It is very important that when a season is started that it is followed through to the end of the season with the same topic.The reason for this is because you cannot possibly learn all about certain techniques in one session and then move on to another session with another topic in the next session for example, you cannot possibly teach passing in one session and then go onto something else the next considering how many different styles of passing and the complexities of the harder styles of passing.I have never understood any coaches that have a different topic for each week as that is simply confusing to the children and open up avenues for other issues such as what happens if you have a few players who are slower developers or learners and the following session when they need extra help you have moved on to a different topic leaving them without the skill or being comfortable with whatever technique you were previously coaching.
Each session in the season should flow with the same general topic as you see with the season of sessions i have put up, the topic is Skills so each session will teach a different skill with recap secti0ns at the beginning of each session to go back and thoroughly go through and make sure the players are comfortable with each skill.When we look at the main body of the session this should fully focus ont he new skill which they have learned and in time when the players are comfortable with the techniques you can add skills in combinations.
As I have explained in the Skill Square section it is important for the ethos of my sessions for the players to show self-discipline and practice what they have been taught in they’re own skill squares.So each session there will be a new skill for the skill square which can be used in combinations to help them build their own skill sequences.This is particularly impressive when you are 10 weeks in to the season and you have your players switching skill boxes by themselves every 30-40 seconds to the new skill and performing skill dances in which the highest skills in a skill dance at speed so far from my U8 Academy group is 18.When you have a group of 20 players or so who can all comfortably perform 18 skills at speed and perform double skills it is hugely beneficial for when the group are ready to make the next step into team training as I can guarantee you there will be no other clubs who have ready-made trained, skill full and comfortable with manipulating the ball players at the ready.
Season lengths are at the discretion of the coach and the club/company they are working for as some clubs prefer shorter seasons and others prefer longer seasons it really depends on which country or region you are in.My season generally lasts around 9 weeks with extra weeks if permitted which we use to show off what the children have learned and the players will make sure they let you know what they want to do, as they see how successful and what they are accomplishing the more confident and enthusiastic to show off they’re new skills.
The players at this age should not be playing in competitive matches against other clubs involving high team numbers.The players should be divided up into smaller teams amongst themselves and play against themselves giving each team a name in which a popular choice are international teams.Every week this should happen to help them with their development .It also provides a stage for the parents to cheer them on and witness the skills they have learned as this also is great for they’re development and the players at this age need positive feedback which is a key policy to have so always remember be enthusiastic,be creative ,always encourage the players to be as creative as they can in their skill technique and ask them to come up with they’re own at home and show in practice and above all, always be encouraging.
Skills that should be covered are below but are at the coaches discretion:-
- Inside Hook
- Outside Hook
- Drag Back
- L Turn
- Cryuff Turn
- Step Over
- V Turn
- Inside – Outside Touches
- Be Creative if they are capable of achieving harder objectives then let them, so don’t be afraid to try a “snake” or an “around the world”