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.