Warming your body up is essential to every workout, and that includes soccer practice. Warming up your youth teams can be a challenge at times, but we’re here to offer suggestions!
Keeping your warm up activities fun and game-like are imperative for younger age groups (and certainly doesn’t help with older players). Below we share some of our favorite soccer warm ups that will have your team ready for practice!
1. Take a lap
Before stretching out those muscles – perhaps one of the most important aspects of warming up – we recommend taking a quick lap to get blood flowing and oxygen to your muscles. Not only will this help prevent running-related injuries, it will also help make your team faster during the game or practice.
2. Active stretches
Incorporate some warm ups that include both stretching and moving. Good examples of these are high knees, butt kicks, lunges and ladder scissors, all of which can help stretch major muscles in the legs and hips.
3. Incorporate the ball
Some teams do this by having their team run with the ball during their first warm up lap, but there are plenty of other great ways to do this as well. You can have your players grab a ball and do 60 seconds of toe touches and juggling, or practicing offensive moves to beat defenders like the scissor or Maradona.
4. Quick passing drills
Have your players pair up with one other person and practice one touch passes. This will get their blood flowing but also work on controlling the ball quickly in game situations. Pro tip: have all your players bouncing on their toes at all times while doing this. It will keep them more prepared for the incoming ball and keep them moving.
You can do many of the warm ups mentioned above inside a small, enclosed space to really maximize them. When you’re using an enclosed space with walls, your players will spend less time chasing a stray ball that gets away from them. The proximity to other players will require them to stay on their toes (figuratively and literally) to keep their own ball under control, and will help them get more out of the warm ups physically.
You can also use the walls of small, enclosed spaces, like, to get in extra dribbling practice. Have your players run around the walls with their ball while dribbling with only the outsides of their feet, or only the insides.
Now that you’re all warmed up, it’s time for a quick water break and a scrimmage!