soccer warm up

Soccer Warm Up Guide: Six Must Learn Drills & Exercises

You’ve probably seen soccer players perform drills and exercises before a game. Soccer warm drills and exercises are necessary to prepare the body and mind for what is to happen. When players warm-up, they also reduce the risks of injury.

So, what are the common soccer warm up drills and exercises? Soccer warm up includes activities like jumps, squats, lunges, and running drills that prepare the body. Stretches during warm up also help improve athletic performances. There are various soccer warm up drills like dribbling commands, passing, Zig-Zag dribbling, etc that players can perform.

In general, soccer warm ups are less intensive but pretty similar to the activity you’re going to do.

Looking to learn more about soccer warm-ups? If yes, then you’ve come to the right place. I’ll be discussing the importance of soccer warm-up, its benefits, drills, and how to cool down after a game.

Why Soccer Warm Up Is Important?

Soccer warm up is important because it prepares the body for the intense activity ahead. Soccer warm up exercises set up the tone for the rest of the workout.

Before a soccer game, the body temperatures are low. During warm-up, the body temperature and heart rate rise. This leads to increased blood flow to the muscles readying the body for the intense activity to start.

When you increase your body movement before a game, there is increased blood flow and oxygen throughout the body. This is a great way of reducing injury and preparing the body mentally.

Soccer is a physical game but one that also requires focus. Pregame soccer warm up drills are important to enhance focus. 

Warm-up is important in soccer just as it is in other sports. You’ve probably seen the Oklahoma drill in youth football before a game.

Lastly, soccer warm up is important for your health. It can help reduce stress on your heart. This is possible due to the increased blood and oxygen supply to other parts of the body.

Warm-ups Benefits

Now that you know the importance of warm-ups in a soccer game, let’s dig deep and see the benefits you stand to gain.

Prevents Injury

Individual soccer drills can greatly reduce injury risks. The physicality of the drills helps prepare the body for the intensity of the game. This in turn helps reduce injuries. I’ve already shown you how warm-ups increase the flow of blood and oxygen to the muscles.

soccer injury

Warm-ups also help players focus and understand their bodies better. You can easily feel places with discomfort and take necessary precautions. Coaches and managers can discover players with discomforts before a game and make necessary changes.

Overall, warm-ups help reduce muscle stiffness and tension. This further helps reduce the risks of injury.

Enhanced Performance

When players perform warm up drills and exercises, they increase power and can endure a game. Warm-ups prepare the ligaments, tendons, and muscles for the intense movements ahead.

Players also develop greater focus and mindfulness. When muscles stretch, they have a wide range of motion and can perform better.

Improved Health

Warm-ups also improve our general body health. First, warm-ups improve blood circulation and oxygen flow to the tissues. With increased oxygen flow, there is better nutrient delivery. The muscles, ligaments, and tendons also stretch and prepare for intense workouts.

There is also a decreased risk of blood pressure. Your body temperature will increase and you’ll feel stress-free and focused. Overall, warm-ups are great and activate heat dissipation mechanisms. This also ensures efficient body cooling.

Soccer Warm-up Drills

So, what are the best soccer warm drills? Let’s see some of the leading soccer warm up drills to try before a game.

soccer warm up drill

Zig-Zag Dribbling Drill

The Zig-Zag dribbling involves dribbling at high speed using the bottom, inside, and outside of the foot. Players perform the drill by dribbling the ball in a zig-zag movement on the pitch. 

One player can dribble with the ball in a zig-zag line as another follows. It is a drill aimed at getting the player to learn how to dribble in tight spaces.

Dribbling Commands

Dribbling commands get players dribbling within a designated area with commands from the coach. It is a warm-up that involves a lot of touches increasing the heart rate and overall body temperature.

In addition, the warm up helps improve a player’s dribbling skills. Players can take short breaks from dribbling to engage in dynamic warm-ups.

A designated area of around 20-25 yards is created to accommodate all players. Players are then commanded to dribble the ball within a specific period. The square grid size can be smaller or larger depending on the number of players taking the warm-up session.

The coach gives various commands during this warm-up. This can be dribbling faster, slower, juggling, cutting inside, and much more. Other commands include dribbling using the weaker foot, stronger foot, inside and outside of the foot, etc.

