My my My my
Warming Up and Gettin Ready!!!

photo of kids libned up with backs turned


Too often when players first get to the field for practice or a game, the first thing they do is to start shooting on goal. There are numerous reasons why this is NOT in the player's best interest.

The first problem with this is that it is very rare that the players take the time to warm up properly before shooting as hard as they can. This is a great way to pull a muscle or to suffer some other type of injury due to lack of proper warm up.

The second problem is that as more players arrive at the field, more and more players want to start shooting. All of a sudden you have one player in goal with two, three, or even four balls being shot at the same time and this is another great way to suffer an unnecessary injury.

The third problem is that even if the players have stretched and even if they are shooting one at a time, it seems that everyone wants to hit a stationary ball rather than a moving ball. Yet in a game, players are much more likely to hit a moving ball than a stationary ball. There certainly are times when players strike a stationary ball (direct and indirect kicks) but the rest of the time the ball is moving and that is how most players should be practicing.

Instead of everyone going to goal and shooting as soon as they get to the field, it would be much better if players knew they were supposed to warm up on their own. They should be juggling the ball on their own to get some touches on the ball and get their muscles ready for action. As soon as there are four players available, warm up properly by running and stretching and then start right into a 2 v 2 game with small goals. As soon as two more players arrive go to 3 v 3 and then 4 v 4. This way, everyone gets a lot of touches on the ball and they have fun at the same time.

Another great warm up is to mark out a square and work on dribbling and passing. Also try fast work skills such as toe taps and tic tacs. By doing this it will get them on their toes and prepared for the game. The key is to not tire the kids out. By doing sprints or lots of running all you are looking to achieve is to raise their heart rate and get them in the right state of mind.

As the coach, consider coming out to the field a little early and have bibs ready for them to start playing. Or, consider joining in and playing with them. It doesn’t matter if you are a former player or not, show the players how playing soccer can be fun and you will have done a great service to your players.

Please feel free to email or with any questions if you are unsure or have any points you would like to discuss.

Tom and Jono