"Coaches, use soccer warm
ups as a warm up and an
extra soccer practice"

soccer warm ups are a good way to get an extra soccer practice in if the team only has one or two soccer practices in a week and they have to get ready to play on the weekend.

So, what is the best way to get the team warmed up prior to the game? There are a couple of things that need to happen for a soccer team to be well prepared for games.

  • The players show up for the warm up on time.
  • The coach has to prepare an age appropriate warm up.
  • The warm up should be fun.

The coach should address the parents in the preseason meeting regarding the soccer warm ups. The coach should explain the importance of a good warm-up and getting extra touches team team bonding in prior to the game.

Once the parents have an established time for the kids to show up the coach should have a some good soccer warm ups ready to go. I like to use the warm up as an extra soccer skills practice. The kids can get an 3-400 extra touches before the game starts, which will benefit the kids in their development.

So, how do we as coaches handle little kids who have a short attention span. A coach working with little kids should gear the warm up for about 15-20 minutes.

U6 players


The coach can use the moves that the kids have worked on in training like foundation touches, inside and outside and rolling the soccer ball in the warm up to help the kids perfect their dribbling or passing.

Soccer fun games

The players should play some fun games in the warm up like tag games, or fun dribbling games. I like to use the fun soccer games as a motivational tool.

U8 players

The warm up should probably be a little more intensive - I like to add some skill work, small sided games and shooting. I have given you some examples below...

U9-U10 players

The kids should show up 30 min before the game...

I generally have the kids go through some dynamic stretching if I am coaching a U10 team - coaching a team any younger than this I will probably just go straight into the technical or fun games.

U12-soccer players

The kids should ready for a more dynamic warm up with skill work, U12-soccer possession games and shooting.

I have included some examples below of dynamic stretching, skill work and small sided fun games.

Soccer warm ups - dynamic stretching

I like to start with dynamic stretching and not static stretching...this way the players get their muscles warm before they do any static stretching.

What is the difference between static and dynamic stretching?

The players are moving when they are performing the exercises when in dynamic stretching.

The players are static or sitting and probably stretching cold muscles...

The dynamic stretching portion is for players that are U11-U12 but, could be used for younger teams if they have some maturity or the coach wants to get the players in the habit of a good warm up.

Warm up:

Dynamic stretching:

Grid: 2 - 10x10 grids - side by side.

Exercises: The players form 3 lines at the top of the grid and go down the channel - when the first group gets to the middle the next group goes.

Once I have completed the dynamic stretching I move the kids into the soccer skills portion of the warm up.

Soccer skills

The coach can use the same grid as we used for the dynamic stretching, this way the coach does not have to move cones, and the kids jump from one exercise to the next without skipping a beat.

Coaching point: The hardest thing here is not to stop and correct every little technique. The coach should remember this is a warm up and the technical corrections should take place in the soccer practices. Try and keep it light and low key so the players go into the game with a good mind set.

Here are some coaching points for the kids...

Coaching points: Stay on your toes, a good first touch, call a name and sprint to the other line.

  • Dribble and drop
  • The player dribbles and drops and runs to the next line.
  • Foundation touches
  • Players play the ball between feet - foundation touches.

  • Rolling the soccer ball
  • The player rolls the soccer ball to the next line.
  • Inside/outside
  • The player touches the soccer ball with the inside of the right and then outside of the right.
  • Outside touch - stop w/sole
  • The player touches the soccer ball with the outside of the foot and then stops the ball with the sole - magic hop - repeat on the other side.
  • 3 touch passing
  • Trap inside of foot - outside foot touch - pass - run to the next line.
  • 2 touch passing
  • Trap - pass - run to the next line.
  • 1 touch passing
  • Play and run to the next line.

Passing competition: First team to 10 passes wins...increase the count if the players are good! The coach can also add ball control to the warm up by having the players serve the soccer ball to each other and practice trapping the soccer ball.

Once the players have gone through the technical part of warm up he or she can move into a possession game or a fun game depending on the age of the kids.

Small sided fun games

Why play small sided games in the soccer warm ups?

Small sided games promote touches on the soccer ball, teach players a shape, help players make decisions.

One of my favorite games to play in the soccer warm ups is the #'s game.

Game: Two teams line up on either side of the goal - with a goalkeeper...

The coach positions him or her self at the top of the eighteen with all the soccer balls. The coach calls out a number and the kids run out to play...

Example: if the coach calls out the #1 - one player from each side comes out to play. If the coach calls #2 then two players come from each side, etc, etc...

The team that wins the soccer ball attacks the goal and the other team defends. If the defending team wins the soccer ball they can attack. If a shot is taken, made or missed, the coach calls another number and the game begins again.

The coach can play several rounds of 1v1, 2v2 and 3v3 and this little game promotes combination play, going 1v1 and some friendly competition before the game.

If you have some fun games you like to play add it your soccer warm ups...

Possession games or shape

The players at this age - U11/U12 can start to learn the game. So, the coach could include some possession games and attacking and defending shape concepts in the soccer warm ups.

What does this mean?

Possession games are small sided games where the players are learning to play keep away from the other team.

An example of a possession game is 5v2 keep away, team possession games like playing to target players.

Soccer shape is teaching players how to move as a unit with and without the soccer ball.

Game time

Once the coach has decided the age appropriate soccer warm ups, gone through fun games, dynamic stretching, some small sided games, possession or shape the kids are ready to play.

Soccer warm ups are done and the kids should be ready to go - they will get the lineup from the coach and have some time to relax before the game begins. The coach should keep the coaching points to about 2 or 3 points so, the kids are not over loaded and let them loose.

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