Soccer coaching warm up moves

1) in-betweens with step-over 180 turn.

To do the “in-betweens” stand with the soccer ball between your feet which are about shoulder width apart. Using the inside of the right foot, tap the ball softly to the inside of the left foot. Then using the inside of the left foot, tap it back again to the inside of the right foot. The trick is to keep the ball constantly moving between the feet as the player “hops” from foot to foot to prepare for the next touch. Once you get the hang of it, begin to move forward with each step by tapping the ball slightly forward with each touch. Eventually you should be able to keep the in-betweens going without a miss as you move slowly all over the place.

Secondly, do the “step-over 180 turn”. (This is a very important turn! Watch the pros, you will see variations of this turn a dozen times a game.) Start with the ball between your feet, as it is during your “in-betweens”. Put your weight on your left foot as you swing your right foot up and over the ball (turning counter-clockwise towards the left). Plant the right foot down on the left side of the ball and step down. (This is the “step over” part of the move and will be used in lots of fakes and feints). Now using that right foot as a pivot, spin (turning clockwise this time) around with your left foot, back towards the ball. Once you have turned a 180, take the ball with your left foot and begin the “in-betweens” the other direction.

2) toe touches moving forward and alternating feet.

Begin with the ball between your feet and slightly to the front. Lift the right foot and lightly touch the top of the ball with the front (cleat side) of the shoe, underneath the toe. Replace that right foot and do the same with the left foot. Now begin to alternate touches faster until you have to make little hops back and forth with your feet while continuing to touch the top of the ball. Finally, push the ball forward a few inches with each touch as you begin to move forward with each step.
The trick is to touch the ball forward “just the right distance” and slightly in front of the other foot so you can keep the pattern going without a break. After moving forward about 10 yds. do a “pullback” turn and return to the starting spot continuing your toe touches.

3) toe touches moving backwards and alternating feet.

This is nearly the same as the toe touches moving forward but instead goes backward. With each hop backwards touch the ball back and diagonally toward your next foot. This is a little more difficult to learn but is great for developing quick feet and pull back touches.

4) Side hop rolls moving forward. (a.k.a. “side drag rolls”)

This is a shielding and rolling manoeuvre. Start by facing sideways (e.g. first face to the right) to the direction of travel, with the ball between your feet. Using the sole of your right foot, come up and over the top of the ball from right( the back) to left (the front). This gets the ball rolling to your left and down the direction of travel. After rolling over the top of the ball with your right foot, plant it down and “hop” onto your left foot and repeat. All the touches are with the right foot, rolling the ball to the left with your cleats as you “hop” down the field. You would use this to advance the ball and at the same time keep the defender to your backside. Repeat with the left foot.

5) Outside Touches

Push the ball to the outside with the outside of the foot then take 2 steps behind the rolling ball to prepare to touch it with the outside of the other foot.

6) Inside to outside roll right foot to the (right) side and touch forward with right foot.

Start with the ball between your feet. Begin with a little lean or lunge out to the right side of the ball by lifting your right foot and stepping down lightly beside the ball. Do not plant weight onto this right foot. Instead, plan to shift your weight back to the left and then “scrape” your studs over the top of the ball, from the right side to the left, to begin it rolling to the left. After it has crossed completely in front of your body, use the inside of your left foot to touch it forward. Now repeat the same starting with the left foot.

Passing and movement

warm up game

A useful warm up before a match or training session or as part of a basic skills practice.

warm up gameStart with 5 players in a circle with a 20 yard diameter. Then have another player behind each of these players.

See diagram on the left.

X1 starts with the ball and passes to X2. X1 then sprints behind X2 (so it’s a pass and follow the pass). X2 then passes to X3 and sprints and follows the pass. X 3 then passes to X 4 and does the same. X 4 passes to X5 and then X5 passes to X1. After each pass the player follows the pass and goes to the back of that line.

Do this for 2-3 minutes and then add a second ball. Now the balls start with X1 and X4. While X1 is passing to X2, X4 is passing to X5. This will require a lot of movement, hard sprints, communication and vision.

