Match Week 3.5: U8 Session Thoughts

29 Sep

This week we have no match – but we will have practice on Friday night.  I plan to address what I see as this week’s #1 topic: 1v1 Defending and Offense.

Last Saturday, our biggest weakness was failing to engage with the ball 1v1.  There was not ownership of the ball when we were on offense with many players either giving the ball away easily or choosing to give the ball away.  On Defense, we gave the other team adequate time, space, and opportunity to take a bevy of shots on goal without challenge.

So this week – we will work on 1v1.


I’ll put one of our U8 players in as goalkeeper and I’ll play the part of offense.  Working unopposed, I’ll show how a player can shoot and score with relatively low effort.

I’ll bring in one of our better defenders to play defense on me – asking him to stay close to me.  We’ll play a few examples – sometimes I’ll use a turn to give myself space to shoot and sometimes concede the ball.

1v1 Free-For-All

One of my most effective tools last season with U5’s was a 1v1 free-for-fall.  I would build a rectangle, with a single goal and pair off players.  I would send a ball out to each pair, and they would play until someone scored a goal.  Following a goal, I would restart the pair by sending the ball out into the field.

It mirrors how I remember playing 1v1 Basketball in Elementary School on the playground.  Given more balls than hoops, you learned to play in the same space as another game but to keep your head up for traffic.

Advantages of this format:

  • A lot of touches on the ball.
  • Head up to watch for traffic.
  • The need to practice turns rather than just driving straight for the goal.
  • The need to defend closely on the ball.
  • Pursuing loose balls to win.

1v1 Lightning Round

We played this in our optional team practice a couple of weeks ago.  It’s 1v1 on a field with two goals.  The ball is played into the middle, players need to scrap for it and take possession.  If the ball is played out of bounds, game stops and players switch out.

Advantages of this format:

  • Center court format with teammates watching.  Kids hopefully ratchet up their competitive level.
  • Chance to critique.  I’ll ask the kids for feedback on what they saw.

3v3 Finish

Depending on available time, finish with 3v3.  I’ll be looking for engagement on ball, but also some of last week’s topic of defending structure will be employed by the boys as well.

I’m hoping to be able to come up with about a dozen mixed age kids Sunday for 3v3 play in our neighborhood.


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