Watch your tail!

Objective: A) To warm your players up before a training session. B) Generate team spirit.

Age group: U6 and up

Equipment required: One training vest.


  • Split your players into two teams – team A and team B.
  • One player in team A tucks a “tail” – a training vest – into her shorts.
  • The rest of her team form a protective circle around him/her.

How to play:

  • Team B has 30 seconds to get through the protective circle and steal the vest.
  • If team B succeeds, it wins a point.
  • When every player in team A has worn the vest, swap roles.
  • The team with the most points wins the game.


1. All players tuck a “tail” into their shorts and jog around while trying to steal another player’s tail. The last player to lose their tail is the winner.

2. Remove all the tails. Place a small goal at one end of the playing area. Players dribble a ball around the playing area while trying to stop their ball from being kicked out.

If a player has their ball kicked out, they retrieve it and rejoin the group.

Players who succeed in kicking another player’s ball out can shoot at the goal.

Play for five minutes. The player with the most goals wins the game.

Tip: If some of your players are relatively poor at protecting their ball, provide one or two safe areas (five-yard squares, coned off) where they cannot be tackled for a few seconds.

For more soccer coaching tips and products visit Soccer Coaching Club.

Target team tag

Target team tag is a fun warm-up you can use before a coaching session or a game.

Objective: to improve teamwork, communication and to introduce the basics shielding the ball to very young players.

Set-up: One player is nominated as the tagger and one player as the target.

The target player tucks a bib in the back of their shorts and the rest of the team link arms and huddle round her.

The tagger stands a few yards away from the group.

How to play: On your command, the tagger tries to pull the bib out of the target’s shorts.

The target tells the rest of the group which way to turn so that they are shielding her from the tagger.

Play for 30 seconds or until the tagger gets the bib.

Progression: Split your players into teams and allow them to choose their tagger and who should be their target.

Play several rounds to find out which team makes the best decisions.

For more soccer coaching tips and products visit Soccer Coaching Club.


Try this soccer warm-up to coaching sessions with all ages of players – from six to 16 – and they will all love it!

Young children really like playing games that involve adults and as there’s no physical contact in Handball, mums and dads can join in too. I’ve found that mixing mums/dads and players in games like this is good for team bonding and makes for a good, fun start to a session.

Objective: improving off the ball movement, support play, quick passing and communication.

Set-up: Handball is played in teams of four to six on a small football pitch with a goal at each end. About 30 yards long by 20 yards wide is good for 10-year-olds.

Put your teams in bibs (pennies) to aid identification.

How to play

Points are scored by throwing the ball into the other team’s goal.

Alternatively, teams score by throwing the ball to a team mate who is stationed on an end line.

The rules

  • Players can only pass the ball by throwing it.
  • Once a player receives the ball they cannot run with it. They must stand still and look for the next pass.

Tip: allow very young children to take a limited number of steps with the ball.

  • The team not in possession can only win the ball by intercepting a pass or picking up a dropped ball – no grabbing the ball out of a player’s hands!

  • If the ball goes out of the playing area award a throw-in to the opposing team.

  • Physical contact is penalised by a penalty throw from a spot about 10 yards out from the goal.


  1. Players must pass the ball in less than four seconds. If they don’t, the ball is given to the other team.
  2. Take the goals away and place a player from each team on the end lines. The objective is now to pass the ball – with feet – to your team mate on the end line. If you can make a successful pass, you join your team mate on the line.

    The first team to get all their players on their end line is the winner.

For more soccer coaching tips and products visit Soccer Coaching Club.

Power passing

This is a great warm-up to use before a training session or a match. “Power passing” gets your players into the habit of moving immediately after they pass, works on their ball control and it’s a good physical workout too.

Age group: U8s to U14s.

Set-up: Create a circular playing area about 25 yards across.

Divide your squad in two.

Place one half of your players inside the playing area and the other half evenly spaced around the outside of the playing area. The players on the outside have a ball each.

How to play: Players on the inside run towards an outside player, receive a pass, return the ball and move quickly to another outside player and repeat the process.

Switch the inside and outside players after a few minutes.


  • Receive and return the ball with one touch.
  • Receive the ball with the left foot, return it with the right and vice versa.
  • Receive with ball with one surface of the foot (inside, outside, sole etc) and return it with a different surface.
  • Add a blocker – a player who tries to block passes.
  • Add a halfway line across the playing area. Now the players on the inside have to pass across the line to an outside player in the opposite half.

