No matter what level of soccer a player takes part in, warming up is an essential start for any practice or match. Without a proper warm-up, the body is much more susceptible to injury, and a player is also not going to be as sharp as they would like.
Not everyone enjoys the warm-up process, but finding the right drills can make a pretty big difference. Here are nine of the best soccer warm-up drills people can start using to get ready to play at a high-level.
1. Skipping, Inside Out/Outside In, Side Steps, and more
The first warm-up drill is done more to warm up the entire body before ever touching a soccer ball. These can also work for other exercises, but they are pretty specific for soccer players.
Skipping is something that a lot of people use to loosen up all the muscles used in soccer. It does a better job than just walking around, so really get into it and start to jump higher and higher each round.
If a player has tight hips, doing inside out/outside in movements will open the hips up and improve flexibility. This is done by lifting one leg up and across the body. Try to feel the stretch in the hip area, and then go the opposite direction as well. Make sure to target both legs as well.
Side steps are a great for getting an overlooked part of the body loose and ready to go. There is a lot of twisting and turning when moving around, and this is a great drill to get the legs comfortably going in all directions.
2. Circle Passing
A proper warm-up is going to allow for plenty of movement, and what better way to do that then to incorporate some skill work as well? That is exactly what circle passing helps with, as players form a circle with two players inside to pass the ball to different people. Once a pass is completed, the player switch places and continue the motion overall.
This helps with loosening up the entire body, but also skills like first touch, dribbling, and of course, passing. It does not need to be super intense in the beginning, but players can build up to speed a bit as time goes on.
There is a similar drill below that focuses on headers, but usually only one person will be inside the circle for that. Adding two people to the mix here keeps everyone more engaged.
3. Simple Dribbling Drills
Whether it be a figure 8 formation, zig-zag, or any other type of dribbling warm-up for that matter, this is a very easy way to get into the flow of things. People can do all of this warm-up completely by themselves if they wish, which is excellent for players who might not have that much space or someone to train with all the time.
The goal is to focus on dribbling with speed and working on different touches on the ball. Start slow, but then begin to pick up the speed with every repetition. Eventually, players want to get very close to actual game speed to see what type of difference they start to feel with their entire body.
4. Catch Me If You Can
This is one of the most straightforward exercises out there, and one that younger coaches should implement right away. It is competitive yet direct, and people get warmed up very quickly without even realizing.
It becomes a bit of a contest as two players are dribbling the ball around four cones in the shape of a square. They start in opposite corners, and players trying to catch one another. To add some variation to the drill, a coach can blow a whistle to have them change direction, stop, or even focus on one foot over the other.
5. Diamond Shooting Drill
The great thing about a diamond shooting drill is that players can make it a bit of a competition between all of the other people there. The field players are all in the shape of a diamond, and everyone completes passes to each other before setting up the person in the far-middle of the diamond. They then have the opportunity to shoot on goal, and if they miss, they become the goalkeeper. At this point, everybody else rotates around.
To make this a competition, simply keep track of how many goals each player scores. People can have a lot of fun playing different parts of the game. Not only that, but make it creative and challenging for the pastors as well by making sure they made crisp ones during the setup process.
6. Run Up & Dribble Back
Throughout a soccer match, players are going to be making plenty of moves with the ball. This is a drill that is perfect for that, as players will run through cones at first to work on agility, then receive a pass from a teammate to dribble the ball through the next set of cones. This helps people work on, the first touch, and dribbling, and those who are making the past can warm up there passing skills as well.
This could work with any number of players, so it is a great way to get the body going. It can also be spread out and customized to create certain levels of difficulty. It is one of those really cool exercises that can be found at the local youth league, or at the highest level.
7. Keep Away
Depending on the number of players needing warming up, a simple game of keep away can easily be set up to create a fun and challenging warm-up. As the name implies, it is all about keeping the ball away from that one person in the middle, but the other players must stay within the boundaries to make qualifying passes.
There really are no other rules, although some people will add them to make it a bit more of a challenge. It helps most of the players with their passing and receiving skills, and the person in the middle can undoubtedly get the best overall work out. There is a way to add a scoring aspect if you want to have a way to keep track of the number of takeaways.
Final Thoughts On Soccer Warm-Up Drills
Having a wide range of fun and enjoyable warm-up drills make this tedious process a lot more enjoyable overall. The warm-up can double as a type of training as well if a coach wants to go in that direction. It is ultimately nothing too strenuous, but getting a good sweat going before a match will make players feel prepared.