Next add one defender in the middle. The difference now is the players can pass in any direction they want. However, they still must follow their pass.

Next add a second defender so it’s sort of a 5 v 2 game but with much more movement and confusion than normal (must like a real game of soccer).

There are other variation you can do with this type of activity with the biggest limitation being your imagination.

Mini hurdle hops

warm up game

warm up game

Start 5 yards (4 metres) away from the first mini-hurdle. Sprint to the hurdle do a forward hop over it.

As soon as contact is made with the ground laterally jump left over the next mini hurdle.

As soon as contact is made with the ground jump forward over the next mini hurdle.

As soon as contact is made with the ground jump laterally right over the mini hurdle.

As soon as you hit the ground sprint 5 yards forward. At the cone side shuffle left. At the next cone drop step and sprint through the last cone.

This should help to build up the football players fitness.

Mega square warm up


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….


Match day warm ups

Warm-ups before youth soccer matches present a wonderful opportunity for you to coach and improve your soccer team. Much of the soccer coaching on game day is mental preparation, rather than soccer skills, soccer tactics, or fitness. Successful soccer coaching depends on managing the time carefully, creating a positive, confident, and fun state of mind for each of the soccer players, and giving the players a chance to get their pulse rates up and get their touch on the ball under control.

Extra Technical Training Time

Many teams are limited by field space or league restrictions to a small number of training sessions per week. If you would be willing to have your kids show up and begin work 45 to 60 minutes prior to each match, you can have a very nice additional technical training session with your team each week. Your kids have a lot of energy at U11, and winning at U11 is not as important as becoming much more skilful at U11 so you can win at U16 and beyond. If you take care of the details, the big stuff comes right along.

Extra Touches Before the Match

Most kids who have average trapping, settling, dribbling, and shooting technique at U11 do not get a good touch on their first 30 to 50 balls. During the match, some players may not even receive this many balls during the entire match, so that they don’t get a good touch in the entire match. So, your warm-ups should provide lots of ball touches per player. This requires one ball per player or one ball between two players. This latter arrangement works very well in practice. Partners with a ball can work through all kinds of touches, traps, settles, kills, and headers with one player serving and one playing, taking turns. With these extra touches, your players will be better prepared to play immediately.

Long Stretches Reduce Injuries

Get an ATC to teach you how to stretch your players properly. It is not properly shown in any of the coaching courses, and the little 8-second stretches you see teams doing at matches are not very effective. The players must be warm before stretching, and the quad and hamstring stretches need to last 60 seconds minimum to be effective. Try it out yourself. You will find that, even when warmed up, your hamstring will give you a lot of resistance and not much stretching for the first 60 seconds or so.

At U11, this is not going to be a major problem. However, increasing strength and flexibility up through U14 will reduce the potential injuries that you will start to see starting at about U14. Common injuries in girls, which come as a surprise your first time through, include MCL, ACL, tendonitis and inflammation behind the knee cap, pulled quads, and ankle ligament damage. (Broken bones, particularly wrist and ankle, are not uncommon, but start from U11 and do not seem to dramatically increase at U14.) The number and severity of ligament, tendon, and muscle problems you encounter at U14 to U16 can come as a great surprise, but they seem to arrive during this time frame because of growth and muscle mass changes. Getting into serious stretching and strength development earlier might help.

Higher Pulse Rates

Kids like games and action. Don’t talk. Smile, reassure, praise, and encourage, but do it with short phrases while the kids are working on the ball in the warm-up. When your kids finish the warm-up with a good work rate, their pulse rate should be elevated from the work. You’d like the kids to already have worked their way past nervousness, broken a sweat, and be really warmed up. If you have trouble getting going early in matches, you might want to pick up the work rate during warm-ups.

Variety Please

If you coach a competitive team, you may play 50 matches or more per year. This means 50 warm-ups. How boring if they are always the same. Add some variety to increase interest so it’s fun for you and the kids. Don’t always use the same exercises.