Coaching Points

  • Discourage your players from watching their passes, they now turn and run to the next player as soon as the ball leaves their foot.
  • This exercise takes place at full speed. Do not allow players to walk around.
  • Encourage players to call for the ball as they approach a player on the outside.

For more soccer coaching tips and products visit Soccer Coaching Club.

Dynamic warm up routine

This is a 30-minute warm-up drill that is suitable for players over the age of nine or 10.

Begin with players in pairs jogging around half the field and passing the ball to each other (for five minutes).

Place pairs of cones up the middle of the pitch at five, 10 and 20-yard intervals.

Your players leave the balls and carry out the following exercises up the inside of the cones and jog back down the outside of the cones:

  • Arm swings.
  • Jog to the 10-yard line then backwards to the five-yard line then forwards to the 20-yard line. Repeat the drill.
  • Flick legs up (heels to backsides).
  • High knees.
  • Sideways skipping.
  • Criss-crossing (change of direction).
  • 50% speed runs from five-yard to 20-yard line. Repeat the drill.
  • Fast feet to five yards followed by 75% speed run to 20-yard line. Repeat the drill.
  • Increase speed slowly to 10 yards then quickly accelerate to 20 yards.

Follow these exercises by a very brief drinks break then play keepaway or Swedish Handball for five minutes.

Finish with a 4v4 game with to cone goals. I apply a three-touch restriction to ensure my players pass and move quickly.

Sneaky fitness

sneaky fitness

Number of players: Whole squad.

Equipment required: Training vests in two colours, cones to mark out the playing area.

Set-up: Create a playing area large enough for your players to move around in safely. For twelve 10-year-olds, it should be about 20×15 yards. Place a pole or distinctive cone on each side of the playing area, about five yards from the sideline.

Split your players into two teams.

Each player tucks a training vest into their waistband. Use a different colour for each team (e.g. team A has red vests, team B has yellow vests).

Send each team to opposite ends of the playing area.

sneaky fitnessHow to play:

On your command, players try to take a vest from a player on the other team and drop it on the ground.

If a player loses his vest, he must run around one of the poles outside the playing area and rejoin the game, picking up his vest and tucking it into his waistband as he returns.

Play for one minute. The winners are the team who have the most bibs when you call “time”.

Play best of three.

For more soccer coaching tips and products visit Soccer Coaching Club.

Tag netball

This game will improve your players speed on the pitch. It’s also a great warm up game!

Objective: To improve speed of play, movement off the ball, supporting the player with the ball.

Age range: U7s to U14s

Set-up: Use an area 40 yards long by 30 yards wide with a goal at each end.

Create two evenly matched teams of five or six players wearing bibs.

How to play: The players’ objective is to throw the ball into the opposition goal.

  • Play begins with you throwing a ball in the air.
  • Teams advance the ball up the field by throwing it from player to player.
  • If the player holding the ball is tagged by an opposition player possession goes to the other team.
  • Balls that go over the side or end lines result in a throw-in from wherever the ball went out of play.
  • First team to score five goals wins.

Tips: Other than tagging, physical contact is not allowed.

Stop players protecting their goal by setting the goals three yards back from the end lines.

For more soccer coaching tips and products visit Soccer Coaching Club.

Keep it on the deck!

This warm-up soccer drill and game is designed to encourage your players to keep the ball on the ground rather than hoofing it upfield.

Equipment: apart from the usual cones and bibs (pennies), you should play the warm-up and the game with a small, low bounce ball.

A futsal will do but a futbol de salao is ideal. If you can’t get hold of either, play with a size two or three ball that is slightly deflated.

Warm-up: split your squad into groups of four or five. Put each group in an area that has a number of flat cones spread randomly in it. There should be more cones than players and the cones should be about 10ft apart.

Players pass and immediately run to a spare cone.

Coaching points: emphasise fast movement, good accuracy and appropriate pace of pass. Challenge the groups to continue for three minutes without making an error or allowing the ball to leave their playing area.

The game: play 4v4 on a small pitch with a goal at each end. Make it a condition that passes have to made with the side of the foot only and goals only count if the ball crosses the goal line on the ground.

Progression: play 5v3 in the same area. The five players have to put together three passes on the ground before they can shoot. The three players can shoot as soon as they win the ball.

Coaching points: emphasise that shots must be on the ground to count. If a player kicks the ball in the air, possession is given to the other team.