Dynamic Warm-Up

Dynamic warm-up soccer is a great way to warm up. It is a drill that involves locomotions similar to what you’ll be doing in a soccer game. In a soccer game, players move their entire bodies. It makes sense to have a warm up drill that works out every part of the body.

The movements prepare the body and reduce the risks of strains and muscle pulls. Players usually line up and perform locomotions in various ways. Here are different locomotions players can perform.

  • High Kicks
  • Skipping With Backward Arm-circles
  • Inside Touches
  • Butt Kickers
  • Two Foot Jumps
  • High Knees
  • Backward Skipping
  • Sideways Skipping
  • Single-Leg Hops
  • Forward Jogging
  • Backward Jogging
  • Side Shuffles
foot on soccerball
  • Grapevine/Carioca
  • Sideways Jumping Jacks
  • LeapFrog
  • Lunges With A Twist
  • Bear Crawls
  • Toe Touches
  • Forward Lunges
  • Knee To Chest Stretch
  • Crab Walk
  • 50% Jog
  • 75% Run
  • 100% Sprint
  • Backward Lunges
  • Sideways Lunges
  • Quad Stretch

These are the various dynamic warm-ups. Players can perform them in line circles or an eight-figure pattern.

Rondo Soccer Drill

A rondo soccer drill is one of the most popular soccer drills that get one player or more trying to take possession of a group of players. It is a great drill that helps players train on taking short passes and retaining possession.

There are various rondo variations and coaches can create them depending on the players available. For youths, a 4v1 rondo is the best choice to introduce them to rondo drills. 

Passing Warm-up Drill

A passing drill is the simplest drill in a soccer game and one that should start every practice. It involves passing the ball from one player to another. Players can create two lines and have two players facing each other.

They then pass each other the ball from one side to another. It is a great way to warm up and learn better ball control.

Tic-Tac-Toe Warm-up

The Tic-Tac-Toe warm-up drills train players on making good decisions when under pressure. It is a drill based on the classic tic-tac-toe game. You need to set up a tic-tac-toe grid and have players in a line dribbling the ball to the tic-tac-toe grid.

The first player to dribble the ball then rams back and taps the next player to put the next pinnie in line. It goes on until one team gets three pinnies in a row.

How Do You Cool Down After Soccer

After a game, players need to cool down and get their bodies into a pre-exercise state. You need to get your heart rate down after intense exercises.

One of the best ways to cool down after a game is to engage in gentle 10-15 minutes of jogging. This is followed by gentle stretching of the muscles. Primary muscles that need stretching include the calves, groin, glute, hamstring, and quadriceps.

cooling down soccer player

The greater focus when stretching should be on the leg and lower back. However, if you can stretch the entire body, the better.

What Is a Good Warm-up for Soccer?

A good warm-up for soccer involves working out the different body muscles to enhance flexibility and raise the body temperature. You can jog and run a little before performing simple soccer drills.

Start slowly and increase the exercise rates slowly.

What Are the 5 Warm-Ups?

5 warm-up exercises are 5 exercises that help prevent injury. They include leg swings, leg bends, jumping jacks, side lunges, and waist rotations.

How Long Should You Warm-up Before Soccer?

You should warm-up before a soccer game for at least 25-30 minutes. This is enough time to work out the muscles and raise the body temperature. Warming up before a soccer game gets to work out the muscles and prepare the body to get in a good state to withstand the soccer game’s intensity and physicality.

How Do You Warm-up Indoor Soccer?

You can warm up for indoor soccer by slowly jogging forward and backward. This can be followed by taking side shuffles, skipping with backward arm circles, skipping backward and forward, and jumping jacks.

Indoor Soccer

Additionally, you can perform stretches of the legs and arms to get your body in the best condition possible. Make sure you work out every part of the body and your body ready for the game.


That’s it from me! I hope my comprehensive soccer warm-up guide has helped you prepare for a soccer game. I cannot overemphasize the importance of a soccer game warm-up.

A game of soccer warm up can help prevent injuries, enhance performance and improve health. You’ll see professional players on the pitch one hour before a game warming up.

When you want up, you prepare the body for the intense activity to follow. Warm-ups increase blood and oxygen flow to the tissues and increase heart rate and body temperatures. Make sure you always perform warm up exercises and drills before a game.

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