How do you continually develop the best player in the group? U7/U8

I have a player who is better than the rest of the group and his parents are concerned that their sons level will drop due to him playing with the other children -who are are currently at a different development stage. (I agree that his level is much higher than the rest)

The parents understand that everyone develops at different stages however they do not want there sons level to drop off due to playing in the same group?

Any thoughts on how to continue his to development whilst I am trying to develop the rest of the group?

  • Morning Carlwyn

    its important that you give your player individual development plan so he has personal goals to aim for .

    he could also benefit from training with the next year up if available and with the agreement of the player and his parents

    be mindfull that training/playing up could cause division up or down in years.

    its always a tricky one

    good luck

  • Thanks for your response Lee

    When you say division up or down -do you mean division in the group of players?

  • Yes Carlwyn

    it might not be a problem at all, but it’s just something to be aware of

  • Thanks Lee

    Sorry for my continued questions- but a division between the players ability? the other team may not like the fact an U7 is playing with U8 etc 

    Kind Regards

  • not necessarily, if it was one of my players i would be looking at the pros and cons for them

    what could a player get out of training/playing up a year, how using the four corners would it either benefit or hinder a player,

    socially; make more friends, 

                 distance themselves from a different enviroment

    technically; could learn new tools

                     could struggle to keep up

    psychological; gain more confidence

                          lose confidence

    physical;    improve his skills off the ball

                ;     feel weaker and slower

    one other thing to consider is his age if hes a young u7 moving up could be a massive jump in age and physicality

    you might be a much better coach than the age above, so that might be another perspective

    parents could be in too much of a rush to move their son on.

    at the end of the day you are his coach and you will have his best interests at heart.

    hope this helps 

  • Thanks for the clarification Lee- this does really help me, especially following the 4 corner model

    (he is  an old U7 born in September)

    Physically and Technically he could hold his own in the year above however, it maybe the Psychological part which would be the challenge. As we know at this age confidence is a big thing and he will gain more success in his own age group however he will still need some challenges to avoid him standing still and the others around him developing faster

    Any thoughts on the types of challenges to set him based on the above information?

  • Do you mind me asking what the strengths are and what could be improved 

    thanks lee

  • Strengths are;

    Dribbling skills-strength-speed-- reading the game- tackles- decision making (pass/dribble/shoot)


    Stop start when dribbling -change of direction when dribbling

    When and how to protect/hide the ball

    Closing the space when defending (he naturally tries to protect the goal and can drop off)

  • morning Carlwyn

    it would be interesting to see what he thinks his own strentghs and improvements are also.

    i like the fact that he is obviously a very forward thinking play as in direction, by the sounds of it which is great.

    to improve and enhance this you could have a session where you have smaller area to play in like 15x15 with four goals, 4 defenders and 1 attacker  

    balls in each goal, coach initially feeds ball into attacker and play

    only 1 defender can defend against attacker

    if attacker scores, a defender in another goal feeds the ball into the middle and the attacker must score in the goal where the ball came from (the attacker cannot score in the same goal they have just scored in) this will encourage change of pace and direction also scanning to see where balls coming from. keep game pace up have a time limit from recieving to scoring.

    If the defender  wins the ball (the attacker becomes defender) he must pass to another player in a goal before recieving it back to score, in a goal of thier choice this will create a 2v1 against what was your initial attacker.

    this will give you an opportunity to coach coming up close to the player with the ball to cut off the line of pass to the other player in the 2v1 also encouraging change of direction again.

    Forging Ahead: even more improvement on shooting, quick decision making and good touch initially.

    Improvements: change of direction, scanning, closing opposition quick enough to close passing angles.

    you could progress a litte bit for protecting the ball by having an area infont of goals where the attacker can only score in that area , so when they recieve the ball  it would possibly force them to protect the ball to get in that area if defenders come up quick enough

    this pratice depending on amount of players you have can be set around the pitch so everyone can be involved it will also help every player

    NOTE if you have a goalkeeper then if they are they playing in one of the goals then let them use their hands to save  and have the choice to either roll it out to the middle or pass it out