The runners are the other team.
The runners do not have balls, and their challenge is to go from one end zone to the other without being ‘bitten’ by the zombies. When a runner is tagged, they automatically turn into a zombie, get a ball from the side of the pitch, and start hunting for runners.
The winner is the last runner to get ‘bitten’.
At the start of the drill, it is hard to catch runners because there are few zombies. It becomes easier for the zombies and harder for the runners as the game progresses.
Coaches can use smaller balls to improve skill levels and make the drill more appropriate for younger kids.
Adding specific gates that runners must escape through can also be done for skills enhancement.
Behind enemy lines
With this drill, kids will develop skills on passing through the opposing team and defense mechanisms. They also learn about anticipation and getting behind defenders.
A 45 by 30 yard area is divided into three 15-yard zones. Twelve players are split into three teams of 4. You will need one ball for this exercise.
Two allied teams start at the two end zones while the enemy team begins in the middle zone. The challenge is for the two allied teams to pass the ball across enemy lines.
The game starts by one of the teams passing the ball amongst themselves. They then attempt to pass the ball into the other end zone through the opposing middle team. The pass must be below head height.
Should the pass be intercepted or is a miss hit out of the area, then the team switches with the enemy team. The team that loses the package, therefore, tries to win it back.
The number of completed passes through the middle zone within a specified period (usually 3 minutes) is noted, that is if the ball is not intercepted before the end of the period.
For drill enhancement, the coach can allow one member of the enemy team to enter the end zone with the ball possession.
This enemy tries to apply pressure by attempting to take possession of the ball. Also, another member of the enemy unit can stay in the other end zone to try and intercept the package in case of a successful pass through the middle area.
This is a very effective U8 soccer drill as it demands teamwork and fast decision making on when to make passes and when to drop off. This drill also makes accurate passing necessary for success.
Block passes by the opponent side
This drill is aimed at developing the defense skills of participants.
The drill requires a 15 by 30 yards area and two goals at each end. The pitch should be divided into three zones, two goal-zones, and the midfield.
The players need to be split into two teams of six each, two defenders, two midfielders, one attacker and a goalkeeper.
Place cones around the goalkeeper where other players cannot enter – to avoid knocking into the goalkeeper.
This U8 soccer drill involves hand passes. The aim of this drill is for each team to pass the ball by throwing through the zones and score in the opponent’s goal.
The opposing team will try and block the passes by the other group with their hands so that they can score at the opponent’s goal-zone. Attackers must only shoot from the attacking third.
The goalkeeper starts the game by throwing the ball out to a teammate. This game is played for a specified period, and the winner is, of course, the team with the higher number of scores.
This U8 soccer drill aims at developing high levels of awareness and reaction. Kids that perform this drill get better in changing of direction and increasing speeds. It enhances their twisting, turning and screening capabilities.
For this activity, the recommended area is 45 by 30 yards. You need 12 participants each of whom plays by themselves. There is no team formation involved. You also require 12 ‘tails’, that is 12 strips of material that are lightweight.
Each player tucks a tail into the back of their shorts in a way that it is visible to other players and can be snatched without difficulty.
The players then chase each other around inside the designated area while trying to steal each other’s tails by pulling the tail out of the other players’ shorts.
The player that takes a tail adds it to their own, and players can steal one or all the tails the other players got. Any player can steal any tail that drops on the floor. To avoid a tug-of-war, the first player to touch a dropped tail gets to keep it.
Players must not grip their tails with their hands to stop them from being snatched. The only allowed way to protect their tails is by running away, turning and screening.
The coach sets a time limit (2 minutes is a reasonable time limit) and the player with the most tails at the end of the period wins the game.
For skill enhancements, the coach can give each player a ball that they should dribble in close control while trying to snatch tails from other players.
Another progression is for players that have their tails stolen to dribble around the outside of the area while the game is played until there is a winner with the most tails at hand.
It is recommended that the game is played to the last two because the 1v1 competition at the end might last for very long.
We have looked at some of the best U8 soccer drills meant to impact vital soccer skills in kids. It is important to understand how each of these drills works, and what they are intended to achieve.
Since these drills are a lot of fun, children are more likely to participate with passion, and thereby learn great skills.
This article is meant to be a comprehensive guide to some of the best U8 soccer drills that there is, and we hope that we have achieved exactly that.