5 Great Warm-Up Exercises for Soccer Players
By Sakai Blue
, last updated January 27, 2012
After years of largely being ignored on this side of the pond, soccer has finally become an incredibly popular sport in the United States, and one of the first things players of the game learn is the importance of warm-up exercises. Soccer is an extreme contact sport and requires a lot of healthy physical conditioning and endurances, so warm-ups are a necessity. Read on to learn about five great warm-up exercises for soccer players.
Soccer warm up drills will help raise the heart rate while warming up, stretching and prepping the muscles for intense game play. Prior to doing any of the warm-ups, the team should do a slow jog of about 2 to 5 laps around the field. After the team finishes jogging, the team should do some intense stretching. These pre–warm-up activities will help in preventing injury. Have the team stretch for about ten minutes or so. Start off with stretches for the neck, and work your way down the body. When everyone has been appropriately stretched, jogged and pulled, the team is ready for warm-ups!
This drill is a very popular warm-up game for both seasoned pros and wobbly beginners alike. It’s the warm-up that’s used most often to start off team training sessions. The great thing about this drill is that it feels like you’re just having fun when you’re actually exercising both your body and your brain. Take 4 cones and form a square. Make sure there is a distance of 4 yards in between cones. Take your players and divide them into groups of 6 or 7 players. In each group, have two of the players wear a different colored shirt. These two players will play the “takers.” Everyone else is a “keeper.” Start the drill by allowing the first pass to go. When the next keeper touches the ball, 2 takers standing inside of the square will try to touch the ball to cut off the pass. Each time a taker touches the ball, the keeper that passed it will go inside the square and become a taker. The player that stayed the taker longer will take become a keeper. Try to have players play this game with only one touch on the ball, but they can use two touches if they're unable to pass the ball with just one. If the ball leaves the square, the person who kicked it out becomes a taker.
This drill helps raise your heart rate while improving your concentration. The aim of the game is to carefully drive the ball around each cone without knocking any over. Divide your players into groups of 3 to 4 players. Set up 5 cones in a straight line with about a yard in between each cone. Have all the players line up in a straight line in back of the first cone. Have the first player dribble the ball clockwise around the first cone, and have them make the same motion with all the subsequent cones. When the player reaches the end of the line, have them race back to the front of the line, guiding the ball carefully as they go. Have them repeat the line, this time going counterclockwise. You can do this with one ball being passed from player to player, or you can have each player use an individual ball, immediately following one another.
Knees Up, Feet on the Ball
This exercise raises the heart rate and works on improving coordination. Set up 2 cones so that there’s a distance of anywhere from 5 to 30 yards between them. The distance will depend on the age of the players. Have all of the players line up in a row across the field behind the first cone. Have them move towards the second cone by jogging the ball in front of them while making sure that each step they take has their foot on the ball rolling it forward. When they get to the second cone, tell them not to turn around but to backpedal, jogging backwards and bringing the ball with them using the same foot-on-ball motion. Have them do this two times for one set, and make them do two sets.
Have your players stand on the sideline facing the goal. They’re going to start sidestepping across the pitch. Have them take bigger strides so that they really feel their groins being worked out as they move.
Skipping loosens a player’s joints and exercises a large range of muscles. As with the sidestep drill, have the players skip across pitch with really exaggerated movements so that they really work each muscle. Have them swing their arms up and back to work the shoulders.