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Western United Soccer Club

Western United Soccer Club

Development by Age

All children are different and learn soccer skills at different rates, but here are some very general guidelines for the development that we can expect to see in the children as they mature through the age groups.  You can use this as a guideline for how to focus your practices.

U6 (Individual)
Kids at this age are individually focused.  Most of the development tends to be in individual skills.
 - Kicking - Focus on proper technique
- Toe down, knee over ball, kick with laces for power (see who can kick the farthest using this technique)
- Twist foot outward (but not hips), lock ankle, and kick with inside of foot for accuracy (see who can hit a cone while kicking correctly)
- Discourage kicking with the toe!!!
- Practice with both feet
 - Dribbling
- Keep the ball within 3-4 feet, practice dribbling at different speeds, learn to change direction (to the side or reverse direction)
- With practice, kids will learn to dribble while glancing up to see what is happening around them
- Use lots of games to give kids practice dribbling and encourage looking up while dribbling (follow-the-leader, sharks and minnows, etc.)
- Practice with both feet
- Trapping (how to control a ball that is coming to you)
- Stomp on ball to stop it
- Use inside of foot to control it
- Throw-ins

U8 (Buddy)
Continue to develop individual skills!  Also, kids at this age are able to start working in pairs.
- Add juggling and other "touch" drills to individual skills
- Use your body to shield the ball from an opponent
- Don't be afraid to use chest, thigh, shin on ball.  Keep hands down!
- Shoot for the corners of the goal, not the center where the goalie is.
- Play defense by maintaining a position between the ball and the goal.  Do not kick/stab at the ball on defense - opponents will go right by.
- Encourage buddy play and drills (passing through gates drills, how many passes can you make in x seconds, keep away)
- Introduce and encourage general positions (offense, defense, left, right) and the purpose of the position (defense keeps the ball away from our goal, offense takes the ball to their goal)

U10 (Group)
Continue to develop individual skills!  Focus on the whole team.
- Add controlling the ball from the air to individual skills
- Control the ball on the first touch
- Draw the other team to you and then make the pass to the open player
- Give and Go
- Teach soccer concepts like turning the ball to the outside on defense (rather than toward the center of the field)
- Attack up the sidelines and then look to pass to the center

U13 (Team)
Continue to develop individual skills!  Continue to develop the whole team concept.
- Teach offsides
- Pass back to maintain possession and try to attack from a different angle

These are just some general guidelines from our experience in this league.  If you have other ideas, please send them and we will continue to expand this reference!
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