Player Centred Experience – The Coach as a Tour Guide

As the coach, circulate in the exercises and knock a few balls around, but don’t be the centre of attention or the bottleneck in the exercises your kids use to prepare for the match. Assuming that the kids have come rested and nourished, and assuming that kids did not get the third degree on do’s and don’ts all the way to the match, most of the kids should have their “real self” in good shape as they arrive at the field.

So, after warming and stretching, the players are working to get into their best “performance self” through a familiar technical ritual that helps them move visualization, to rehearsal, and finally to an aroused but confident “ready for challenge” state where the kids are alert and ready. The coach moving the team’s players to this stage is a friendly tour guide looking to knock down distractions and to help kids focus on positive thoughts and banish negative thoughts as the preparatory ritual moves forward.

Distractions to knock down include lack of warm-up space, coaches from the opposing team who want to come over and socialize before the match, excessive referee check-in procedure, bad weather, a serious injury in the previous match on the same field during your team’s warm-up, players arriving late, players arriving without proper equipment, and a wide variety of other problems and injuries all the way up to just short of nuclear war breaking out.

Anyway, all this is about the kids getting into their best performance zone. When the coach gets into the middle of the warm-up exercise on a consistent basis, the coach becomes a distraction, because the kids are not watching the coach receiving and dropping balls for players to shoot as much as the kids are focusing on their own positive thoughts and their technical performance. As the team learns the warm-up organized by the coach, the coach needs to slide out of a technical participation role and get into the tour guide role. In this role, mental preparation is as important as technical preparation, so the coach has to learn the words, timing of words, and body language that send a positive message to the team and its individual players.

So, what do you really have to do, assuming that the team has learned the warm-up and the captains have the lead ? Easy, do and say less, not more.

Intercept distractions.

Collect warm-up clothing thrown down as the team warms up.

Smile, be confident, be composed, laugh, and have fun.

Listen to the players – don’t be in such a panic to get started that you can’t greet each player and help each player by listening.

Compliment, in a brief but natural way, good technical performance during the warm-up “nice shot”, “good trap”, “your touch is really good today”.

Provide positive support for each player’s confidence and competitive spirit – for example.

Good: “I have noticed that you don’t get upset so easily when things go wrong. This is really helping out the team a lot”.

Trouble: “We are all counting on you to give us your best – we’re depending on you today – you have to do it” .

Good: “Thanks for playing so aggressively in the second half of last week’s match” .

Trouble: “You have to stick in harder – you are not as aggressive as you should be”.

Manage warm-up time carefully (see next section).

Manage the Time

Managing warm-up time carefully is one of the coach’s most important roles as tour guide. The technical ritual that we use as a warm-up provides excellent physical and mental preparation for the match if the players have a good understanding and expectation of what will happen. If, however, the coach tries to insert too many activities so that only a few moments are spent on each, or if the warm-up is only half complete when the referee decides to start the match, a lot of the mental preparation can be destroyed because the ritual does not go to completion as expected.

So, think it through before game day. Have in mind which exercises are essential for physical preparation, which for technical, and which for mental. Be prepared to cut out exercises to shorten up the warm-up to match the game day conditions. If you are warming up a couple of fields away from the game field, send your team manager or a parent over to find out the exact score and time remaining. For tournaments, be prepared to split for a water break and to extend your warm-up to accommodate overtime and penalty kicks.

Once you really know how much time remains, set your count down timer and keep checking it to manage your time. To avoid destroying your team’s mental state with a last minute rush to the field, wind down your last exercise and move the kids and your bags from the warm-up area to the field 5 minutes before the previous match ends. If you have time for shooting before you play on the game field, while the kids are sorting out bags and getting a drink, line up your balls to get on the field at the final whistle.

