Designed to provide a rapidly switching soccer warm up which is suitable for all ages and allows the coach to ensure that interest is maintained.
With all age groups, continuing with one ‘drill’ for too long will cause players to get bored and to slow down to walking pace. The length of time for this to happen will vary with age and motivation but it will happen.
The warm up pulls together various strands within one set up to give the coach various directions for the drill and to maintain interest.
The set up
A 20 by 20 yard square with each side being made up of button cones of one colour (i.e. one side is red, one blue, one green, one white for example)
Out side of the square in a rough circle say 12 other markers such as slalom poles or traffic cones / mini traffic cones or button cones ideally of a colour not used in the square just to avoid confusion.
You will need enough balls for each player to have one each.
The warm ups
1) Ask the players to go into the square – initially without any footballs and for 2 or 3 minutes have them jog, side step, jump, stretch, shoulder roll etc around the square just to loosen up.
2) Ask the players to go and get a ball each from the pile that you have already left out to the side of the playing area
3) Traffic Lights – from the FA Level 1 – coach needs three button cones, one red, one yellow , one green. The players are invited to dribble their football around the square at their own pace, then introduce the red cone – when held up by the coach means ‘Stop with your foot on the ball’, continue the dribbling, introduce the Yellow cone – means ‘turn’ (or do a step over or whatever coach chooses) so when the coach holds up the yellow cone the players must turn and move in the opposite direction (you could even specify a particular type of turn here if you wanted to), introduce the green cone – means go – i.e. accelerate forward into space so long as it is safe to do so. Once the player have been briefed on the meaning of each cone its just a matter of cycling through them as you see fit. No verbal commands from the coach just the holding up of the cones – also the coach should move positions – idea is that the players have to look up not just down at the ball
4) Take Sides – end the traffic lights segment and then just have the players dribbling the ball round the square and the coach will then shout out a colour and the players all have to dribble to the side of that colour – do this a few times. You can turn the pressure up here a little by urging players to move quickly and introduce a competitive element – e.g try to be first to get there, try not to be last etc
5) Swap – end ‘take sides’ and simply explain to the players that they are to dribble around the square and on the command ‘swap’ they are to leave their own ball and move to one that has been left by another player and then carry on dribbling the ball in the square
6) progress to Get out – on the command ‘get out’ each player is to dribble their ball out of the square and around one of the poles / cones outside of the square and then back into the square – need to encourage players to maintain close control or ball and not ‘beat themselves’ by trying to go faster than they are able. You can turn the pressure up here a little by urging players to move quickly and introduce a competitive element – e.g try to be first to get there and back, try not to be last etc
7) King of the ring – nominate (or ask for volunteers) 2 or 3 ‘defenders’, the rest of the players keep their footballs and spread out inside the square. The defenders have to the job of knocking the balls of the other players out of the square – once knocked out the coach may allow the player to get their ball and return to the action or to tell the player to wait for the end of the game (by this stage them may be grateful to have a rest!). Players with footballs with dribble, shield and generally fight tooth and nail to defend the footballs from the defenders – the last man standing is declared ‘king’. Play 2 or 3 times – rotate the defenders.
With all of these sessions / games emphasise close control rather than pushing the ball ten feet away – dribbling not running with the ball.
I’m sure that you can think of other games to play along these lines and that you can adapt this idea to suit the age group involved and their level of ability (for eg you could introduce a ‘Simon says’ element for a bit of fun with younger players, I just think that the benefit of having one set up that facilitates a number of different game ideas will help to keep things moving along….