Covington Youth Soccer Association

Stages & Characteristics of Player Development
Characteristics of the U6 Player:
  • Kids have to move constantly – learn by doing, not by lecture
  • Process small bits of information, long sequential instructions are not processed
  • Focus only on the ball, ignore team mates, opponents, fans; game is often 1 vs 5 (player against the other team and his own team mates)
  • Don’t care about boundaries
  • Movement goes forward
  • Body segments grow at different rates – appendages develop last
  • Minimal differences in boys and girls
  • Weight range 30 -50 lbs for boys and girls
  • Boys height range 35-44”, Girl’s height range 37-45”
  • Motor development progresses from head to feet and from center outward
  • Easy fatigue, rapid recovery, heart rate about 90 bpm
  • Emphasis in training – movement skills (increase use of all body parts)
  • Locomotion: walking, running, leaping, jumping, hopping
  • Non-locomotor movements: bending, stretching, twisting, pulling, pushing
  • Basic manipulative: throwing, catching, striking
  • Need to explore qualities of rolling and bouncing ball
  • Difficulty tracking objects in flight – don’t throw balls in at this age
  • Immature understanding of time (don’t know how long an hour is) and space (don’t know how long 10 yards is)
  • Rules must be simple
  • Egocentric – see world only through their eyes – often play next to each other, not with each other
  • Need generous praise to play without pressure
  • Do not have a concept of “team” – passing and defense are often accidental
  • Play with high degree of imagination and pretend activities
  • Most influential person is most likely mother or significant parent
Characteristics of the U8 Player:
  • Skeletal system is still growing – growth plates near joints can be injured
  • Cardiovascular system less efficient than adult - child peaks sooner and recovers slower
  • Temperature regulation is less efficient than adults - child elevates core body temp more quickly and takes longer to cool down than adult
  • There is perceivable improvement in pace and coordination from U6 to U8 however the immaturity of a U-8’s physical ability is obvious
  • Limited ability to attend to more than one task at a time – simply controlling the ball leaves little capacity for making tactical decisions
  • Movement is forward and backward
  • Limited experience with personal evaluation; effort synonymous with performance regardless of the actual performance
  • Very fragile self-concept and body image
  • Very sensitive; negative comments carry great weight
  • Approval seeking
  • Play soccer because it’s fun, intrinsically motivated
  • Their universe has expanded to the neighborhood
  • Playmates will prefer small group activities
  • Will share ball with close playmates
  • Team identity starts to immerge
  • Desire for everyone to like them
  • Most influential person is most likely father or significant parent
Characteristics of the U10 Player:
  • Gross and motor skills becoming more refined
  • Boys and girls begin to develop at different rates
  • Boys constantly moving and poking; girls pace themselves
  • Will listen to instructions
  • Can anticipate the ball – abstract thinking
  • Movement is forward, backward, sideways
  • Ability to stay on task is lengthened
  • Greater diversity in playing ability, physical maturity (more, mature have stonger motor skills)
  • Still more prone to heat injury than adults
  • Accelerated heat loss increases their risk of hypothermia
  • Attention span lengthened, ability to sequence thoughts and actions
  • Pace factor starts to develop (starting to think ahead)
  • More inclined towards wanting to play than being told to play
  • Demonstrate increased self-responsibility (bring water and ball, tuck in jersey, pull up socks)
  • Starting to recognize fundamental tactical concepts such as changing direction of ball but not sure why
  • Repetition of technique very important but must be dynamic not static
  • May initiate play on their own
  • Continued positive reinforcement needed
  • Explanations must still be brief, concise, and indicate purpose
  • Becoming more serious about “their play”
  • Peer pressure starting to be a factor
  • Prefer identification with team (uniform, balls, equipment)
  • Adult outside of the family may take on added significance
Characteristics of the U12 Player:
  • Pubescence begins at age 10 (7-14) and age 12 (9-16) for boys
  • Strength building activities require overloading muscles more than endurance
  • Activities – still too young for strength training
  • Flexibility training key to prevention of injury
  • High intensity programs that fail to stress skill development, learning and fun will produce overuse injuries, burnout and high attrition
  • Begin to develop abilities to sustain complex coordinated skill sequences
  • Increased ability to acquire and apply knowledge
  • Movement and abstract thought extend 360 degrees
  • Use of systematic approach to problem solving, game must present the opportunity to think creatively and solve problems while moving
  • More TV and video, less structured play
  • Spend more time with friends and less time with parents
  • Popularity influences self-esteem
  • Whether a child enters puberty early or late has important psychological effects
  • Susceptible to peer pressure
  • Developing conscience, morality and value scale

CYSA Field Complex is located at 74020 Penn Mill Rd
Mailing Address: CYSA  |  PO Box 1983  |  Covington, LA  70434
Message Center - (985) 867-1665 - Rain-Out Hotline    
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