Warm-up Components

There are a lot of good warm-ups, so let me just ask you to think about including these elements:

  • greeting to the players – Thank each player for coming and acknowledge each one. Present your goal to team. You have the lesser of 3 sentences or 30 seconds.
  • warm-up running – playing a relay or tag game might be more fun
  • stretching – Good chance to pat a couple of players on the back and offer encouragement, but let your team captains run the stretching.
  • fun warm-up games – These should be fun and provide movement. Ultimate Frisbee, relays, juggling in small groups, ball tag and other games.
  • more stretching – Repeating stretches for the large muscle groups.
  • touches on the ball – Partners with a ball, working all surfaces, settling, trapping, kills, volleying, heading.
  • passing with partner – Many different sequences possible, Karrie Miller 1-2-3 touch sequence very fun for kids and effective. 1 touch passing is at 10 feet, 2 touch allows player to receive and clean up with first touch, pass with second, and 3 touch allows receive, push forward to attack, then pass. At 3 touch, both players move together back and forth, as the passer has to back up quickly after passing. Work toward getting ball off line of play quickly when received as this is needed in the match.
  • small group passing exercises – Like lines facing with one touch passing, sometimes with a bending run to the back of a line opposite, takeovers, wall passes. Passing groups of 3 and 4 moving and passing and communicating. Full team passing exercises with 3 or 4 balls, players checking away and then to the ball, again with communication, receiving and turning ball or taking ball off line of play.
  • possession games – Pass across the circle and chase your pass, defender in middle of circle keepaway, or 7 v 7 possession. You don’t have to have bibs, just start two circles each playing keepaway with a defender in the middle, ask kids in one circle to pull their shirts out and go take the ball away from the other circle.
  • small sided games – Play a small match to target players or cones. Play three teams (need bibs) first time shooting in front of goal.
  • shooting exercises – Oh…. the usual shooting lines going to goal. Don’t have the coach distributing. Make sure that the emphasis is on shooting technique. It’s OK if the ball is rolling very slowly, you are not focusing on receiving, so keep the services slow. Exercises can include even 1v1 and 2v2 to goal.
  • composure time – Give the kids a moment to collect their thoughts and get a drink. Get them over early enough to see you smiling and to get organized before the match begins. You have time to give a lineup and to talk for about 15 seconds, no more.

Goalkeeper warm up exercises

Bounce and Catch

Have them hold a ball in their hands high over their heads, bounce it down to the ground and then catch it waist high. The catch should emphasize the classic ‘W’ shape, thumbs together, other four fingers angled out at 45 degrees.

Keepers should be moving around and changing directions during this drill.
Don’t let them just drop the ball and catch it. Emphasize the over the head throw down towards the ground.

A progression of this drill is to have them walk around, bounce the ball, lift their leg over the ball and re-catch it always emphasizing the ‘W’ catch. Do it ten times with the right leg, then ten times with the left, then alternate legs. A second progression of this warm-up is to have them hammer the ball out of their left hand with their right hand and then re-catch it with the ‘W’. This is tougher because the keeper must quickly position their hands after releasing the ball.

Ball Between the Legs

Keepers stand with legs shoulder width apart. Bend over at the waist and pass a ball back and forth between their legs. Initially start out with the hands stationary, i.e. right hand in back, left in front. Ball moves quickly, through the legs, from hand to hand, first rolling on the ground, then off the ground.

After they have the hang of this they pass the ball between their legs in a figure 8. In this case the hands are switching positions from front to rear. Again start this drill with the ball remaining in contact with the ground and then progress to the ball in the air between the legs.

This exercise improves hand eye coordination and stretches the back and leg muscles.

A third and more difficult component of this exercise is to have the player lie on their back and scissor their legs up and down while threading the ball through their legs.

This works the leg and stomach muscles while improving their hand eye coordination.

Ball Bounce Between Legs

Have the players bounce the ball from the front through their legs and then re-catch it behind their backs. Both hands are used to serve the ball and catch the ball. Return the ball between the legs from the back to the front.

Ball Roll Down the Back

Have the keepers place the ball on the back of their necks. Let the ball roll down their back. They then catch it at the small of their back with two hands. Return the ball to the front and start again. Once players get the hang of it they can begin walking around rolling the ball and catching it.

