Park footballers, school footballers, playground footballers, team footballers and professional footballers all understand the importance of skills. They are the object of fascination for many children and players as they see idols like Ronaldo and Messi dribble past defenders, skill and drive their way to scoring goals. Skills in football take practice, hard work, creativity and self-confidence and are generally perfected through time and repetition. Many children from 6 to 8 years old will start to join local or school teams or even professional academies at these ages and often individual confidence, technical ability, ball manipulation and skills are the core foundations needed for players entering team football. These foundations and fundamentals can be learnt through weekly training, half-term activities like holiday camps or practicing at home in the back garden or park alone, with friends or a parent.
The great thing about 6-8 year olds is that they are often open to learning new skills, proactive in seeking out new ones to master by using videos, tutorials or copying their peers, motivated to master tricks to impress their friends at school or teammates and associate the ability to perform skills with scoring goals! We’ve put together a list of skills that 6-8 year olds can perfect focusing on 3 core areas: ball manipulation, turns and skills to beat players. These are all fun to learn and can be practiced at home, but best learnt in a professional environment. In no time your child will be out-skilling you, their siblings, friends, defenders, opponents and speeding through the back garden or pitch! We’ve also included a step by step guide to each of these skills at the end of this drill.
BALL MANIPULATION: This is a focus on the fundamental ability to manipulate and control the ball, which is the foundation to more developed ball mastery. Practicing basic ball control exercises and increasing the number of touches the player gets on the ball with be crucial to learning some of the skills we talk about in the next two sections. We would determine a player who can manipulate the ball well, as a player who can manoeuvre the ball into planned spaces which set them up for a shot, dribble or pass/cross. Players who manipulate the ball well use all parts of their feet and often don’t need to even look at the ball as they create space for themselves.
1 - Toe Taps
2 - Sole Rolls
3 - Inside Outside
TURNS: When dribbling the ball, turning is a key skill to master and it’s great to see confident players change the direction of the game and turn with speed. Turns will help a player out skill and beat a defender. Turning will also encourage the player to work on their timing, awareness of surroundings, protecting the ball, coming from different directions and decision making.
1 - Drag Back
2 - L-Turn
3 - Cruyff Turn
SKILLS TO BEAT A PLAYER: If a player is running with the ball and dribbling it is important that they practice taking on their opponent by using their skills. From the ages of 4 upwards it is important that players are challenged in 1v1s to focus on their development and to give them time and opportunity to try new skills. Dribbling past and taking on defenders with confidence will dramatically improve their performance. We Make Footballers pride ourselves on making this a priority within our coaching syllabus, this is something which separates us from many other coaching organisations.
1 - Inside Chop.
2 - Double Step Over.
3 - Inside to Inside Shuffle.
Skills for 6-8 year olds will have a fundamental impact on their development as a player regardless of whether they are used in a match environment or not. They can be key to boosting a child’s confidence, their understanding of the game, control of the ball, concentration, engagement and competitiveness. Modern day coaching, training and standards increasingly focus on individual development and technical ability. This is why we believe that these are important aspects of football that a 6-8 year old should learn in order to feel comfortable in any footballing environment and to get more enjoyment out of playing football.
The ball manipulation exercises, turns and skills to face opponents highlighted above are all easy to practice at home or with the help of online videos. This practice will inevitably lead to your child taking on defenders with confidence. However, our professional football coaching is perfect to help your child develop and learn skills in a fun, safe and engaging environment. Our weekly sessions and holiday camps focus on individual development and our coaches spend time teaching players how to perform and perfect their skills, no matter the player’s age or ability. If you would like to book a free session to help your 6-8 year old learn some new skills, contact us today!
FOOTBALL SKILLS FOR A 6-8 YEAR OLD GUIDE: LEARN THE SKILLS
Thank you for reading our article, we’ve included each of the skills mentioned above and broken them down into bite-sized chunks to help your child learn them.
1 - Toe Taps.
Start with the sole of 1 foot on the ball and the other planted on the floor, once you are balanced - switch positions. Repeat.
2 - Sole Rolls.
Push the ball softly with the sole of your foot, push the ball again with the sole of your other foot. This can be done in any direction.
3 - Inside Outside.
Start with the ball on one leg, push the ball forward with the inside of your foot, follow the ball and push it next with the outside of the same foot. Repeat for 30 seconds on one leg, then switch legs.
1 - Drag Back.
Place your planting foot near the side of the ball, place the other foot on top of the ball, roll it back and move off in the opposite direction.
2 - L-Turn.
Planted foot to one side of the ball. Place your other foot on top of the ball and roll it back with the sole, next, tap the ball behind your planted leg using the inside of your foot.
3 - Cruyff Turn.
Planting foot to one side and just ahead of the ball, pretend to pass/cross/kick the ball. Turn your kicking foot inward and using the inside drag the ball behind the planted foot. Dribble away.
SKILLS TO BEAT A PLAYER
1 - Inside Chop.
Dribble towards the defender, before you reach them - tap the ball with the inside of your foot and dribble away.
2 - Double Step Over.
Dribble towards the defender, circle one foot around the inside of the ball - quickly circle the other foot around the inside of the ball and dribble away.
3 - Inside to Inside Shuffle.
Start with the ball between your feet, push the ball from one foot to the other using the insides of your feet. Quickly shuffle the ball from one side to the other and dribble away.