The above two warm ups are good for letting the keepers get the feel of the ball in their hands even when it is not directly in their sight. The more they catch the ball in practice, the more comfortable they will be in a game.
Front to Back Switching Hands

I couldn’t think of a better name for this drill. Basically the player bends at the waist with the ball between their legs. The right hand covers the ball from the front, the left hand from the back. Player releases the ball and switches hands not letting the ball fall and touch the ground. This drill is good for quickness and touch. Have the players count how many times that they can do this in a timed period and then challenge them to do one more, and then one more, and then one more, etc., etc., etc.

Sit Ups

Keeper lies on her back with arms extended over the head, a ball in her hands. Keeper executes a sit-up keeping the ball in her hands and extending her arms out in front of her. A player strikes the ball in her hands with their instep. This drill builds hand strength, abdominal strength and anaerobic condition.

A variation on this drill is to have the player throw the ball to you as they sit up and for you to chest pass it back to them at the top of the motion. This also builds hand strength, hand-eye coordination and quickness.

Shuffle and Roll

This is a drill to increase side to side quickness. Have the player bounce the ball hard on the ground. They then side to side shuffle under the path of the ball. If the ball goes high enough they might get two side to side shuffles in before the balls momentum is lost. If not, then the second movement should be a side roll under the falling ball.

One Hand Catch

This next warm up involves two people, either both keepers or a keeper and a coach.

Simply have the players stand 5 to 8 yards apart and toss the ball to each other. The catch is to be made one handed and returned the same way.

Progress by having the weaker hand use. Then run a pattern where first the left is used then the right. Finally if you have three or more in the drill add a second ball to increase the difficulty.

This teaches the player to soften the blow of the ball against the hands. It also works finger strength and hand-eye coordination.

Kneeling Catch (Railroad Tracks)

This is a drill to teach the keepers proper arm position when gathering in a low ball (scoop) or a shot below their waist.

Proper arm position can be described as both arms forming ‘railroad tracks’ That is the arms are parallel, the elbows are tucked in, the hands are palm up with the little finger and sides touching. The hands form a slight cupping position.

Have the player kneel in front of you with the arms and hands as described above. Start the drill by softly throwing the ball into her hands. Emphasize form! Gradually increase the speed of the throw. Make sure that you hit the arms, and not their head! The player should follow the ball into their arms with their eyes. The elbows must stay together or the ball will force its way through and be dropped. There must be a slight cushioning motion or the ball will hit and pop out.

High Ball Warm-up

This warm up also involves two people, preferably both keepers. One player bounces the ball so it will go over the head of his partner. Partner jumps for the ball and yells ‘Keeper’, catching the ball over head in a ‘W’.

Make sure that the catcher brings their knee up to protect their midsection. After the catch the catcher becomes the server for his partner. If a coach is warming up the only keeper have the player roll the ball back to the coach just the way they would serve it to a full back in a game situation.

Add a third player to create a distraction for the catcher. This player can lightly tap or push the catcher while he is in the act of catching the ball. This simulates some of the contact the keeper will get in the goal area.

Rolling Drills

This first drill starts with the keeper in a sitting position. The keeper has a partner who will serve the ball. The keeper rolls to the right as their partner serves the ball on the ground.

The keeper traps the ball on the ground using both hands. Keeper returns ball to server and rolls to a sitting position again in one motion. Server then rolls ball to the left and the drill is repeated.

After 5 rolls right and 5 rolls left switch keeper and server. This can be an exhausting drill when done at high tempo

Coaching Points

Hands still form the ‘W’.

Top leg bends toward the stomach to protect this area and to provide the impetus, when re-extended, to come back to the original position
Keepers body should be slightly curved away from the goal so that the ball cannot simply glance off them and go in


The next progression is to serve the ball in the air as the keeper rolls right and left. The catch is therefore made in the air and the keeper must cushion the ball as they hit the ground.

The next progression is to have the keeper move slightly forward each time they make a roll. The server backs up an appropriate amount with each roll so that they maintain the distance between keeper and server.

The next progression is to start this drill from the knees and repeat as above and the final progression is to do this drill from a standing position.

Dribble and Scoop

Have the team dribble in an enclosed area. On a signal from the coach, every player leaves their ball and gets another. The keeper has to scoop the ball and clutch it to their chest.

Make sure no one kicks the keeper. Have the players just place their foot on top of the ball to claim it.

Do not allow diving for the ball.

Maker sure the keeper is keeping on his toes, knees flexed.

A common mistake that you should look for in a keeper is slowing down to scoop the ball. The keeper should explode through he ball and after scooping veer to a side, just like they would do in a game situation with an attacker bearing down on them.

Explosive Scoop Quick Roll Return

Have a player shoot a ground ball in to the keeper. Keeper explodes towards the ball and scoops it to his chest. He continues on and returns a roll pass to either the same player who shot it or to a third player who has gone wide.

This simulates both the explosive step towards the ball we want the keepers to employ and the quick, on the ground counter-attack which is more conducive to possession play than just punting the ball away.

It is also a good conditioning drill.

A soccer coaching stretching routine for young children

Ankles and Knees: hands on knees; knees bent; rotate knees in a circle in one direction 5 times; repeat in the opposite direction.

Hips: stand straight; hands on hips; rotate hips in exaggerated fashion in a circle in one direction 5 times; repeat in the opposite direction.

Torso: stand straight; lock hands in front of body; bring hands forward so they touch the chest; use arms to twist body in one direction; repeat in the opposite direction.

Lunge: stand straight up and extend (lunge) the right foot as far as possible. The toes of both feet need to be pointed forward. Bend the right knee slightly while keeping the trunk upright. The left heel must stay on the ground. Repeat with left foot extended.

Toe Touch: Stand straight up with feet shoulder width apart. Bend forward and touch toes.

Stand straight up with feet double shoulder width apart. Bend forward and touch the ground between the legs.

Stand straight up with feet double shoulder width apart and the toes of both feet pointed forward. Bend to the right and try to touch the right foot with both hands. Straighten up. Repeat for left side.

Groin Stretch: Stand straight up with feet double shoulder width apart and the toes of both feet pointed forward. Keeping the right leg straight, bend the left knee and try to sit on the left heel. Repeat for left side. Remember….Warm up with some gentle jogging (with or without the ball) before doing any stretchesKeep the stretches brief – about 3 to 8 seconds each.Stretch to the point of feeling a stretch, never to the point of pain.Make it steady. Never bounce when you stretch.Be gradual. Increase the stretch with each repetition.Use proper form at all times to get the maximum benefits from the stretch.Teach the names of the muscles to your child.

Remember the cooldown. Stretches should be done after playing as well as before. Stretching is most efficient when the muscles are warm after playing.


Pre-match warm-up routine for U9s

Start off your pre-match warm-up routine by getting every player dribbling a ball in the penalty area. I give a variety of instructions: stop, turn left/right, accelerate and slow down. Then I ask the players to dribble again until I tell them to “leave your ball and get someone else’s”.

This part of the warm up routine gets your players moving and thinking about playing soccer, not what they’re going to have for lunch!

Then I move onto a simple game of keepaway for the outfield players while the goalkeeper gets an individual warm-up practice from my assistant or a parent.

Tip: Never line your players up in front of a goal so that they can shoot one at a time. There shouldn’t be any players standing in lines before a game. They aren’t warming up for a trip to the cafeteria.

It’s now about ten minutes to kick off.

Time for a quick drink and to announce the starting line-up.

You should have already decided on the starting line up and have it written down. Try to stick to it. Remember that over the course of the season, all players should have the chance to: 1) play different positions; 2) be captain; 3) start and finish games. These things are important to your players.

It’s now five minutes to kick off.

Don’t bother with a long pep talk. Your players should know what they have to do and if they don’t, it’s too late to tell them now. Two minutes is ample time to tell them to go out and enjoy themselves.

It’s time for your players to take the field and play.

You’ve done your job, now you can sit back and relax.

Or can you?

Within 30 seconds of kick off you feel a little hand plucking at your sleeve and an equally little voice saying ‘can I go on now?’

No problem. Simply refer to the plan and tell her when she is going on and where she will be playing.